When you have to follow a game like Company of Heroes, you'd better make sure it's up to scratch. The 2006 original has a loyal following, giving Company of Heroes 2 a ready made-audience, provided it hits the mark.
The good news is that it does. CoH2 rarely strays from the tried and tested formula laid down by its predecessor, instead taking elements of the first and building on them.
This time the action moves to the second World War’s Eastern front, concentrating on the Soviet army in World War II. The story is told through flashbacks as a Russian lieutenant is interrogated in prison a decade later.
There are some improvements, although the basics remain essentially the same. A new game engine (Relic’s Essence 3.0) has led to refine- ments such as line of sight that is intended to be more like a troop’s real line of sight in combat situations. Destructible environments are fun as well.
The weather is also a major factor. While the realism has been ramped up, it can also get very frustrating, as it impacts on player movements. Stay too long outside cover and your troops will die, which can lead to some hair-tearingly frustrating moments as you watch soldiers picked off by frostbite.
Your other choice is to light a fire to keep them warm, but that can have the obvious consequences too. Even just moving through the environment can be impacted by the weather, with deep snow slowing you down, ice threatening to crack, etc. We wanted realistic; be careful what you wish for.
Aside from the main missions, there are side quests to complete, such as helping out the locals.
This is a real-time stratgey game that is both abosorbing and exciting; a good mix.