Hailed as one of the best strategy game of 2006 by IGN and PC Gamer Company of Heroes is a fast paced challenging strategy game that pushes the limits and skills of any strategy game player. Based in one of the most tumultuous and destructive wars that have ever occurred in human history it provides a level of game play that is hard to match. With two of the major powers of war locked head to head you can either play as the Allies/Americans or the Axis/Germans and duke it out on a variety of terrains both urban and rural.
The best way to play this game is to start with the single player campaign it will take you through all the different aspects of the game from navigation to unit creation and control. The campaign starts with D-Day and the landing on the Normandy Beaches with you trying to move units of infantry up the beaches using cover and suppression fire on the enemy machine gun nests. As you move through the campaign you use the different Allied units from the most basic infantry squad to the powerful Pershing tank.
The world of Company of Heroes is a rich and detailed one. The trees have leaves that can be knocked off by explosions. Dirt will fly when you fire artillery into the enemy positions or you will watch your own men be scattered to the wind by enemy tanks and machine gun wielding infantry. Bridges can be destroyed by intense artillery fire or carefully place explosives and your tanks can crush stone walls and building like they were not even there. During gameplay you can find ground that received intense artillery fire turn molten red from the explosions that have hit it. If you look close enough using the zoom feature you can sometime seen the severed limbs of enemy troops got in the barrage. While not going so far as to be grotesque the gore effects do add a sense of accuracy and realism to the game
The game play in Company of Heroes is by far some of the most realistic and fun strategy game play that you will find. The ability to use cover for your troops either by using natural cover like trees, rocks and stone walls or by having your special eengineering units create sandbag walls to protect your men is a nice change up from traditional whoever has more units win. Correctly deploying a smaller number of men in a defensive position can tie up a larger body of enemies. Units can be upgraded to make them more useful in dealing with infantry and armor or sometimes both as in the case of the US Army Rangers and the German Grenadiers. The game does offer many maps where you can simply clash head to head and forgo any fancy tactics and sometimes this is the most fun you can have. When the computer is set on a high enough difficulty they will flank you eventually except on maps with a river separating the two combatants.
Company of Heroes also has the benefit of the multiplayer and skirmish modes that you can play after completing the campaign. You can play as either Axis or Allies and using six different company or doctrine types. As the Allies you can play as the Infantry, Airborne or Armor Companies each has there own strengths and weaknesses and special abilities to fit any style of play. For the Axis you can play as the Defensive, Blitzkrieg or Terror doctrines each that have there own special abilities and weapons like in infamous German Tiger tank and the V-1 Rocket. The multiplayer and skirmish mode are what really makes the game a good one. The replay value they offer is amazing with the rounds turning out different every time you play them.
Overall Company of Heroes is a solid game that deserves a play by any strategy game enthusiast or WW2 game fan. If you wish to purchase it, it can be found quite cheap online at places like Amazon.
Some news to be aware of is the release of the long awaited sequel to this game Company of Heroes 2 which features the Russian front. This new game should feature some exciting game play and new environmental factors like line of sight being blocked by buildings and the deadly cold of the Russian front slowing freezing your men and war machines. If the second is anything like the first it promises to be a excellent addition to the Company of Heroes game franchise