THQ showed us a slice of their new WWII-based RTS Company of Heroes 2. Impressions inside!
Company of Heroes released at a time when most thought the real-time strategy genre was a dead one, but it sold incredibly well and still manages to set records as far as multiplayer matches go. I’d asked Quinn Buffy, the game’s director, why they felt World War II was still a viable streak to mine warfare from and he had several good points. Obviously the original game and its expansions only covered a small portion of the war, but the world’s powers began to consolidate after the war, leaving a modern game to be more one-sided affairs as American troops roll over everything. Keeping with the intimacy of the previous game, the game goes out of its way to render individual soldiers, making me wonder why they didn’t let you switch to a first-person perspective at points. There’s also plenty of horror in watching the men you’d utilized to push through a series of confrontations only to be bombed out instantly by German mortars. Or in pursuing Stalin’s orders that prevent retreats, having your men get mowed down by your own forces, to tragic effect, trying to execute a valid strategic maneuver. The game looks like quality all around even with months left to go, complete with the brains to go with it.
I think this title has a lot of promise. When we sat down to get walked through the demo, I wasn’t expecting much because – for the most part – I hate RTS games. What I saw, though, was a slick and polished game with amazing sound and great graphic details. I was highly impressed when the guy running the demo zoomed in on one of the Russian soldiers and showed that at a range which would be seen in most TPS games, the details of that soldier were crisp and clean. In fact, it could have been any TPS on the market and one wouldn’t have known better. These guys have clearly made a point of working the details and making sure this game looks as good as it sounds.
The gameplay elements were compelling. They have devised a new set of cover systems and replaced the old school “fog of war” with a line-of-sight based system which allows for the possibility of enemy ambushes and forces the player to take their time looking around the terrain and finding tactically advantageous ways to move about the battlefield, rather than just storming in and firing their weapons. This is one I’m looking forward to getting my hands on for some personal time and I feel comfortable in saying that if you’re an RTS fan, Company of Heroes 2 is a title you’ll want to keep your eyes on.