Multiplayer lag is the primary enemy of Company of Heroes 2's new Aftermath update. Launched yesterday, the RTS's new features boast an improved server system that should bring a better, more stable experience to the online battlefield, according to developer Relic Entertainment. Aftermath also includes new combat balancing, a community-made map, and a more efficient surrender mechanic.
This weekend, you've the chance to sample two entirely separate threads on the PC gaming quilt. There's the gruelling, harsh, harrowing struggle of war in Company of Heroes 2; or the super-powerful, super-power-ballad-full, comedy hijinks of Saints Row IV. Fun and frolics or fear and frostbite? Either way, both games are free to trial until Sunday, and are accompanied by discounts that will last until Monday.
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.
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.
"Look folks," the latest Company of Heroes 2 trailer may well be saying, "we really love tanks." "Sure," it continues, "our game does have units that aren't tanks, but they're just there to make it even more special when you do finally see a tank." Basically, if you're a huge fan of planes, there are really only a few seconds here designed to appeal to you.
While the last trailer was a sombre exploration of the psychological and physical toll of the Eastern Front, Company of Heroes 2's latest video preview is a more celebratory look at the variety and flexibility of the World War 2 strategy. It's cocky, too. Confidently rolling its tanks over that other genre's battlefield; big block letters proudly instructing you to take command "before you try the next big FPS".
After nearly seven years of being bombed and battered, Company of Heroes' online infrastructure is in need of a break. Servers located at the game's old hosting company - the now Ubisoft-owned Quazal - are due to be shut down on May 7th. Is this the end of the war? Not quite. Replacement Steamworks servers have already been parachuted in, giving fans the chance to migrate over before the original host's honourable discharge.
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?
After the controlled implosion of THQ, you may have been wondering what would happen to the original Company of Heroes, now that Relic and COH2 have been safely gobbled up by Sega, and its chilli-dog scoffing CEO Mr Hedgehog. The imminent shutdown of Quazal, who handled the game's online, hardly helped matters - but thankfully, Relic have come to a solution. Rather than leaving their six-year-old game to die, they're thoughtfully transferring the original Company of Heroes to Steamworks - you'll be able to 'opt-in' to the new service from April 8th.
Company of Heroes 2 was due to come out around about now, but then THQ folded and developers, Relic, were auctioned off to Sega. This has pushed back the World War 2 RTS by a few months. It'll now arrive on JUNE 25, long before Russian winter sets in.
“We hate to disappoint our fans with a later than expected date as we know they are eager to play but we feel that the additional time will help the team deliver the high quality sequel fans deserve” - thus spake producer Greg Williams into the press release robot's listening hole.
Farewell then, THQ. Yesterday saw the publisher’s final assets sold off to a variety of buyers, and while many good people (and franchises) managed to find a new home, our thoughts and well-wishes are with those that didn’t. As we’re in a reflective mood, we thought it only appropriate to commemorate the loss of this fine company with a look back at ten of the best games it’s delighted us with over the years.
We're heading towards the conclusion of THQ's ongoing bankruptcy saga. After the publisher's creditors raised objections over its hoped-for quick sale - objections which were upheld by a US judge - details are emerging about how that sale will eventually go down.
I'd be worried if Company of Heroes suddenly became all about actions per minute, but it's nice to be reassured. director of Company of Heroes, Quinn Duffy, tells Joystiq that "It's not an APM (actions-per-minute) game. To play Company of Heroes 2 you need to play smart and be aggressive in your decision making.
"We want smart players to be able to maximize the value of their units. A guy playing smart with his defenses and his cover and his movement, you want him to beat up on a guy with three squads."
Of the 20 waves of enemies that make up Dawn of War 2: Retribution’s Last Stand mode, wave 16 is the most important. In every other wave your team of three heroes face overwhelming odds. In wave 16 there are only three enemies, but they’re the most powerful opponents you could ever face. Exact clones of you.
The massive, ambitious Homeworld 2 mod, Complex, has been updated again. If you're not familiar with Complex and fancy a proper challenge then it's certainly worth a download. Complex is built on the idea that waging war with a bunch of space boats would be a tremendous logistical challenge. There are crew members and officers to consider. Are they experienced? Are they happy? Have you fed your captains their pre-battle jam donuts? Is the cockpit radio tuned to Classic FM? These are the worries of an admiral.
We don't want to bury you in posts. For one thing, it would hurt - they have really sharp edges. But also, if we posted every PC gaming announcement made in a day, the most interesting stories would be crowded out. So here's our solution: a daily list of the news we didn't post. (If you've been reading the site for a while, it should look familiar.) Grab a strip of today's HTML ticker tape inside...
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."
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.
As the great philosopher Alfred From Batman once said, "some men just want to watch the world burn," it may not have been entirely clear from that scene, but he was referring to engineers from Company of Heroes, some of the most devastating flame troops in gaming. They start out as humble builders. They set up defences, they repair tanks, they sort out all the odd jobs that your highly trained troops won't do. Then, when you have enough fuel, you give them all flamethrowers and transform them into shock troops.
Then the mildest unit in the game suddenly becomes a deadly force, the bane of any entrenched infantry unit caught unawares. It looks like they'll be making a return in Company of Heroes 2. See the results of their handiwork, and a big ol' tank column in these new screenshots from E3.
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.