Company of heroes has always been about top notch military simulation, but instead of your countless first person shooters which puts you in the muddy boots of a world war fighter, sees you as the general who orders troops and commands the army towards victory.
Formerly created and developed by THQ, who have done such an outstanding job on the first title, Relic Entertainment had the arduous task of one upping its predecessor. While not entirely blasting the first instalment off the map, Company of Heroes 2 is a wonderful addition to the genre of Real Time Strategy. The visuals are breath-taking, the sound and music are top notch and the gameplay feels smooth while also bearing the tension of the battle and thus involves even more the player in the adventure. All the above does not encapsulate the whole experience of Company of Heroes, since there is also the brand new expansion pack named The Western Armies, which features the addition of two new factions to the game, namely the US Forces and the Oberkommandos, which represent the United States and the German armies respectively. This expansion brings a breath of fresh air to the game since it is now a full year since the release of Company of Heroes 2.
The addition of these two armies brings with it new play styles and thus enriching the already packed game with more content. One must also state that the expansion pack is playable as a standalone game as well, meaning that one does not need to have purchased Company of Heroes 2 prior to the expansion pack as the latter can run separately on its own, even though it excludes the Campaign mode. The expansion being standalone is a great idea since by paying just a fraction of what the full game will cost, one will be able to delve into the most exciting part of Company of Heroes 2, which is Multiplayer. While it adds no modes to the game since multiplayer is already there, it adds features to it. Apart from these features, the expansion provides much more balance to a game which was in need for, and has almost recreated a brand new experience thanks to all that it brings forth.
As mentioned above it comprises the two new factions which join the other two already present in the game, thus incrementing the selection pool to four, even though owning only the expansion will only let you choose the two featured in the same expansion, as well as all the maps already available from the start of CoH2 as well as a handful of news maps included in the Western Armies content. What is appreciated of the new armies is their play style. Company of Heroes always wants to be the most realistic game possible, and by giving each faction an identity of its own really makes the contest start at the selection of armies, not when the showdown on the battlefield begins. An example of how this is reflected ingame is shown through the different characteristics of each force; for example the US Army as a quick and light front, while the Oberkommandos may seem heavier and rely more on armour. This difference in styles also invokes master strategists to conjure a perfect tactic, to conquer the enemy either due to your army’s strengths or due to the opponent’s limitations.
The expansion pack is available as a package with either both armies or a separate one, singling out each additional army by itself. The single army pack will still feature multiplayer so it will appeal to gamers who like the genre but do not wish to invest a lot, and thus will give an opportunity to try out the game with the freedom which a demo could not give. Owners of Company of Heroes 2 should give this some thought on when to buy because both armies do not come in cheap, but it must be said that even though they do not inject the game with loads of content, the additions it brings are very welcome and will further improve the longevity of the multiplayer scene, which is already strong by itself.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.