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Customer Review

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great game overall - yet in the back of mind I keep thinking, there must be more?, 25 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Company of Heroes 2 (PC DVD) (Video Game)
It has been 7 years since the release of the original Company of Heroes - one of the most favoured RTS games of all time on the PC. So the sequel, Company of Heroes 2 had an awful lot to live up. Well did it do so? Kind of..and I'll give my opinions as to why in this review.

First thing to take note of is the game is divided into 3 core sections: Campaign, Multiplayer and Theatre of War

The Campaign:

Away has the focus gone from the over done to death, Western front of the Second World War, and Relic now turns it's eye towards the savage, gritty Eastern front. It does so pretty well actually, capturing the brutal, desperate moments that the Russians had to embark upon to defend their homelands from Hitler's ambitions.
The Campaign will probably take the average player, depending on the difficulty, around 9-12 hours, and for the most part it is an enjoyable, immersing experience.
You take part in historic battles such as Stalingrad and take part of 'scorched earth' tactics in order to delay the German advance.
All these missions are pretty well done, but I can't help but think the lack of morals from Russian Officers is slightly over exaggerated in the cutscenes and in game - it actually gets slightly annoying at times when all you hear every couple of minutes is a reminder that 'Retreat is not acceptable, it is punishable by death..' etc etc. Although it may be true it can feel rather forced.
However, I suppose this is a rather minor niggle, and overall you can learn an awful lot Historically about the Eastern front, whilst having a pretty good time also. You can tell the team at Relic spent a lot of time digging through Historical Data!
I however felt that at times, the tactical elements were slightly ruined by the typical Russian 'meatshield' tactics of just throwing wave after wave of conscripts at the enemy, eventually pushing through and succeeding, even on the harder difficulty, this was a tactic that could be easily employed. It doesn't as such ruin the gameplay, but it does deter from overall satisfaction of a bloody victory.

Overall it looks like Relic did take quite a bit of care into it's campaign, even though there are some pretty dated animations going on, notably in the cutscenes, the problem of the extremes in the weather and atrocities were over exaggerated, but this is merely my own opinion.
4/5

Theatre of War:

This is somewhat like a campaign, where you can play as either the Soviets or the Germans taking on 'mini' missions. You are forced into tricky scenarios such as defending against waves of armour, or taking out officers of the adversary. There are options for solo missions, along with coop. One problem that I could see with the coop is that there is no 'matchmaking' - so if you don't have a friend with the game, you probably arent going to be able to do this section until you find someone willing to do it with you.
I found this pretty stupid because most games that have a coop option allow you to take part with a random person - A missed opportunity there I think.
Overall though this is pretty similar to the Campaign, but perhaps more intense and tricky, though it provides more of that 'satisfaction' that I was talking about that was missing from the main campaign.
I have to give it a 4 though because of the lack of coop matchmaking - it could potentially hinder some people's completion (though i dont think it will be a huge problem for many who will have others to cooperate with)
4/5

Multiplayer:

To me, this is where the game is really quite excellent. There are currently 13 maps, which is quite a low number considering the amount of time they have had for production. But for now this is okay, and hopefully more will come in later patches for FREE. Please do not charge us for maps - this isn't Call of Duty (Especially since in COH, there was a vast array of community maps and official maps made free)
You have the option to battle up to 4v4 either against other people, or against AI on a chosen difficulty.
There are two game modes - Victory point and Annihilation. The latter is self explanatory, where as VP is a mode where when you hold the majority of 3 points, you drain the opposition's ticket count. A pretty intense game-mode which doesn't go on forever, which is quite nice for those who haven't got hours to spare.

They have now introduced a leveling up system that is both good and bad.
Part of this is the ability to use Commanders. Each of these has their own 'abilities' that you can use in battle, such as deploying the infamous Tiger tank, or calling in a railway artillery attack. This is somewhat like the Doctrines of the old game, so nothing too much new there.
What is new however is the introduction of 'Bulletins'. These are 'challenges' that you can complete to give boosts to your troops, albeit they are very minor e.g. 3% boost in health. Whilst it is a good idea in some ways - I don't really see the point, and increasing these boosts will only create a lack of balance.

You can also unlock camouflage, which is pretty self explanatory..but not a good thing when they start trying to sell them on Steam individually...ALREADY, though you can unlock many through simply playing the game thankfully.

Multiplayer can be really fun once you get into a game that isn't laggy - and it's pretty darn intense at times, which can create some really memorable moments.
One thing I don't really like ingame is the 'Blizzard' phase - where randomly a blizzard will hit the map, forcing all infantry to take shelter or suffer hypothermia and die. It's a nice idea but it can break up the game a little bit - which for some could be seen as good, or bad.

Overall they kind of nailed the multiplayer element, and this is where the game will last
5/5

I just feel overall there are a few thing's that just made me wonder how it took so long for them to bring this out - yet not deliver as much as most probably hope for. The graphics are incredibly demanding on most systems (even with an i7 @ 4.5ghz and a gtx 680) and don't really look that great. Hopefully drivers will sort the disappointing performance. Along with this, there are a disappointing number of units in my opinion. The Campaign is good, but not incredible, as is Theatre of War.

Relic has delivered something pretty awesome - but it's not perfect. They stuck to what made the original so great, but I feel they stuck so close to it that they didn't raise the bar as much as most would have probably liked. It's still a game you have to buy and play, and with future expansions and a competitive online community, this game will be around for a very long time.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Jun 2013 18:03:45 BDT
Thanks for a useful review. I am worried about the specs. Do you know what the recommended specs are for this game?

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2013 18:21:16 BDT
Mr. M. Rix says:
Thanks M.J.Walters - I'm glad you found it of some use!
As far as I can tell there are no official recommended specs for the game.
From what I can tell personally, and from experience - i'd say at least an i5 processor with 3.0ghz speed minimum, and depending on which cards you favor, Nvidida GTX 660 onwards or an AMD 7950..for something pretty nice.
At the moment the game very well optimized, nor are there any drivers out either, so with time performance should increase. The things i listed above is what I think would be best for a decent experience for this game.

What are your specs?

Posted on 25 Jun 2013 18:28:32 BDT
Hi,
I am trying to play this on a 680gtx amd8350 with 8gig of ram, not a bad system but... the game runs like Sh:t.. 8fps and the ground textures look appalling!!
(COH1 looks and runs better) and that was after a 5 gig patch from Steam after i had installed from a retail copy. Googling there seems like there are lots of problems for nvidia cards, down to drivers i suppose. I hope they sort it soon, or its just a waste of 40 odd euros.

cheers
steve

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2013 18:46:11 BDT
Mr. M. Rix says:
No S.Floyd, that is far from a bad system. It is strange that you are getting such bad frames!
Im running everything on max with anti aliasing at 'medium' and things seem to run okay.
I think perhaps i'm just lucky - but even so, the performance is lackluster and should be a lot better, when games with far better visuals run infinitely smoother!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2013 19:07:30 BDT
hi,
Its strange, i can put it up to max settings or all the way down to the lowest settings, still he same. Lower resolutions makes know difference..
Gonna try older nvidia drivers see if that makes a difference, will report back!!

cheers
steve

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2013 19:49:53 BDT
Thanks for your reply. I have 4gb RAM, AMD 11 x4 955 4 core 3.2 mhz processor, AMD Radeon 6850. I have not had a problem with AAA games and have played Skyrim, Dishonour and Bioshock Infinite without a problem. But this would not mean I would not have a problem with COH2, because games differ in how they exploit and use resources efficiently.

Posted on 25 Jun 2013 20:10:32 BDT
Indeed. My system can run any game, including Crysis 3, on either 'High' or 'Ultra' settings with AA turned to either mid or max levels (I'm currently running an i7 3.5ghz, 12GB RAM and an AMD HD7850) and yet the relatively modest Far Cry 3 is the only game in my collection that becomes unplayable at anything above 'Medium' settings with AA turned right off. There are numerous reasons as to how any game will run on even the highest spec PC.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2013 02:14:50 BDT
Mr. M. Rix says:
M.J Walters,

With those specs id say you are perhaps running slightly low on the RAM front, I'd say you need 6-8gb to be safe these days. But other than that, you should be able to run the game on medium..but I guess we will just need to wait for patches for the performance to improve i'm afraid.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2013 02:16:36 BDT
Mr. M. Rix says:
Mr H Chinaski,

Yes sadly Far Cry 3 was on of those games that was terribly optimised for months and months after launch. Just ask my girlfriend about me ranting and raving about it - it was an absolute nightmare!

With your specs though Company of Heroes 2 in theory should run very well..in theory, but as I keep saying to others, we all need to sadly stand the test of time. I fear though that by the time these issues are sorted, people will be fed up and will have moved on.

Posted on 29 Jun 2013 12:12:46 BDT
Mr M. Rix, yes Far Cry 3 was horribly optimised, a situation that almost completely ruined my enjoyment of the game. Even after version 1.05 the problem hasn't been solved which is a huge shame as I'm yet to enjoy the game in all it's splendour.

Since my last post I have tried CoH2 and am happy to report that it runs rather well. The auto-detect system for the game seems a little off as it automatically put my settings at 'Low' which was a little disheartening. But after pushing the graphical options all the way to 'Ultra' (with AA set to medium) I still get framerates comfortably in the 30-40 range.
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