The real time strategy genre has always been one of the marquee genres along with the MMO genre that has really kept the PC gaming market a successful gaming platform. With franchises like Command and Conquest, the Warcraft/Starcraft, and even games like Age of Empires have really just made this such a successful genre. Never yet though has there been a great RTS based on the events of WWII something that today is being attempted by the folks over at Relic who have teamed up with THQ to try and bring the next great RTS. So does Relic come up short or does Company of Heroes have what it takes to be the next big thing? Read our full review to find out!
When you’re creating a game in the RTS genre you really have a lot of competition and a lot of games to draw comparison from. This can be a good thing and this can put a damper on some games as well. But when you put in Company of Heroes you will find out pretty quick that this is not a game that draws on convention but instead can only be compared to itself and we will talk about why that is right now.
From the opening cinematic of Company of Heroes you know you’re in for one heck of a ride. The opening of the game takes you into the Battle of Normandy where you are of course trying to charge the beach. Now the opening cinematic is definitely a page out of the Saving Private Ryan book of war movies but it still is just one of the most amazing video game interpretations of the battle that continues throughout the game. The story really gets you into the game and really makes you care about the action that is taking place on the battlefield.
So let’s now talk about Company of Heroes in a Gameplay standpoint which is really where this marvel shines the brightest. Really this is a game that not so much focuses on a grand scale of thousands of mindless troops running into battle but instead shines the brightest at the much more minute level where you get to see how well the AI was developed for this game. You get to play as two sides either the Americans or the Germans which is kind of neat way to look at the RTS and although we would have loved to have seen more then two sides when you get into this game you will realize that it actually works really well.
Gathering resources is a part of any RTS and it is done in a way in Company of Heroes that just flat out makes sense. It also is a great addition to the strategy focus of the game as it requires you to capture specific spots on the map which makes it key to focus on all different areas of the game. Although this doesn’t sound all that important you would be surprised what a difference this simple idea makes in the game and how well it transpires. It does take time to grow accustomed to but let me tell you it is really a very intuitive method.
The single player campaign is just flat out fantastic from the great storyline, to the amazing tactical Gameplay. Everything in the single player mode just works brilliantly. The only real problem I have is that it would have been interesting to be able to take the Axis side during single player but that was left for the multiplayer aspect which is just a totally fresh experience as well.
You have a lot of options online whether you want a one on one match with a buddy or if you want to have a team battle the online multiplayer really caters to everyone. The online play from my experience was paced extremely well and I was surprised to see how much of the technical aspects of the game held up so well online. The game definitely offers a lot of options and it really takes a lot of time and skill to be successful in this game. I could really see this being a multiplayer experience that people keep coming back for.
As much as the Gameplay was amazing, the visual quality of Company of Heroes is as good as they come. Currently this is by far the best looking RTS title out and I really don’t see any games in the near future competing with it. The amount of detail that has gone into the individual units as well as the environments is just absolutely remarkable. Not only those but the cinematic that are found throughout the game are just amazing cut scenes that to help set the amazing and top notch visual presentation.
Company of Heroes is a game that I can’t say got as much hype and anticipation that it probably deserved. It was one of those games that looked really good but it just didn’t seem that exciting to have another WWII game. But wow does this game have a complete package. From the amazingly engaging single player campaign to the extremely deep and challenging online experience Company of Heroes really has all of the makings of an extremely fun and addicting game to play.
Company of Heroes is the real deal. This is a game that doesn’t need to be compared to previous RTS games because it is just flat out a great game. Instead however this is a game that will be compared to when checking out upcoming RTS releases to see if it can be up to par with the brilliance of Company of Heroes.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.