Real time strategy games test the player’s analytical skills and force them to think out of the box to complete levels and pit their mettle against the AI. So when a game like Company of Heroes launched back in 2006 the gaming community got a taste of war themed strategy and battlefield mechanics. Developer Relic did a fantastic job with the gameplay mechanics which thrust the player right into the middle of the action where he learnt to survive to come out battle bruised but victorious at the end of the day.
The game placed the player into the shoes of a general to give orders to his troops ranging from foot soldiers, warships, tanks and other military resources. Forcing the player to experience the horrors of war, the game transported the player to a dark environment where survival was the only hope and victory was the sole objective. It forced the player to stand up and take notice of the strife and suffering that one would encounter on a battlefield. Tactical approaches were vital to win as the player slowly and gradually controlled the whole map to get a sniff of victory while leaving a bitter taste in the mouth.
Company of Heroes later released two expansions which were both unique in their own way and proved to be equally challenging and rewarding as compared to the original. Now to bank on the success of the series, Relic is soon going to launch Company of Heroes 2 which boast of new and fresh features and amazing graphics to give it its own exclusive identity. Company of Heroes 2 allows the player to control the eastern front this time as they direct Soviet forces into glorious and bloody battles which might be fought with a mixture of sound tactics and desperation.
Though the basic principles that the game employs are similar to the first one which includes capturing points to collect necessary resources in order to increase man power, there are some subtle differences that seem to bestow it with exceptionality. There is a new true sight mechanic that forces the player to feel stifled and claustrophobic as they battle in tight spaces and spots. The 360 degree view is done away with which inserts realism into the game as the soldiers will not be able to gaze all over the battlefield if certain obstructions are present.
The ways the players interact with resources have changed as well as they now have to be on their toes constantly. It encourages the player to delve into the map and learn more from it rather than waiting and looking at their enemy’s use of resources. This forces the player to be cautious of his enemy’s move. Even the point capturing technique has changed as the player now has more freedom over picking a certain part of a point to capture faster and easier.
The most amazing part of Company of Heroes two is the portrayal of the battlefield where bullets are flying over men who are struggling to crawl through the snow while flames rise out of buildings. It gives a complete sense of immersion and allows the player to enjoy the experience of being a soldier way back in the day complete with harsh conditions and over the top action.