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When Hitler’s Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he caught Stalin’s armies unprepared. To avoid being trapped behind enemy lines, Soviet soldiers, civilians and entire industries retreated, falling back further east. Fearing the Nazi’s swift and relentless progress towards Moscow, Stalin issued Order 227. “Not one step back,” it said. Now any retreating Soviet soldier would be shot by his own side. During my time with Relic, the team stopped just short of threatening themselves with guns, but they’re similarly resolute that Company of Heroes won’t take any backward steps. If you’ve forgotten exactly why that might be a challenge, consider that Company of Heroes’ 94% review in PC Gamer remains the highest score we’ve ever given an RTS.
It’s called Company of Heroes 2, but it’s a long way into the 15-hour campaign before Relic’s real-time strategy game finds any heroism. It’s set on World War II’s frigid Eastern Front, and is more concerned with rifle-butting home the horror of that bloodiest sector of the conflict. The Eastern Front saw the brunt of the war: Germany lost 80% of its Wehrmacht casualties east of Berlin; the Soviets themselves lost some 26 million souls overall, 8.6 million of whom were in the military.
Company of Heroes is one of my favourite games of all time. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit the game's developers, Relic, and meet the team responsible for reviving that game in today's new web-centric world. Now, we're going to deliver a week of words, pictures and videos on what we think is the most exciting free strategy game in the world.
Relic announced earlier today that they will be shutting down the open beta of Company of Heroes Online in March, saying that the end of the beta means the end of Company of Heroes Online.
Last week we spoke to Relic Entertainment's Jacen Torres about upcoming RTS Company of Heroes 2, which we're more than a little bit excited about. Torres told us about the tactical depth that comes from focusing on small-scale infantry combat, the new 'truesight' dynamic line-of-sight system that they've created for Company of Heroes 2, and the historical importance - yet relative under-representation - of World War 2's Eastern Front. Check out the full interview below.
Look, tanks! I mean, here is a Company of Heroes Online trailer with tanks in it. I mean, it details the three classes of commander and their areas of specialty: Infantry, tanks, and tanks. I mean, air force.
Company of Heroes still plays like The Most Horrifying War Movie You've Ever Seen: The Game. Now Relic are beginning a new campaign, taking their 2006 RTS classic, and rebuilding it for 2010's online audience. For free. This year, publisher THQ will be hosting the game as a free-to-play download, funded with item purchases. It's currently available for free in Korea. It will be free-to-play in the US before the end of 2010, with a European release to follow. That doesn't mean it has become any softer or easier. In fact, the new Company of Heroes Online delivers even more depth and even more complexity than ever before. We've been playing the Korean version of the game relentlessly. And there's one realisation we've come away with: we'd be nowhere without paratroopers.
There are 17 maps available in the current build of Company of Heroes Online, the free-to-play version of one of our favourite strategy games. They range from brisk 2 player skirmishes to brain melting 8 player battles. These maps are mostly taken from the original game, and have played host to many memorable war stories. I've taken an in depth look at a few of my favourites, so you'll know what to expect when you boot up Company of Heroes Online for the first time.
I'm in the the trenches at the Company of Heroes Online demonstration here at Gamescom. It's on course for a spring release next year, and I'm finding out lots about the business model and how the free elements will stack against the paid bits, as well as getting a good impression of the game itself.
I've just been tinkering with Company of Heroes Online, the awesome World War 2 strategy game from Relic. And it's unbelievable. Absolutely, mind blowing. I know we've been banging on about this for months now, but you really, honestly, absolutely have to try it out. If you sign up at the Company of Heroes site, you can download the full, original, Company of Heroes campaign, for free. There's absolutely zero catch. It's worth it just to play the Carentan mission - which I still think is the best RTS level ever created. We'll have much more shortly, but just go and have a play, and report back what you think.
Relic have released two new screenshots of Company of Heroes 2, showing more of the snowy Eastern Front battlefields that'll form the backdrop to the sequel's central campaign. One shot shows soldiers trading potshots alongside supporting tanks. The snow drifts they're standing in will deform under the weight of marching boots and the tracks of Russian and German heavy armour. The fire shown in the second image will eviscerate flimsy wooden structures, causing them to collapse and instantly kill any men unlucky enough to be caught inside.
Update: All 20,000 keys have been distributed. Thanks to everyone who grabbed one—look for more thrilling giveaways from us in the future. For seven years, the original Company of Heroes has stood as our highest-rated RTS of all time. As its successor marches toward a late June release, we're happy to be able to exclusively offer about a division's worth of Company of Heroes 2 beta keys to you all. Want one?
Demos, eh? A lovely feature, if you're prepared to wait a couple of months in the hope a developer will maybe cut out a chuck of game and post it online. Of course, barring multiplayer betas and the occasional generous indie, you're not going to get to trial a game's singleplayer mode before its release. What do you think this is, the '90s? Wait, is it the '90s? I ask because Company of Heroes 2 has just released its E3 demo to the public.
We had a sit down with Greg Wilson, producer of Company of Heroes Online. He's revealed some interesting new details about Relic's plan for taking their intense WWII strategy game online, and making it free to play for everyone.
One thing that's been missing from the previous, genre-baiting, Company of Heroes 2 trailers, is a sense of the game's ferocious, complex, strategic action. That's being corrected here, in the E3 multiplayer recap trailer. In amongst the continuous shelling, the flurry of bullets and the charging enemy, you get a sense of what it would be like to be the one in charge of this mayhem. Terrifying, mostly.
One of the best real time strategy games ever made is ridiculously cheap on Steam this weekend. Company of Heroes and both expansions are available individually or as part of the complete pack at 80% off. The original game is just £1.39 / $1.99. The complete pack, which includes Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valour, costs just £5.39 / $9.99. Company of Heroes has a superb single player campaign that features some of the best RTS missions in PC gaming. You start out with a single squad of men, fighting through enemy territory to secure reinforcements, and end up as a well drilled force builds bases, constructs tanks and takes entire towns. The asymmetrical Allied and Axis forces are almost perfectly balanced for competitive mutiplayer, and it's especially good in co-op against a force of hard AI.
Relic hope to drop fresh reinforcements into upcoming RTS Company of Heroes 2, battering the game's multiplayer servers into submission with a steady stream of recruits. And to ensure they don't run out of fresh-faced rookies, they're launching the game's open beta later today. Enlistees will get two weeks to try out a number of maps and modes, before being forced to surrender on June 18th.
Company of Heroes Online is approaching, bringing us frantic infantry skirmishes, devastating air raids, fast, explosive strategy and, most importantly of all, shopping. It's a free-to-play version of one of our favourite strategy games. I've infiltrated the Korean beta of the game and had a good trawl through the store. Read on for an overview of how it all works, and my pick of the most powerful items on offer.
Company of Heroes Online is shutting down on March 31, but that hasn't stopped the developers from releasing two new maps for the game. The four player skirmish map Road to Montherme and an eight player version of the classic Hill 331 maps were added to Company of Heroes Online on Friday. A beta patch for the original Company of Heroes is also available to test now on Steam.