Company of Heroes (PC)
Sean W. Gibson / Oct 1st, 2006 No Comments
Touted from E3 from almost all gaming press as the next great RTS game to be released for PC, Company of Heroes brings the sacrifice and struggle of the American soldiers in WWII. Starting from the D-Day invasion of Normandy, players lead their troops through recreated battles against the Nazis. Through an amazingly rich and lengthy single player campaign, players relive the WWII experience in a graphically rich and dynamic world.
The list of features as supplied by the manufacturer:
* Cinematic Single Player Experience that captures the turmoil of WWII as never before
* Squad AI where units act and react believably and intelligently with unprecedented realism
* Unparalleled animations and graphics that raise the bar for real-time strategy
* Interactive & fully destructible battlefields utilizing the Havoc engine and rag-doll physics
* 2 to 8 player multiplayer competition via LAN or Internet with Innovative team-based modes
Company of Heroes is easily the most graphically rich and detailed RTS game to be released on the PC. It’s amazing gorgeous and all the fighting and "special effects" (meaning explosions, gunfire, etc) are stunning. There’s not enough words in the thesaurus for "pretty" to properly describe how nice the graphics are for this game. All the modeling and physics are extremely real-to-life brining and amazing amount of rich detail to the screen. The graphics of the game, even without perfect hardware, are unbelieveable.
This is where Company of Heroes might shine the best. There’s one thing to see a big explosion that looks neat, but its another to suddenly hear the mortar blast and hear your troops screaming to take cover while you hear gunfire explode all around you. Think it takes the whole game experience (and your adrenaline) up a notch? Oh hell yeah it does! The voiceovers are done extremely well and are pretty authentic for the level of intensity – when your troops are in trouble they’ll start screaming and cursing. All in all, the sound of Company of Heroes is amazingly well done and complements the graphics in perfect fashion.
This is a game that we actually had to run through the tutorial in order to get a decent grip on the game before going headfirst into the missions or skirmish mode online or against the AI. We couldn’t remember the last time that happen, and this is a GOOD thing. The game offers a much great level of realism for the genre than conventional RTS games – instead of having a peon/grunt mine gold, you have your troops lock down and take over key points on the map that increase your level of intake for the three different resource types. There’s a nice tech tree and upgrades that are similar to C&C Generals where you can specialize in one area of combat and get special upgrades as you gain experience points (building, killing, etc).
The missions of the game in the campaign mode are all lengthy, well designed, and extremely intense. The battle at Normandy on D-Day was the most intense and crazy first mission for any RTS game in the history of computer gaming. From there you play through Able Company’s historic march through Europe fighting and eventually defeating the Nazi war machine. Each mission has secondary objectives which are usually pretty entertaining to accomplish. Overall, the gameplay of Company of Heroes ranks as amongst the best in RTS history.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
Company of Heroes has a great longevity factor for a variety of reasons. First, the missions are so much fun, you’ll want to play through them a second time after you’ve completed the game. Second, the skirmish battles on LAN are a lot of fun, and going 4 vs 4 offers a lot of entertainment value. Finally, the fairly well put together online component of the game lets gamers, with the click of a button, get into a ranked match. It’s all so good you’ll be playing this title over and over for a great longevity score.
Some thought the RTS genre, or even PC gaming on the whole (outside of MMORPGs) was dead altogether. Fortunately, THQ and Relic has brought us, truly, the next great RTS title that we’ll be playing for the next few years. The storyline isn’t too original, but this is usually reserved for FPS titles like Call of Duty. It’s a great step in RTS evolution, and one that all RTS gamers will cherish.
Company of Heroes has quickly become the game of choice here at Gaming Illustrated. We’re fighting each other (Axis vs Allies) on the LAN constantly, playing it online, and some of us have jeopardized our marriages to play long into the night to "just finish the next mission" because it’s so addicting. This is one of those games that comes out once every four or five years that will be a true PC gamer’s favorite and comes as highly recommended a game for purchase as anything we could think of in 2006. A no doubt about it Editor’s Choice award winner for quality.