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- Company of Heroes 2
To aid all people groaning under the yoke of Fascism.
As one of the most patriotic countries in the world, the United States respectfully boasts about its involvement in World War II, and military video games tend to reinforce our hard-fought victories in Europe and Japan without giving too much credit to our other allies. We remember and mourn the loss of an estimated 416,800 total U.S. casualties due to the war, as well we should. But we should also know a little known fact, that this figure is merely 5% of the total casualties suffered by the Soviet Union, at an estimate of 8.8 to 10.7 million people. It's their battles, the theatre of war along the Eastern Front, which are rarely told in the United States, and are thus courageously and honorably the subject of Company of Heroes 2.
THQ and Relic Entertaiment understand that it's been a pain-staking six years since the first Company of Heroes, which still ranks as one of the highest real-time strategy titles to this day. So they have been careful not to screw around with this sequel, announced in May of this year, and is still in the midst of tweaking and improving the current build of the title available for press at PAX. But for what they have shown so far, it's well on its way on matching, or surpassing, its predecessor.
Following the Soviet Union's Red Army from Operation Barbarossa to the Battle of Berlin, you must battle their way through outstretched snowfields, frozen lakes, and villages windswept in occasional blizzards that randomly appear throughout missions. Winter in Russia has spelled the end to numerous military conflicts in history, and this will be no exception. Any squads you lead through the environment must contend with the elements, staying warm by standing near fire pits or hiding beneath the cover of a cobblestone wall.
Cover plays a significant role in protecting your troops, but it's also important to gain a line of sight to your targets. Using a system called TrueSight, threat visibility will be clouded if your squadrons don't have them in sight. So blizzards, smoke clouds, and log cabins can impede your progress and give the enemy a chance at an ambush if you aren't careful. Setting up your positions behind cover and knowing when to risk moving a squad to another cover point is key to survival. Advancing a troop through a snowstorm or through thick snow is not a good idea.
Then of course comes the tactical use of abilities and management between the different unit types, including Conscript Squads, Guards Troops, Combat Engineers, PM-41 Mortar Squads, and a bevy of other uniquely tailored squads. Maneuvering the squads around the chessboard of the battlefield means understanding each type's strengths and weaknesses as well as using their abilities to the fullest extent. At no cost, most standard troops can throw grenades, molotov cocktails, or some other projectile with a radial blast. They can also call in an airstrike, set mines, or employ specialized grenades against vehicles as long as you have the resources to do so. These ammunition and fuel resources are secured by combat engineers, who can also construct bunkers and various structures that can deploy specialized troops.
Though the required amount of strategic thought can be overwhelming, there's nothing quite like the sense of confidence when all of the systems work in tandem. While rank and file troops scope out the immediate areas and capture significant points on the map, combat engineers can assemble ranges and factories that can produce sniper squads and light tanks for more firepower. One group of combat engineers can provide support for the main squad by suppressing enemies with flamethrowers and building resource-gathering stations.
With speed, tactics, and a little luck, you'll be able to clear out the German Army once and for all. Company of Heroes 2 arrives on PC in early 2013.