Preview: Company of Heroes 2

The greatly anticipated Company of Heroes 2 is just two months away from release and those who played its predecessor are brimming with excitement, and understandably so.

The highest rated strategy game of all time returns and drops you into Russia – and the heart of the bloodiest conflict of World War II. More than 14 million casualties were taken on the eastern front, and this story takes you through the epic tale of the Soviet’s who fought back from near defeat to an incredible triumph in defeating Hitler’s German army before smashing their way into Berlin.

The game is built on the impressive Essence 3.0 engine which undoubtedly brings you closer to the action than its older brother. Supported by advances in TrueSight technology and ColdTech dynamic weather control, Company of Heroes’ games-makers, THQ, claim strategy gaming will never be the same again. Whereas that last point will ultimately prove to be untrue because of the technological advances in gaming, Company of Heroes 2 has certainly set the highest standard yet.

TrueSight accurately represents a soldier’s real life vision in genuine combat, taking into account environmental conditions and the soldier’s weapon, meaning you can never take any shot for granted. ColdTech bring destructible climate elements to the Essence 3.0 engine to provide an ever changing game-face, emulating real life conditions in real life combat.

Movement, snow and strategy

As with any game set in the heart of Russia, snow is an ever-present. But for the first time, snow will have a serious impact on a player’s capability to move, whilst also allowing both enemies and allies to recognise an opponent’s strategy.

Trudging through knee-deep snow will obviously cause serious restrictions to a soldier’s movement, and this is reflected in the game. You will also leave tracks when you move over snow, this can work both for and against you. Although your movements may be tracked by the enemy, a clever player will notice tracks of their opponents and also the machinery they are travelling with.

Snow can also be used in more devious ways, reflecting real life strategic options. Soldiers could be faced with a clean, straight forward route to their destination or a deep snowy hill, which requires far more effort and time.

But will the enemy have anticipated that your side will take the easy route through the flat road? If so you may be in trouble.

Computing developments

There are several more developments in Company of Heroes 2. AI scripting during campaign missions required improvement and in this instance, THQ feel less is more, since they would like the interchanges to be more random upon replay.

Despite proving to have superb sound capabilities in the first edition of Company of Heroes, real life gun fire from a variety of distances has been recorded to bring the gamer ever closer to real life conflict.

Company of Heroes 2 will use DirectX 11 as well as supporting DirectX 9 whilst utilising Valve’s Steamworks technology to maximize its matchmaking capability and achievements, whilst retaining its traditional Company of Heroes formula for the strategy mechanics.

PC has been the only confirmed platform at this time and the game is due for release in March.

Leave a Reply