Company of Heroes is one of those games that can alter a genre, like what Half-Life did to FPS games. The game throws in many aspects from the nomenclature RTS by having capture points (to gain resources), reinforcing units when they are depleted, giving you general powers to use, etc. This is a game really just gets straight to it. In only a matter of minutes, you are already skirmishing with the enemy. It is an awesome RTS that has some of the best graphics to date.
There really isn’t much of an economy to manage, but you still have to manage three resources, manpower (which you get automatically as time progress), munitions (lets you buy skills for soldiers, upgrades as well), and fuel (lets you build buildings and tanks). The soldiers that you train can be sent out to capture the three different points scattered across the map. These points automatically generate resources. The more of them you have, the more resource you will get and you will be able to build and upgrade like crazy.
This game features a lot of new elements brought to the RTS genre such as destructible terrain, tough A.I. and squad units taking cover. Most of the units you train come out in a squad. Each squad is however different, some squads have three or so men, while some have more. For example, if you were to queue one rifleman, you would get a squad of six soldiers that all share the same life bar. As each one dies, the life bar goes down until the last soldier dies and then the unit is lost. You can also issue your units to retreat back to Headquarters, which is your main base. You can reinforce a squad that has depleted troops there as well. Vehicles come in a big variety in this game. Tanks, halftracks, armored cars, jeeps, anti-tank guns and air planes (you don’t really control them). Infantry soldiers can’t really take out most vehicles. One of my most favorite features is blowing up bridges which doesn't take long and can delay the enemy. I personally do this just to funnel them to one bridge guarded heavily by my men.
The sound in this game is phenomenal. From soldiers dying, cursing and orders to the tanks crushing buildings, you will be in awe. THQ and Relic spent some time developing these sounds to be as authentic as possible. Some of the soldier’s comments are rather hilarious if you are paying attention as well.
The whole map can easily become a big battlefield with soldiers everywhere very fast. You have to be on your heels and be paying attention while being attacked almost everywhere simultaneously. This game will definitely test your RTS skills. It also has replay ability too, except the campaign that was just a bit dull and dry. Just make sure that your computer can handle it, as this game is not only big, but requires a decent computer to run. The requirements are that you need around 4-5GBs of HD space, at least a 256 graphics card of any sort (just plan to run the game on low setting). Also, make sure to get at least 1GB of ram, otherwise it will take forever loading this game (a misfortune I am suffering right now). The game is also rated M (for Mature) and is restricted to 2-8 multiplayer (online/LAN). There is also an expansion pack due sometime in 2008 called Opposing Fronts. Company of Heroes retails for $49.99 with a street price of $29.99 as of September 07.
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