Review by EpicKingdom_
Forget Anything You Thought You Knew About Strategy.
Company of Heroes is without a doubt, thee best and most realistic real time strategy game ever made that will never get dull or boring. It's January 1st, 2012 as I write this review that mostly no one would see or even read cause of the game being so old but I'll continue writing anyways knowing that, because that's how much I feel I need to give credit to such an awesome game that was developed by Relic Entertainment and released on September 12th, 2006.
Graphics: 10 out of 10.
The first thing that will grasp your attention about the game will be it's realism and physics. Company of Heroes uses the "Essence Engine". This engine was designed and coded from scratch by Relic to make use of special graphical effects, including high dynamic range lighting, dynamic lighting & shadows, advanced shader effects and normal mapping. Company of Heroes also utilizes the Havok physics engine, giving it a more realistic physics system than previous RTS games. Parts of buildings can be destroyed by grenades, satchels or mortars, and tanks can drive through sections of walls or other barriers. Smoke created from explosions is programmed to behave as realistically as possible and can even be influenced by wind. Debris is also influenced by explosions; a blast can send barrels flying and shower troops in dirt, whilst leaving behind a large crater. When infantry are bombarded by artillery, body parts sometimes detach and are dispersed over, and some units are thrown about in the immediate area.
Sound: 10 out of 10.
One thing I never really judged before until now, Company of Heroes has just about thee best sounding effects I have ever really heard from a game, that said assuming you have a nice little sound system but not even that, I use a simple 2 channeled left & right speaker set up and I swear amongst first playing (COH) I couldn't stop sending artillery rounds on my targets just to hear intense, and I mean INTENSE explosion sound effects. Along with anything else I loved doing considering sound like setting up an MG nest while watching it shred my enemies infantry.
Story: 10 out of 10.
Now, I don't know much about historical accurateness so I can't say much about if this game is although I hear it's not but simply judging the missions & story provided I had no problem with it. The campaign puts the player in some of the major American operations during the Battle of Normandy as you follow the story of Abel's company assault on Omaha Beach, (D-day), Fox company & the Battle of Carentan, Able and Dog's companies Battle of Cherbourg, along with Operation Cobra, Operation Lüttich, Falaise Pocket in a total of missions up to thirteen-fifteen missions from America's perspective. Very lengthy and can be played on Easy, Normal or Hard. Each mission has secondary objectives and medals to be earned as well.
Gameplay: 10 out of 10.
You should already know the detailed war effects I mentioned in the graphics section from dirt flying into the air from explosions causing infantry to be blasted across the field and what knot but this section will describe what a Skirmish match would be like, from start your job is to control the majority of "Victory Control Points" located on a map as stars, mostly up to three for a one on one match up. To win you'll have to control two of the three, hence the majority. As long as you do that the opposing players points will decrease, both sides (Axis & Allies) start at five hundred, whoever reaches zero first loses the match. To fund the war, you must also capture and hold certain points on the map known as Munitions & Fuel depots, Munitions let's you pay for ammo related things like grenade & gun upgrades, artillery bombardments or strafing runs while Fuel helps you pay for simply put, vehicles like Jeeps, Tanks or anything like that, all of these points on the map are within sectors or in other words they have borders (the more you control the more manpower you have which is also another type of resource), Let's say you have a map consisting of twenty sections / sectors, three of those being the Victory Control Points & the rest being a mix of Munitions & Fuel Depots. To make use of these captured territories you must have them stay connected to your home base, this is called a "supply line". If the enemy manages to cut you off and disconnect your front than you must take it back to continue receiving those captured territories resources but to avoid that you can do things like make defenses, Americans can lay down mine fields along with barbed wires and last an MG nests right behind all that while the Axis can use concrete bunkers with MG soldiers within along with the little things like I just listed, (mine fields etc). This should hold off the enemy long enough for you to arrive with your main forces to defend the location. While in the midst of battle you must be wise and order your tanks to face its front towards the enemy to avoid being hit in it's weak side (the rear) from anti tank crews as well as other things like moving your infantry behind a concrete wall or a crater caused from an explosion to gain cover from your opponents heavy machine gunner, while using your other infantry squad to flank your opponent. Each side has it's advantages and disadvantages but still maintains balance but requires you to act fast against your situation for example the Americans can get strong tanks faster than the Wehrmacht but the Wehrmacht can get anti tank crews faster than the Americans, you may think your screwed but if played out properly there is always a counter attack available just like how the Axis side can obtain heavy machine gunner squads early in the game that can easily shred your American soldiers to top your opponent the Americans can acquire snipers early on to take em out and so on with all the other unit match ups. Both factions (Americans and Wehrmacht) has a ranking system that's real in depth, as your units kill you rank up some experience points which can be used against one of three sets of support, for example the Americans allows you to specialize in the infantry, air or armored divisions, whichever you chose opens up that one division for you to rank up in, If you chose air than you'll be centered around air support type abilities, you can earn abilities like supply drops, strafing runs or air recon as you gain (XP) and much more, infantry on the other hand is centered around defense and infantry support and gives you abilities like airborne paratrooper drops along with rangers and so on is the case for Armor which is based on vehicles / armor support.
(COH) has a great online mode with all the basics like player ranks, stats, leader boards, chat rooms, buddy lists and an auto match making system that pits you against another opponent similar to your skill. It's only Axis vs. Allies as well meaning in a 2v2 match up you cannot be partnered with the Wehrmacht (Axis side) if your an American (Allies side) faction. You and your partner must be both the Allies or Axis. (COH) features a large list of maps to choose from, each with it's own unique setting like open fields, train yards, river beds, industrial locations, towns and all that kinda stuff for your ideal WW2 settings.
Company of Heroes is a must have experience along with it's expansions. Online is still very alive and there just so much enjoyment for this game offline & online. If you think you know what strategy is than your wrong till you play this. You'll never want to return to the type of games that require twenty minutes of build time and thirty minutes of should we attack yet? Company of Heroes is a real minute by minute strategy game that requires endless amounts of strategy, tactics and skill, you will always need a quick solution to defeat your opponent. The action is just as real as war itself.
Features the most realistic physics within a strategy game ever along with stunning graphics & movie theater type sound effects.
Addicting online that will never give you the same match.
Very long campaign / single player value.
Very in depth between the two factions available, consisting of multiple unit types and abilities.
Feels like non-stop action packed war.
A crap load of patches to download before playing online with file sizes so unimaginable, you don't even know.
A massive learning curve for the newbies.
Skirmish is broken up to the latest patch and seems unfair although provides a fair challenge if not patched. But obviously you'll need the latest to play online.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Company of Heroes (US, 09/13/06)
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