Review by Kloo_Shanko
"It's like sex for the mind!"
Overall score: 9.4
I have honestly never played an RTS like this, the combination of bringing back the element of cover that was prominent in old RTS's and the addition of Havok Physics and almost fully destructable make this one of the most amazing experiences of my gaming life.
I'll start by explaining how amazing the physics and destructible environments are; the thing that first interested me in this game. I find it amazing merely to fire a Sherman's shell into the side of a building and that section of the building goes flying. This chunk could easily end up next to the building on the ground or a block away. Also impressive is blasting away barrels, boxes, fences, and the always fun dead bodies, not to mention mowing down walls, trees, corners of buildings when tanks cut too closely to them, and anything else things might find. I actually feel like I can call the maps "soft" in a sense because when shells and grenades impact they'll actually leave craters in the ground. You probably don't understand the whole "soft" thing but I'll explain: in a normal RTS the maps feel hard, like if you passed through them there'd be nothing on the other side, just one hard, thin, piece of ground but in CoH I feel like there's a layer of dirt underneath just waiting to be unearthed by the torrent of war. The reason I said before that the environment was "almost" fully destructable is because after buildings lose all their health the roofs usually just fall through the bottoms of the buildings but I can forgive after all this.
I'll move onto the cover tactics; there are three different degrees of cover: none, light, and heavy. When you have no cover, you're standing out in the open, with light, you're behind a log fence, not much but better then nothing, with heavy, you're behind stacked sandbags or metal barrels. Those are all obvious and not very impressive but what becomes more impressive is that if your men start to see the bullets flying, they'll scatter a bit, seeking cover and going prone if they have nothing close at hand or if they're in the crossfire of three MG42's. I think what's coolest about the cover system is that it actually allows your men to take cover behind chunks of the buildings you've sent into the streets or even to go prone in the craters you've made because of artillery shells and such. Garrisoning units in buildings has always been around and they've usually been able to fire out of the buildings but, in CoH, they'll only be allowed to shoot out of windows or openings in the blown out walls.
Going on to the more normal elements of gameplay, graphics are superb, at max, I do not have a hard time saying, with a little leeway, they're comparable to Call of Duty 2. The cinematics actually use the same graphics you see while playing the game so if you zoom all the way in while ingame you can see everything down to the grenades on your men's belts and even their blinking eyes. It's impressive to see the lighting effects flash across scren as the camera pans around to offer the complete view of the battlefield.
The story follows that of Able Company starting off in the massacre of D-Day at Omaha Beach and marches all the way to Berlin. If you really want to know what happens then read a history book.
Sound's almost perfect, I usually leave the game with the sounds of shells ringing in my ears.
In short, this game's fantastic, the only choice you have is which store to purchase it at.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/25/06
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