RTS games aren’t just about building an epic base and managing resources. Company of Heroes 2 actually continues the smaller, tactical approach from Company of Heroes with some new features. THQ showed us a 20 minute live demo and highlighted some of the new additions.
Company of Heroes is a beloved RTS for PC’s that puts you in charge of a small group of infantry as you try to outsmart the enemy. One of the biggest game changers I liked in the sequel was the “fog of war” mechanic. Before, it was hard to be ambushed because you could see anything on screen at any given time. Now, you can only see what you would presumably be able to see in real life. Various objects obstruct your view in certain directions so you never quite know what is hiding around the next corner.
You’ll be playing as the Russians during their conflict with Germany, and true to history, “retreat is not an option.” We got to see a shocking scripted event that I won’t spoil, but it is still the most memorable part of the whole demo.
Vehicles have been overhauled so that they can now be salvaged. For instance, they were driving a lightly-armored jeep and drove straight into an ambush along a road. After jumping out of the vehicle, they flanked the enemy but explained that vehicle could be taken by either side at that point. So the enemy, in theory, could have taken the vehicle and used it against the Russians.
Cover in environments was a big part in Company of Heroes, but in Company of Heroes 2 you can now vault over some cover. This adds a wide range of flanking tactics for you to use against your enemy. In one case, one group of soldiers got ambushed, so the player took the remaining few squads over a short wall and through a yard to get behind the enemy.
Another key element in Company of Heroes 2 is the amount of destruction. At one point mortars were raining down, blowing snow everywhere and destroying fences. Later in the demo, a flamethrower let loose on a house full of soldiers and burnt the whole thing to the ground (including the people in it).
Company of Heroes 2 takes an already-sound foundation and builds onto it with what appears to be some solid new mechanics. Talking to the people showing the game, they’ve even tried to set a low bar for machines being able to run it. So while it will look amazing with a serious gaming rig, even some mid-tier systems should be able to run it.