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Review: Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault

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Real-time strategy is my favourite genre. Between Total War, Starcraft and a tonne of shitty RTS games that I played during my childhood, teens, and now my ‘adult’ years, I’ve accrued a wealth of knowledge that has translated to absolutely no improvement in my ability to play any of these games.

In short, I suck. I suck bad. And I probably suck the most at Company of Heroes.

But that’s probably why I love it so much. It’s challenging. I can’t do this and play something on my phone, or get distracted by mosquitos, or answer my mother’s/girlfriend’s/neighbour whose on fire’s calls. Germans are good at two things: efficiency. See? They’re so good at efficiency they managed to combine the two things they’re good at into that one attribute.

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Anyway, I recently saw a post on some internet hole asking where all the good WWII games went – and it’s right here. CoH. Pre-massacre rifles, pre-GPS, pre-actual widespread understanding of political and social forces at work that help us understand why we go to war – it’s here. RTS don’t really need to rely on a good storyline, or great voice-acting. You can scrape by with a shitty plot stuck to a post it note and sent to the relevant PR company with a memo reading ‘It’s about this?’ attached to it, and if the gameplay is good, you’ll be fine.

I honestly can’t remember what these elements were like in CoH2, but they’re goddamn good in Assaulting Adrienne. Ardine Assault? Arduous Asparagus. Hearing the word ‘Kraut’ in a genuine grumbly American accent goes a long way for immersion (for Aussies, anyway, no idea how you Yanks feel about it), and it actually gets me into the mindset of the time a little. That, along with missions that seem to actually try to have a semblance of relevance to what would actually have to be undertaken in this period of history demanded my attention. My attention is as valuable as a North Sydney-siders toy dog, which is why I keep it in a bag and only let it out when necessary.

Company Heroes Inc. Asgardian Acrobats forces me to open that bag.

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As a massive fan of Total War, I have nothing but appreciation for the ‘world map’. It’s simple, reminding me of those blessed days with Total War: Shogun. I wish it had been a little more complex, though, showing supply lines, or a visual representation of what areas were being pushed and so forth…but baby steps. Baby steps lead to adult steps, and sometimes those adult steps are taken by Hitler. So they’re a mixed bag to say the least.

Moving around and shooting Ze Germans gains your companies veterancy, adding a personal touch to the proceedings. I say touch, because it’s not like you’re naming the companies or getting to knowing the men, their stories, and what screenplays they’ll be working on when they go home – instead, you’ll be making them better in combat. While the ‘purist’ part of me thinks that games should up the ante without giving you too much to deal with it, in such an intense RTS, it can really round out your game and really just makes it more enjoyable.

CougH2: Aggravated Arguing is standalone — at forty bucks, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a solid, challenging game that is definitely worth a poke if you like RTS.

Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault was reviewed using a promotional copy of the game on Windows PC, as provided by the publisher.

 

Review: Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault

The good

  • (Pretty much) historically accurate.
  • Immersive.
  • Challenging.

The bad

  • For the amount of content on offer, it’s a bit too pricey.

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