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Review: Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies

Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies is a standalone multiplayer expansion built around dynamic and varied RTS game play. With new environments, 8 new maps, 2 new armies and a retooling of the core mechanics it offers a lot of content for a low price… providing you’re only interested in multiplayer, of course.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Company of Heroes is unique in that it relies more on timing and strategy than resource gathering and management. If you’d like to know more about this expansions predecessor you can read Andrew’s review here.

Whilst the seasonal maps and environmental effects certainly enhance the experience the real joy of Western Front Armies is in its two new armies; the U.S. Forces and the German Oberkommando West. Each army plays differently which, when coupled with new infantry, vehicles, weapons, abilities and upgrades, offers players two distinctly unique styles with which to take on their opponents.


First let’s look at the German Oberkommando. If your play style is more ‘slow and steady wins the race’ then this is, most likely, the team for you. Starting with just a single HQ and supply truck, you must build a network of heavily defended HQs whilst defending captured ground and unlocking new units. A heavy reliance on vehicles and firepower means the Germans are not able to capture points as quickly or retreat and rally like their U.S. counterparts. Their lack of speed and slow rebuild times are countered by their superior defensive capabilities and firepower though, making them a formidable force… once established.

The U.S. Forces favour a strategy that’s almost the exact opposite. With a focus on infantry and versatility they reward hit and run tactics over establishing static defence points. Each rounds starts with a fully constructed base however troop availability and load out is governed by individual units called officers. So, whilst you may be able to capture points quickly and easily in the early stages of a game, poor attention to officers and tech-tree progression mean you could be poorly equipped to defend in the latter half and lose your advantage.

Despite the significant differences between these two armies (and the original cast) matches felt very balanced. We won’t know for sure just how balanced it is until the game is released however one thing we can be certain of is that Relic will continue to give Company of Heroes the love and attention it deserves.


Despite The Western Front Armies being marketed as a multiplayer expansion, I was disappointed to find there was no single player campaign. Whilst I didn’t expect something the size of Company of Heroes 2 I was hoping for a couple of tutorial levels to introduce me to the new play styles. Sure you can play in games against bots but it’s not the same! Considering this expansion can be played standalone I’d imagine it could prove detrimental to the experience for new players.

Another great feature of the standalone install is that the multiplayer lobbies don’t segregate players based on their content. If you’ve just installed the expansion you can play against those with the original content and vice versa. This might not seem like a huge thing there’s nothing more frustrating than being given a “party is playing content you don’t own” screen when on a run of good skirmishes.

Relic further demonstrated their strategic prowess with the design of their 8 new maps. Each hosts the usual swathe of environmental elements but the layout of these new maps is truly amazing. Each capture point is surrounded by cover and access points require a unique tactical approach dependant on situation and your army. Moreover each map feels uniquely different from the others making for an experience that feels like more than a different algorithm with skin slapped on.


Priced at $13 AUD per army or $20 AUD for the dual pack this probably isn’t the ideal starting place for a newcomer. Despite its ability to be played as a standalone expansion I feel the lack of tuition would put most players off the unique style. You can pick up the full Company of Heroes 2 game for just $25 AUD in the current Steam sale so, for $5 more, you get more content and a single-player campaign. If, however, you already own Company of Heroes 2 and enjoy the multiplayer, The Western Front Armies is an absolute bargain.

Company of Heroes 2 offers a unique and balanced experience. A core component of this is how quickly a battle can turn and what options you have at your disposal to retaliate. The Western Front Armies is more than just an expansion and, I feel, realises what Company of Heroes is all about better than ever before. If you’re an RTS fan and have yet to play this game you should definitely give it a shot.




  • Well balanced
  • Unique Experience
  • Looks amazing

The bad

  • Poor tutorial
  • No single player

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About the author

Dave Haldane

There are two things I love in life... video games and my family. I work full time as an IT manager to provide for my wife, three kids and a heavy gaming habit. I own almost every console since the Atari 7800 and am proud of my extensive collection of games.

I'm more of a single or coop player but I do dabble in multiplayer on the odd occasion. If you want to have a game or just chat feel free to add me, PM me or email me.