Company of Heroes is a fantastic game. Not since ? you guessed it ? Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
, have I seen an RTS this good. And not surprisingly, CoH was published by the same
company as Dawn of War. Relic Studios is showing, time and again, their expertise when it comes to real-time strategy, and Company of Heroes is one of their better efforts. It's not perfect, and in fact Dawn of War does a number of things better. For example, Dawn of War had distinctive characters, something that Company lacks. You had the preachy librarian, the hard-ass soldier guy and the whiny Chaos magic dude.
In Company of Heroes, all the guys are dressed exactly alike (thanks to the Army) and they all sound similar to one another. How am I supposed to get a feeling for these guys when they're basically interchangeable? And furthermore, the cast tends to change from one mission to another, which doesn't help matters. You never really get a chance to bond with your characters.
Yet, aside from minor issues like that, Company of Heroes is an excellent game, potentially the best of 2006. From beginning to end, Company of Heroes is quality that won't let you down.
Take the tutorial, for example, which is a truly beautiful thing. You could have never touched an RTS before in your life and you'll have no problem getting into this game. And it's fun
. I can't remember a tutorial I loved more than that of Company of Heroes, which makes you feel like you're doing really well and doing it admirably. You never feel lost, enough so that it's a complete shock the first time you get your ego handed to you by someone online. Happened to me.
And after the tutorial, it keeps improving. You start out by reliving the landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day, no surprises there. But then it gets into the land campaign, where you have to secure the roads, currently in German control, that are crucial to the water invasion.
Company of Heroes also doesn't shirk at showing you the brutal details of war. You'll get to see the soldiers on both sides taking turns shooting each other up, even in the cutscenes, and it can get especially graphic.
And speaking of graphics, the game looks phenomenal, especially on beefier systems with all of the setting maxed out. Yet even on less-than-stellar computers Company of Heroes looks great. Even when you zoom in all the way the game maintains its detail and still plays well, which is often a problem with RTS games. And those characters who I railed against moments before for looking the same? Will, it's a very high quality of "same."
The story is suitably historic, giving you an in-depth look at the battles of World War II. Each mission radiates history
like few games before, but not in a humdrum, history textbook sort of way - it's more like National Geographic at the I-MAX. And while I didn't care for some of the comedy in the story, including one cutscene that seemed to portray the American soldiers as either thievin' winos or their officers as permissive and dumb, it's hardly a complaint to turn you away from the game.
Yeah, Company of Heroes is pretty frickin' sweet. Even if you haven't played any strategy games before, it's worth checking out. And if you've never played a strategy game before, then Company of Heroes is your entry point. It can acclimate you to the inner workings and micromanagement that is prevalent in games of this sort without making it overly complicated or pretentious.
Seriously, check out Company of Heroes now. It is possibly the best Real Time Strategy game of all time (at least, so far) and it is, simply, the best strategy game of 2006. You don't want to miss it!