Strong campaign | Good Visuals | Brutal and Frantic Combat | Multiplayer mode
Uninteresting story | It's all been done before | Large update
You command Soviet forces trying to push back the German bombardment during the attack on the USSR during World War II.
(Game reviewed on PC)
Firstly it is important for me to mention that not only is a strong PC required to run the game, and not only is it a 30Gb install, I was mostly taken aback by the 9.9Gb update shoved upon me. If you have the slightest issue with your download speed, you may experience a long wait before you get the chance to play Company of Heroes 2 (CoH2).
Overall it is a beautiful upgrade from its predecessor. In saying that, I think that the WWII gaming genre has truly run its course. It has been done so many times that there is no real motive to use it anymore. Everyone knows that inevitably Germany loses and you will win. It isn't as though somehow you will change history and have the German regime come out as the almighty nation. So it was important for the developers to make a game that has frantic and brutal combat to make it appealing. I can say that this is in fact the case. It also deserves a mention that there is a strong understanding of what the Soviet leaders were prepared to do to win, and that is sacrificing any man necessary to hold their lines. It doesn't however make you draw any emotion for these soldiers because as soon as you lose one unit, you simply click a button to spawn another unit.
As the campaign goes on you will get better units with stronger weapons and armour. In the beginning you have mere conscripted soldiers, some gunners, a few anti-tank guns. That will inevitably be for the first few missions. So you lose a unit, you spawn a unit. Doesn't sound like much fun! But it is very challenging to focus on various control points at once, whilst strategically trying to hold off the attack from the German forces. And they come at you with tanks from the very start. Even if you play on Conscript (Easy) difficulty you are in for a challenge. Playing on Captain (Medium) is twice as hard. So there is a challenge for you that will take your campaign to over 15 hours, depending on how you want to play the game. Do not underestimate the fun you will have playing it, but there is a level of patience required and strategic thinking as well.
The multiplayer isn't bad either. You can select Online or Skirmish. You can choose to play PvP, PvE or select to create your own combat with map selection, the number of enemy AI you want to fight, difficulty and so forth. I was at a huge disadvantage playing PvP due to the latency I experienced. Clearly I wasn't playing against fellow South Africans but rather some gamers in Europe and North America. They overwhelmed me within 10 minutes, and the game was over. In PvE you can join on another player (or vice versa) and play against other gamers or AI. There is an option to do 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4. As I said, I was always at a disadvantage with my connection to the international servers. So I opted to play my own combat in my own way, and I found it to be very rewarding.
The game is great fun overall. It has the opportunity to be long and rewarding, but if you are like me you will in fact feel that it is not very different from any other RTS out there, and it is WWII drama over and over again. There is no unique story, and the one you get to listen too (but you can skip) is uninteresting and you may find yourself skipping it after a few scenes and rather "climb" back into battle. Even though the game isn't the best from Relic, it isn't a game you should simply dismiss. It is fun to play, and time spent on the game will depend on how you want to play it. It has the potential for longevity which is important when buying any game.
I would recommend it to RTS fans, but rather go in with a sense of fun rather than trying to rank up in multiplayer. You may find it becomes more frustrating if you do want to focus on multiplayer.
I rate the game 7.5/10
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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd