Company of Heroes is coming out this week, and the early word is that it looks very, very good. Produced by THQ and developed by Relic, it’s an RTS game that uses the same HAVOC engine as Relic’s great Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War series. Basically, that means that you get to do a hell of a lot of tactical combat in the game, rather than micromanaging a la old school Warcraft or Command & Conquer games. You don’t need to farm for resources- just control “command points”, and you can set up shop- and you get whole units at once, rather than individual units. Thus, this makes combat both simpler and more manageable, rather than the days of yore, where you had to manage resources, collate all your units (and make sure the stupid AI didn’t send them willy nilly) on an individual basis into ad hoc clumps, and then launch offensives. In previous RTS games, this meant that whoever was faster with the keyboard would win. Now, you actually have to learn how to fire and movement, positional warfare, and combined arms warfare.
The game also, on a graphical level, looks absolutely stunning. It’s probably one of the best looking RTS games I’ve ever seen, just from the gameplay footage I’ve watched from it (which you can zoom out into a standard 3rd person viewpoint, or zoom into a up close and personal 1st person viewpoint). Lighting stands out very well, as do explosions, smoke, and texture. The environment is also completely destructible, which means that you probably don’t want to stay in fixed positions for all that long. Shoot at a wall with a Bazooka or a Panzerfaust, and it will at the minimum, partially collapse. That’s the other graphical beauty of the game- what you shoot at, and how you shoot at it, means something.
Since it’s the HAVOC engine, it also means that the CPU’s AI isn’t going to be a pushover. Multiplayer itself should be a blast as well, as many Dawn of War fans can attest to (this doesn’t mean that there won’t be the usual computer game lags on multiplayer, though). And the guys at Relic and THQ are very much into realism- they stayed true to the Warhammer mythos with Dawn of War, and they look to do the same here, for WW2. Now all you damn rookie soldiers better move on out, go play Company of Heroes and go kick some Jerry ass, or else I’ll bitchslap you worse than Patton ever would. And worse, you’ll like it, privates!
Uncle Sam wants YOU! to view this gameplay trailer of Company of Heroes:
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