Company of Heroes 2 releases tomorrow! But those with pre-orders have access to the beta already. Wikia handed out a few codes to folks and invited you to send in your chronicles of the game. Check out early responses to the game below. And of course, big thanks to everyone who participated! If you've played Company of Heroes 2, let us know your thoughts on the game in the comments below!
The Cold One
We were the first boots in the snow for the German army. The destination was some unknown road, of some unknown village in some unknown part of Russia. Were it not for high command’s orders to secure the small, I would have never heard of this place. The name was Kholodny Ferma and the Ruskies were already there. What started out as a light skirmish between scattered infantry soon escalated into clashes between armoured cars, a dance between tanks and an all out menagerie of machine guns, armour and artillery. Steel, fire and death flowed into Kholodny that winter day.
The goal was simple enough. Secure all of the bridges in the sector with infantry squads and wait for the bulk of the Ostheer to arrive. “Victory Points” had been marked out all across the map, as well as some fuel and ammo caches intelligence had discovered. Taking advantage of these points would undoubtedly aid out efforts. But we would have to move fast. The Soviets had the same plans.
Being the spear point of the German army meant that we had little support from the mechanized divisions. For now we would have to make do with what infantry trickled in. The Grenadiers that arrived were not naive men. Many of them had fought since 1939 and knew that battle was no kindergarten. After securing the perimeter of the base, the Grenadiers struck south. That was where we met the Russians and consequently, Russian bullets.
The Soviet army was made up of Conscripts. Men drafted from all parts of Russia to die for their ‘Motherland’. On the south edge of the town, our Grenadiers were outnumbered six to four, but superior arms and experienced balance the odds. Their training had taught them to take cover behind objects on the battlefield. Shooting at Russians from cover was a lot safer than standing in the open. With cover and quality troops, we were picking off the Ruskies with ease. The Heavy Machine Gun was to be the nail in the coffin.
The MG42 was the apex of German support weaponry. Once set up, it could fill the air with 1200 rounds per minute. This is a far cry from the shopping trolley the Russians have for a machine gun. Once in position the crew laid down a hail of bullets, suppressing any Conscripts in its cone of fire. The Russians all dropped to the ground and began to make love to the dirt. The Russians retreated.
Returning to the town centre victorious, we secured it with Machine Gun and Grenadiers. Looking back, we should not have rested on our laurels, but should have flushed the Bolshevik out from all sectors. This began our downfall. Through the snow and fog we heard it: “Oorah!”
The Russians had charged the flank of our battle line, wielding submachine guns and sprinting forward at an alarming pace. Russian light vehicles rolled in behind with support fire. Outside its cone of fire, the MG42 did nothing to deflect this attack. Within seconds they had encircled our force and began to unleash grenades and Molotov cocktails. We were burning alive. I sounded the retreat.
It takes a keen commander to retreat from a lost cause, and keeping men alive is top priority. These Grenadiers were veterans of battle, and would begin to achieve a knack for staying alive. Hard battles breed hard men, as long as they continue to live. I knew these Russians were just that. This battle would have to be escalated. What came next was a back and forth game of iron and firepower. Armoured cars were called in to deal with Scout cars. Tanks were called in to hunt down the Armoured Cars. Anti Tank guns were dragged onto the field to ward off tanks. Rocket Artillery was called in to saturate these emplacements with fire.
The battle raged on in that town, with territory changing hands just as much as the weather did. Old buildings which once stood like fortresses in the snow had collapsed under the barrage of artillery. The corpses of tanks and armoured vehicles became cover for the soldiers still alive. Even then, frostbite came for those who survived.
In the end all the Victory Points were lost, and we were surrounded. This was but a minor setback for the Ostheer will return to this battle scarred town again and again, both in winter and summer.
Company of Heroes 2 is a game of tactics and strategies set on the Eastern Front of WW2. What separates it from other RTSs is that it focuses on aggression and movement. It rewards strategic flexibility over build orders. Flanking and unit preservation is more important than having the having the ‘correct’ unit mix. What results is a strategy game that requires real wits and understanding to gain victory. This was a narrative based on a multiplayer game against live opponents.
I have taken in a part of all betas (closed and open, except alpha) and I am a totally new player in Company of Heroes series. I love WWII games, especially RTS, and have a strong background in another great WWII RTS: Soldiers: Heroes of WWII. Everything was new for me and I needed to learn a whole new economy system, units etc.
Since the first closed beta, I am starved from not enough guides for noobs. Now that situation is much better, and will improve even more when the game releases. Still, I could not find a hotkey cheat sheet anywhere, which is very important for game learning. I hope Relic will add them into tutorials somehow.
First of all, I need to say that these great developers work with their communities. They watch and listen for feedback to improve the game since the close beta a lot.
Multiplayer The auto-match system (for me) feels kinda crippled. There is also no global chat lobby where people can talk, no custom maps to give players a choice. Balance is not ideal for now, but not that bad. I suppose much of this will be polished after release. Too many people put balance issues from 1v1, 2v2, and 4v4 in one basket, but that is wrong. 1v1 is more competitive, while larger sizes are more for fun. Balance changes have different impacts on various sizes. As for me, the biggest broken balance issues occur because players or teams are just bad. With equal skill, everything seems to be okay. I hope Relic has consultants from Pro CoH2 communities.
Graphics and Audio While high graphic settings are hard for my PC, the game looks like eye-candy. Many players can fix their game by forcing lower settings than the auto-detect recommends until a better drive or game optimization can be rolled out. The audio is just great, has good positioning, and is historically accurate.
Conclusion A lot of things need to be done, but I believe the developers are on the right path. As for me, the greatest part of this game is the variety of different units and tactics which you can use and combine. Company of Heroes 2 also has stunning video and audio quality. Most importantly, the game features unbelievable "comebacks", when you have only 50 points remaining and still crush the enemy, when one single mistake can cost you the whole game and you actually feel yourself on the field.
I guess this game worth every dollar you spend on it and I have already recommended Company of Heroes 2 to all my friends.
I recently sunk my teeth into Company of Heroes 2’s beta and got a little taste of the single player and the multiplayer. Full disclosure, I’ve played a little of the first COH and some of Relic’s Warhammer 40k games, but I’m no pro, so please feel free to mock me like the noob I am.
COH really captured that interesting sense of scale between a massive army like the Total War series and the more intimate, small squads of X-Com. It forces you to work in that area in between micro and macro scale management, and it makes a big difference in how you approach the game. My first run through the single player campaign mission available in the Beta was simple enough and I moved from point to point pushing back German soldiers with mostly right clicking. While you can just hamfistedly push forward and make progress, it’s a basic mission after all, you’ll lose a massive number of troops in the process.
On the second run I made an effort to select individual squads and utilize their specific skills, which obviously helped tremendously. Moving the squads en masse worked, but taking the time to chuck grenades, pick up abandoned enemy weapons, and use the aerial support unlocks your potential. Cover plays a huge role as well, and while the game clearly indicates when your units are in and out of cover, figuring out what kind of structures and buildings provide reliable defense was a little confusing. This is especially true once the tanks start showing up, as they can destroy pretty much anything on the map you may be ducking behind.
Multiplayer is more in-depth, and revolves heavily around taking and holding capture points. This constantly forces you to manage your front line troops, your engineers back at the base, and your troops taking capture points. While this level of extreme multitasking is nothing new for competitive RTSes, it takes a little getting used to. Learning how to bounce around the map while fighting skirmishes on several fronts, building up your HQ, and remembering to utilize all your skills and abilities all at the same time won’t happen in a day.
I played a co-op match and fortunately my teammate seemed to have a handle on things as I bumbled around the the woods trying not to freeze to death. Ah yes, freezing to death. COH2 introduces a blizzard mechanic, where snowstorms occasionally flood the battlefield, forcing your troops to get near a heat source, like a campfire, or freeze to death. This mechanic is stressful if you’re in the middle of a battle, but it generally forces players to maintain their positions during the blizzard allowing the player to spend a little time managing their base or ordering new troops & supplies.
I enjoyed what I’ve played in the beta so far, and it’s definitely piqued my interest. While it doesn’t seem like a radical departure from the original, COH2’s little tweaks should be enough to freshen the formula for vets, while the detailed soldiers and battlefields should draw in curious new players.
After spending a good weekend playing the much anticipated COH2, launch day finally arrived. So far I had been enjoying the game quite a bit, and as a veteran COH1 player with 1000+ hours of playtime I was quite excited for what launch had in store. The gameplay is pretty similar with a few minor changes to cover and vehicles from vCOH. Aside from the obvious changes of the allied faction the theater of war is now on the eastern front.
One of the more obvious changes that comes into play is the new engine and graphics which look great as all COH based games have at launch. The updated graphics work well and the booming sound and fantastic voice overs still pulse through my speakers as I rain death down upon my new Russian foes. One of my favorite things about vCOH was the artillery and what a wonderful job relic has done keeping the artillery an ass kicking machine with excellent animations and crisp sounds of destruction. The infantry combat has not changed where the infantry has quite a bit. I won't go into detail about every single change but as of launch the balance for infantry is pretty good on both sides and so far it seems to come down to how well you can micro whilst keeping attention and macroing, as the series has traditionally done.
The vehicles and tanks are fun to use and can demand the same level of skill as vcoh did and then some. With the new truesight I have noticed that sight and fog make the largest difference in the game above anything else. It allows skilled players to save themselves from mistakes via smart smoke popping, setup amazing ambushes with infantry hiding around the corner in bushes or even having a well placed tank off in the distance with a sniper for scouting to allow the tank to fire away from great distances. The only problem I've had with truesight thus far is setting up an mg42 next to a tree and having the tree block my MG gunners LOS, only to move him a foot over and have it reveal everything he should have been seeing but I guess that makes sense.
Finally the maps at launch are varied enough that it doesn't get stale. There are at least 8 maps with a few winter/fall variations and within those maps are changes to CP's that make each game theoretically more interesting than if you just played the alternate version. The smaller maps have more than ample cover opportunities where as the larger maps seem to be lacking a bit but in a 4v4 match I assume you don't want too much clutter to slow people down. The pace of the game and teching feels a little faster than vCOH but you get used to it pretty fast and ultimately it's dictated by you or your opponents decisions rather than the forceful need to keep up in the game and the new commanders (almost identical in a way to the doctrinal system) is a nice idea to put more variety into each match.
Ultimately the launch went smoothly, matchmaking is fast and the game is running great for me with no crashes. The added twitch support is also a very welcome idea and I'm glad relic has decided to go that route in helping the players reach out and play with the community more. If you're on the fence about purchasing this game I think it comes down to this...watch videos on the gameplay and play vcoh. If you did like the combat style in vcoh you WILL like COH2. I can safely say that with confidence as this game feels like a great successor to the original and is heading in the right direction for the franchise.