I was really interested to see what Company of Heroes 2, Relic’s newest title, would be like. I’m a huge fan of the first Company of Heroes and the standalone expansion Opposing Fronts. I was hesitant to demo the game due to the dissolution of THQ, but my fears were wiped away once I began to play the demo, which I waited nearly 40 minutes to play.
The demo takes you through two levels as the Russians – one to familiarize the player with infantry combat and another for vehicular combat. I’m glad to say that the core gameplay elements of the game remain the same with much of it being similar to the first Company of Heroes, which was an RTS. Infantry units have abilities that can be used against enemy soldiers, and they can also pick up guns on the floor such as MG42s or commandeer unused anti-tank guns on the field. Units can also enter areas that grant cover bonuses so that they take less damage from enemy fire, and machine gun and tank fire will cause units to become suppressed, which results in them moving much slower and being much more vulnerable. Vehicles are able to use abilities and are much more durable to small arms fire compared to infantry.
The game controls similarly to the first game. Essentially, the major difference would be that Russians are now a playable faction rather than the Americans or the British. From what I’ve noticed, the Russian playstyle emphasizes throwing wave after wave of units at the enemy until the enemy is defeated as opposed to the German playstyle, which has an emphasis on fewer troops but more elite and well trained ones.
The first half of the demo has the player controlling several squads of Russian infantry that are under machine gun and artillery fire from Germans that are situated on a ridge. I selected them all and attack moved them at the Germans because that is what a good Russian commander would do. After braving the hail of bullets, my soldiers ascended the ridge to meet the Germans on an even playing field, and through superior numbers, I wiped out the dirty fascists who manned anti-tank guns that were firing on my men. After commandeering one of these anti-tank guns, I set out to liberate the rest of the town from the German scum.
The second half of the demo introduces vehicles to the game as well as commander powers. The demo had my men use the combined forces of vehicles and manpower to take over a command post that was being held by the Germans. After occupying their building, I was to brace for a counterattack that would test the strength of my men. The Germans deployed men, armored assault cars, and a Tiger tank to try and take back their outpost, but with the aid of my commander powers to call in bombing runs and calling in wave after wave of conscripts. The Germans were forced to retreat.
I’m really impressed with the way Company of Heroes 2 is turning out. I loved the first Company of Heroes, so to see the sequel stay true to the formula of the previous games makes me very happy. I’m pretty excited for the release of the game on June 25, 2013. For Mother Russia!