Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Company of Heroes II Beta Impressions

Quite a lot of people are waiting for Company of Heroes II. As for me, I like the original Company of Heroes but I was never a big fan of the multiplayer aspect of RTS. And now with the multiplayer beta of CoH II I finally try to jump in and find out if the multiplayer of CoH II is good enough for an amateur skirmisher like myself and what new things does CoH II offers.

Graphically, there is of course an obvious improvement from the first CoH although at a glance these improvements aren't that apparent. However graphical fidelity aren't the thing we look for in an RTS, instead gameplay is the most important part. This is the part where CoH II definitely shines.

CoHII builds upon its predecessor which offers some pretty complex combat. It's still an RTS in which you can learn to play easily but it offers more complexity when compared to other RTS in which CoHII simulates actual warfare with pretty good accuracy. And this actually mean that the player must control his unit to the best of his ability.

The player must always be mindful of the battlefield. Tanks need to always face forward towards the enemy and infantry needs to move and take cover when mortars starts falling. And the usual countering still applies like using anti-tank infantry against tanks, rain mortar on top of your opponent's army when they're staying in one place, bringing flamethrowers when fighting a lot of infantries. There's a lot of tactical possibilities that a great player can make use of. But of course, if you've played the first CoH, none of this is actually new to you.

Now let's look at some of the new stuff. Aside from the Russian army which is obviously new, the effects of cold weather in CoHII is really impressive. Having to take the weather into consideration while waging wars in CoHII really adds a really interesting twist to the already impressive gameplay. Blizzard will happen and affect the whole map, making your war limited to the use of vehicles or moving infantry from one building to another to avoid getting them killed because of the cold.

Frozen surface of waters can be used to get across rivers and small lakes but be wary of it because battle damage and being used to cross heavy vehicles will eventually break the frozen surface and kill whatever unit is currently crossing on top of it.

Another thing that is added to CoHII is the ability to customize your loadout and how your army looks. By playing the game in multiplayer you earn experience and level up. Leveling up unlocks plenty of stuff from passive skills that you can use to customize how your army plays to vehicle skins that you can use to make your army look different.

The original CoH already offers pretty impressive gameplay and CoHII does not disappoint with its many additions to the game. The Multiplayer Beta shows that the game offers a lot of strategic depth and interesting stuff for the competitive RTS players. But for players like myself I will await for the release of the game to get my hands on some Campaign action.

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