Company of Heroes 2 Hands-on Gamescom 2012 Preview -- Cold, Cold, Cold WarBy Rob Manuel - Posted Aug 17, 2012
In the world of RTS games, the Company of Heroes name ranks up there with the greats. The series blends both RTS mechanisms along with objective-based gameplay. Add in a cover system that makes you question every move, and you get a game that deserves some attention. Company of Heroes 2 wants to continue that same great action with a few new twists as you take the side of the Russians as Germany marches in to take you down.
I got my hands on a couple of maps that showed off the new tech in some very interesting ways. True Sight System now responds to how your troops would really see the battlefield in front of them. There's no more help from the camera as you push through the fog of war. You won't be able to see around corners or around walls unless you blast a hole through them.
Your sight moves and bends around corners and objects as you move through the environment. Take your time as you move your men forward. The new system gives those waiting to ambush you the edge in the attack.
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In one instance, I took a little too long in a field right outside a church and allowed a couple of troops to flank me. I threw my men behind some walls and into the building as quickly as possible in order to save a few more lives. The true sight system kept me from seeing the men stationed behind the building since none of them were in my line of sight. In any other RTS, being so close to me would have given away their position. As long as they're out of sight here, they might as well be invisible.
The Battle for Moscow map demonstrated the game's new cold tech. Snow on the ground now had substance where before it was just the color of the backdrop. Deep snow can make it hard for soldiers and verhicles to move through. Just like real snow, you can blast it away or burn it with the help of a flamethrower or two. Ice, on the otherhand, makes it difficult to dive over, but it has its own hitpoints.
Somehow the Germans beat me to the tech punch by sending over tanks before I could get my men in shape. One by one as each tank crossed the frozen lake, I waited on the otherside with a single rocket troop. With a couple of well placed shots at the ice under the tanks, they quickly sank to the bottom to the lake without much trouble.
During the actual battles, Germany faced tempertures so cold that men died and vehicles froze in their tracks. Company of Heroes 2 does much the same here with a temperture gauge above the unit's head. When the snow really starts to hit the ground, the guage lights up and continues to fall until all of your men freeze to death in a matter of moments, or you do something about the situation.
Engineers can construct fires to keep your men warm, or you can try ducking into a building to at least stop the fall until it's safe to come outside. Just knowing that my men would freeze to death, I found myself panicking in the middle of a fight as my troops began to fall over from frost. Heat sources soon became important spots to take over and hold as long as possible.
Fighting the weather turned out to be just as tough as fighting the enemy in my hands-on time. There's still plenty of the game left for us to see, but one thing is already quite clear: you're going to want to make sure that you bundle up when Company of Heroes 2 invades sometime early next year.