Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies

As I ordered my rifleman to flank the remaining enemies scattered around the ruins of the obliterated German Oberkommando West base, I felt confident in my chances for victory. Once I had finished off what I thought to be the rest of the German army, I was dumbfounded when I wasn't declared the victor of this skirmish. Confused, I ordered my men to scout the area for any survivors. Surprisingly, not only did I find survivors, I blindly ran into another base full of Germans who were ready to avenge their fallen comrades. Before I had a chance to gather myself, my troops were annihilated by tanks leaving me with only a few seconds to increase my defenses for an inevitable attack on my base. Before I had time to prepare, I was surrounded and could do nothing but sit back and watch all I had built be decimated in a matter of seconds.

The Western Front Armies are full of these epic moments. Last year when developer Relic Entertainment released the long awaited sequel to its critically acclaimed 2006 hit Company of Heroes, it wasn't met with the same reception but was still a great game that served as a suitable sequel. The standalone Western Front Armies DLC has been released and Relic Entertainment has taken a big step in making an already solid online experience even better.

Fans of the original game will recognize the two new armies that the Western Front Armies re-introduces. The German Oberkommando West and the US Army has finally been welcomed to Company of Heroes 2 family. These new armies are almost polar opposites of each other. The Oberkommando West is an army that focuses more on vehicles such as tanks and features only a couple of infantry units. While playing with the German army I realized that it took me considerably more time to build up into a force that I felt comfortable enough to go on the offensive with, but once this army is built up it is arguably the strongest of the two.

Unlike the Oberkommando West, the US Army already starts off with a base. Instead of building structures in order to build more advance units, The US Army instead has to recruit officers that allow you to recruit units. The US Army is infantry based which fits more of my style of play. Similar to the Germans, the units can be upgraded with more lethal weapons, more armor and abilities. The US is quicker than the Germans so early in matches I was able to defeat the opposing team sometimes before they were ready to fight back. Building a few squads of upgraded rifleman early allowed me to get the tactical advantage long enough to build more advanced units. Unfortunately, if I couldn't finish off the match in a hasty fashion a fully built up Oberkommando army is extremely hard to combat unless you strategize really well and use the terrain for your advantage.

In addition to the two new factions, The Western Front Armies also brings 8 new maps in addition to the maps available in the base game. These maps are beautifully crafted and if you have the proper hardware to run the high settings,  the level detail is astonishing. Every map feels different and the terrain gives you different ways to approach how you want to play. Depending on the map, you can play with up to 7 other players or AI. This allows for some of the most intense WWII battles I have witnessed. Strategy is more important to success when you have multiple armies trying to attack at once. Another unique feature of this DLC is the ability to play with other people online who own the base game. For example if you only own the DLC and not the actually base game you can still partner up with players who own the base game and head online.

The Western Front Armies immensely improves on what made Company of Heroes 2 a great game by adding a couple of new, diverse factions to the game as well as brand new maps that are amazingly developed. For the price of the DLC, fans of the original game or genre will surely get their money worth.

Writer for Darkstation since 2014. I've been playing games my whole life and starting writing about them in 2010. Outside of gaming I enjoy anime and watching my Philadelphia Eagles let me down every Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @jsparis09