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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.
Team Fortress 2 is now free, so everyone with a Steam account owns it. If you haven’t played before, it can be an intimidating, hat-riddled game. Previously we gave you a handle on the basics, items and classes, now we're going in depth on each class. We've covered the Heavy, Medic, Sniper and Scout. Today's lesson is in the most versatile class in the game: The Soldier.
Severe hypothermia sets in when the body’s core temperature drops below 28 °C. Human blood freezes solid at -0.5 °C. Soviet and German forces fighting on the Eastern Front faced temperatures that fluctuated between -10 and -30 °C. Over the years, the Russian cold season has taken the lives of so many would-be invaders that it has earned the nickname ‘General Winter’. The truth, however, is that it is an indiscriminate killer.
Company of Heroes 2's wintry setting isn't just there to look pretty. If you're not careful it'll freeze your soldiers to death. Relic's new Essence Engine introduces ColdTech, which simulates the effects of -40 degree environments on your soldiers, turning grim reality into a game mechanic, as Relic explain: "On winter maps, Infantry units exposed to the bitter cold will gradually freeze to death unless the player keeps them warm by building fires and garrisoning them in buildings. Dynamic blizzards will increase the effects of extreme cold making it even more hazardous to leave infantry in the open."
Company of Heroes 2's marching orders bumped its original January 2013 release to March, but the latest trailer for the WWII RTS reveals an Eastern Front very much active with tank slug-outs, a sniper's playground of ruined villages, and a militarized take on fending off winter's chill with a playful flamethrower tickle. As always, Relic's proprietary Essence 3 engine surges with power through impressive destruction effects and its characteristically insane level of detail at close angles. And if you've missed out on the original Company of Heroes' withering warfare, you can plunk down $1 over at the Humble Bundle for the full game and its expansions.
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.
You’ve sat and thought – haven’t you? – about what you’d do if you could go invisible at will. Thanks to Crysis 2, I know what I’d do. I’d hide behind a crate, pick up a trolley and throw it a few feet in front of me. It’d make a horrible clanging noise. Then I’d go invisible and stand, looking at it, waiting until a soldier came to investigate the sound. When he did, I’d grab him by the throat. Then, as his friends wondered why their colleague’s feet were dangling a few inches off the ground, I’d hurl him into a ravine, breaking his armoured bones like twigs. When I do that, it makes me feel big and clever. Especially when, as the snapped man’s friends immediately draw a bead on my form, which has rippled back into visibility with the exertion of lobbing their chum off a cliff – I duck behind the same crate. “Hah!”, I say, out loud to the PC, “you idiots.” Then I go invisible again, pop out from the other side of the crate, drop back into the spectrum of light visible to human eyes, and shoot them in their backs.
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.
This review was originally published in PC Gamer 241 Sniper Elite V2 puts you so far behind enemy lines that during its entire campaign you’ll meet precisely one person who doesn’t want you dead. Two nations are out to get you. The Germans aren’t happy because... well, because it’s Berlin in 1945. They don’t have much to be happy about. The Russians, meanwhile, are trying to capture the German scientists behind the V2 rocket. Your mission, as a American sniper, is to ensure a bullet greets those scientists before the Reds do.
Team Fortress 2 is now free, so everyone with a Steam account owns it. If you haven’t played before, it can be an intimidating, hat-riddled game. Previously we gave you a handle on the basics, items and classes, now we're going in depth on each class. Previously we talked about the Heavy. Today the spotlight in on the Medic; a German Doctor of dubious medical ethics, and purveyor of the feared 'ubercharge'.
Geralt of Rivia will not, perhaps, be remembered as one of the world’s great lovers. Not after those antics in the first game, where his sexual conquests were essentially reduced to a Panini sticker-book collection. You can imagine him sitting in the tavern with it, bragging to the dwarves. “Had her! Yep, and her. And... hang on, how did Glen Hoddle get in there?” Precisely how sex will be dealt with in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is still unclear. My recent trip to CD Projekt Red’s Warsaw studios to see the game did briefly touch on the subject, however. More of that in a moment, but I was assured that “sex and eroticism will be introduced in a much more realistic, involving, and mature way.” The abolition of conquest-cards would be a pretty good start. What we do know is that The Witcher 2 is an RPG. And for any developer, particularly one working on such a dialogue-heavy genre, getting the script right is paramount. Yet however beautifully written, that script is only as convincing as its delivery.
As part of our ongoing celebration of all things StarCraft, we're hosting a Starcraft smörgåsbord, with a different theme for each of the days leading up to and the week following SC2's release. This article is a part of the "Everything We Know About StarCraft Day", the first of the bunch, and is an online release of our exclusive announcement of the game's existence way back in our August 2007 issue.
Red Orchestra 2 is the best murder simulator I’ve ever played. It’s not the best first-person shooter or multiplayer game, or even the best team-based multiplayer game. It’s certainly not the best World War II game, and its singleplayer is the worst I’ve played in years. But in the killing, and in the being killed, Red Orchestra 2 is a terrifying and satisfying experience.
Team Fortress 2 is now free, so everyone with a Steam account owns it. If you haven't played before, it can be an intimidating, hat-riddled game. So we're hastily putting together a guide for absolute beginners. Yesterday we talked about how to get weapons and hats, and on Friday we took you through which classes to start with and how all the modes work. Today we'll go through the basics of all the nine classes, and how to find out more about their weirder variations.
“The whole era is really cool”. Bjorn Johnsson is talking about Vietnam. I'm thinking I don't agree – it was an era of misguided politics and death on an international scale – but then I look up and catch a glimpse of one of Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam's character models. He's an American Engineer, he's wearing a camo green t shirt, and has a playing card in the brim of his helmet. Yeah, this whole era is really cool.
"We were talking a moment ago about a historical character who, in a battle, inspired his men to great feats of bravery by cutting his own head off during the charge,” says Mike Simpson, Creative Assembly’s creative director. “Now, this is obviously a one shot special ability.” Total War is going back to the beginning. Before there was Napoleon, or an Empire, or a Rome to fall, there was Shogun: Total War. Released in 2000, it wed battlefield tactics and campaign strategy, enabled us to conquer feudal Japan, and turned its developers from creators of EA Sports titles to leaders of strategy gaming. This is a return to where it all started.
Before StarCraft came along, we all played Supreme Commander 2 at lunch. It's a great game with a dedicated development team who are committed to firing out updates and improvements months after release, even as their company at large is working on a new title. I returned to it yesterday after the recent patch, and I got to thinking – StarCraft 2 and Supreme Commander 2 are hugely entertaining RTS experiences with wildly different approaches to the genre. As you know, I hate diversity almost as much as I hate joy, so I started compiling a list of things that each game could learn from the other. Here are five things I reckon StarCraft 2 could learn from Supreme Commander 2. Update: Servo at Gas Powered Games offered some insights into how feasible these would be. Here's what he said:
Choice is a wonderful thing. Coke or Pepsi, Ant or Dec, terrorist or counter-terrorist (er, in Counter-Strike, obviously). So we’re chuffed to see Square Enix’s latest free-to-play shooter offering the choice to fight WW2 as either a Hero, or – and this may surprise you - a General. It’s in closed Beta for now, but we’re giving away 1000 keys to give you a taste before the public Beta arrives. What’s the game all about? Well, the hero part is pretty self-explanatory. You’re on the ground as either an allied or axis soldier, fighting battles for the pen-pushers back in Berlin / London / Washington. As a General, you are the pen-pusher; managing troops and vehicles in a bloody RTS war for Europe.
Total War: Rome 2 soldiers are made up of between 6000 and 7000 polygons lead designer, James Russell, explained recently at the Eurogamer Expo. Artillery projectiles in Rome 2 are made up of more polygons then a Rome 1 soldier has. If you put enough polygons into these characters and layer on enough AI subroutines then there's always a danger that one of your chaps can become sentient and kick his way out of the matrix. Luckily for humanity this soldier is having his existential crisis in front of a team of rampaging war elephants, one of the top five worst situations in which to have an existential crisis. See his predicament in more detail in the screenshots below.