If you've been interested in trying out the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War series but have held off, now is the time to give it a go. Both Dawn of War and Dawn of War II, along with all its DLC, is currently free to play on Steam this weekend. Better yet, if you end up enjoying it you an save a massive 75% on everything available. Newcomers will find the best value in the Franchise Pack, which holds absolutely everything for £24.99, but those of you missing the odd bit of DLC will be able to make a saving as well.
In addition to the free weekend and massive sale for the RTS titles, Relic are giving away some brand new content for free to mark the occasion. You can find details for this, which includes a free map and items for characters, after the jump.Click here to read more...
I'm quite excited for Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault. I must admit that I'm more of an offline player than an online one, having had my backside handed to me on numerous occasions, but that's what this expansion is all about. Just like Western Front Armies, Ardennes Assault will be a standalone slice of strategic action, but one that eschews the linearity of COH 2's campaign for something a little more dynamic.
My preview for Ardennes Assault went live yesterday, and here's what I had to say about my time with the game in my closing paragraph:
The bottom line is that Ardennes Assault finally brings the feeling of grand strategy and broader tactical thinking to bear on a game that has been renowned for tactical gameplay on a smaller, more individual scale. Company of Heroes has long been a series that is all about making the best with what you have, realising the importance of different individual units and the ways in which they can complement one another. Now, added to that formula, there's more of an opportunity to be a true armchair general, as well as a major on the field. It looks like it truly present the best of both worlds, and that's very exciting indeed.
As well as going hands-on with the game, I also had the opportunity to sit down with campaign designer, Mitch Lagran, to have a chat about the changes that Relic have made and the ambitions that the studio has going forwards.Check out the interview after the jump >>
It's always a good sign when a preview event starts wrapping up and the first thing you think is 'Nooooo, please let me take this game with me'. It was nice to place the latest standalone expansion pack for Company of Heroes 2 in context, with our gaggle of assembled European writers given a tour of the Bastogne barracks -- the operational heart of the Allied war effort during the Battle of the Bulge -- before checking out the game inspired by that bloody piece of history.
Inspired is certainly the word, as Relic have used the events of the battle to bookend this particular experience. Essentially, Ardennes Assault gives players the freedom to plan out their own military machinations in the region by way of a 'meta map'. If The Western Front Armies provided a multiplayer introduction to this newly explored theatre of war and the factions involved, the Ardennes Assault pack is the singleplayer counterpoint -- an expansion that zooms in on three individual companies and their commanding officers, struggling to take control of a region filled with constantly shifting German divisions. The idea is clear -- to present a relatively open ended canvas, framed by history, upon which we armchair generals might paint our personal tactical masterpieces.
Our two-hour session with the game consisted of playing the same mission multiple times. Set not far from Bastogne in the town of Houffalize, the skirmish in which we were involved saw us trying to join up with an allied column to the north, cutting through German-controlled territory, overrunning the enemy's artillery stations, and co-opting the massive guns for our own purposes. By focussing in on this single mission (there will be 18 in total we're told -- seven rather broad encounters and eleven more scripted scenarios) several times over, we were able to see how the different companies performed, and how the map changed depending upon what stage of the campaign we were at when we took the plunge.Click here to read more...
Relic have listened to their fanbase. It's taken a year, but the Public Games List option is now absolutely A Thing you can have in Company of Heroes 2 thanks to the arrival of a standalone expansion pack that sees the focus of the war move from the Siberian wastes and the Eastern Front across to a whole bunch of battlefields in and around Belgium. Finally, finally there's a server list to make configuring online multiplayer matches that much easier. It's about damn time.
In many ways, The Western Front Armies feels like an old-school expansion rather than the DLC drops we tend to see these days. Though there's nothing new per se for singleplayer strategy fans to get stuck into in terms of campaign missions, but TWFA's release heralds the arrival of two new factions: the US Allied forces and the Oberkommando West Axis army for a bunch of skirmish shenanigans, and online battles. Company of Heroes has always been a series where the offline components are really just the means by which you get to grips with the depth of tactical systems before taking your strategic brain online and pitting your abilities against other armchair generals across the globe.
The Western Front Armies doesn't require the base game so if you want to jump straight in at the deep end, you absolutely can, but here's how it works:
You're essentially purchasing the use of the new factions, along with the usual COH2 multiplayer modes, and the various tweaks and improvements that Relic have made over the last twelve months. You can buy the use of the US or Oberkommando West forces individually for around a tenner, or pay five quid more to bag them both. That needs you all of teh COH2 multiplayer goodness you could want (Theatre of War content aside), along with AI skirmish options for your purchased factions if you fancy a little bit of offline practice. You won't be able to play as the Soviet or Wehrmacht forces if you don't own the base game, but you will be able to play against COH2 veterans who haven't upgraded, so the player pool is kept nice and large. Better yet, there's no real map restriction. As well as the eight new maps included with TWFA, you'll be able to play on any of the original COH2 maps as long as one of the players in your match has the base game.
But you can buy the complete base game for less than the price of one multiplayer faction in TWFA, so what's new?Click here to read more...
Last week, I sat down with game director Quinn Duffy to have a chat about Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies, some of the new units and features that are being brought to COH 2, and what Relic's plans are for the series going forwards.
Stay tuned for the full preview for Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies going live next week.
Relic Entertainment recently revealed Company Of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies, a new standalone expansion designed as an entry point for newcomers and a massive update for existing fans. We were lucky enough to conduct an extensive video interview with Relic Entertainment producer Greg Wilson and director Quinn Duffy... but excited as we are about Company of Heroes, many of us are still itching to play another Dawn Of War RTS set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
So I just couldn't resist ambushing them on the subject!Click here to read more...
Company Of Heroes 2 has received some new content on Steam today, including a singleplayer DLC pack and two free multiplayer maps.Click here to read more...
Developer: Relic Entertainment
It was always going to be something of a tall order for Company of Heroes 2 to reproduce the genre-redefining impact of its predecessor. It's been seven years since Relic rocked the RTS world by giving gamers an experience that abandoned the base building, perennial resource-gathering that had become de rigeur, and serving up taxing, tactical gameplay that forced you to make the most of what you had.
Given that Company of Heroes still enjoys a healthy multiplayer community, it's important to note that its sequel isn't quite the revolutionary step up that one might expect from time gap that's almost contained an entire console generation. But place the two games side-by-side and the differences become readily apparent.
Ratcheted up to its highest settings, Company of Heroes 2 unfolds like a cinematic masterpiece. The animations are fantastically wrought, the physics engine underpinning everything proving exceptional both in form and function. Tanks shake slightly with recoil from their turrets when they fire; pinned down by shells, fresh infantry will cower and scatter even as their veteran squadmates move decisively and regroup; mortar squads and heavy gunner teams move methodically to set up their ordinance. Buildings crumble, wooden huts shedding splinters and smoke from artillery barrages, explosions sending earth and shrapnel flying as burned men claw at the ground, staggering and writhing in the throes of death.Click here to read more...
Relic-developed RTS Company Of Heroes 2 is entering open beta this afternoon, running until June 18th. If you participate, you'll get to keep all your unlocks and progress so long as you buy the full game within sixty days of launch and register it to the same Steam account.
Pre-order customers should be able to get on the beta, though new sign-ups may be able to get involved later today on the official site once it's updated. Worth checking back. Matt shares some more gameplay details in our Company Of Heroes 2 hands-on preview, ahead of the June 25th launch.
A new cinematic trailer for Company Of Heroes 2 shows off some of the story cutscenes that intersperse the strategic gameplay. The Relic Entertainment-developed RTS will release on June 25th courtesy of new publisher SEGA.
Matt shares some more gameplay details in our Company Of Heroes 2 hands-on preview.
Developers: Relic Entertainment
The snow is littered with debris, and the smouldering husk of a German tank is all that remains of the penultimate armoured column on my hitlist. Six are down, only one remains. My veteran anti-tank commandos have done their jobs well, vanquishing their trundling, turreted adversaries with rifles and the occasional river. The fourth and fifth to fall were condemned to an icy grave after weakening a frozen river's surface and feigning a retreat. Now, however, the engineers who built fires to keep us safe from the cold are all face down in the dirt, and all I can do is watch my grizzled team slowly succumb to the freezing clutches of General Winter.
Just as my last triple-starred officer broaches line of sight on the final tank, he topples into the deep Siberian snow and snuffs it. The game's designer Jason Lee simply laughs at me. "To be honest," he says, "I didn't manage that one the first time around. But you came really close!" I can't tell if he's just being nice or not.
It's been a while since I've played Company of Heroes and, in that time, I've revisited my love for other RTS games such as Supreme Commander and Command & Conquer, not to mention real-time tactical gems such as Commandos. I always found that Company of Heroes managed to fulfil both sides of the coin rather well, providing a stage set for large-map strategy and resource balancing, alongside detailed micromanagement and a tactical challenge that few RTS titles could hope to stand up to.
So it is, having spent much of the last fortnight getting to grips with the multiplayer beta for Company of Heroes 2 and the upcoming game's Theatre of War mode, that I've found myself dying a lot. Half a decade of playing lesser strategy titles has only served to dull the mind and stiffen the fingers.Click here to read more...
SEGA have unveiled an all-new mode for Company of Heroes 2 called 'Theatre of War' that will see players taking on a wealth of skirmish-specific solo and co-op challenges, playing across a number of battlefields and location across 1941's Eastern Front.
Players can opt to choose to be either the Soviets or the Germans, with each faction serving up nine missions from which to choose: three solo challenge missions set in extreme conditions, three skirmishes against an AI with a distinct play style, and three co-op scenarios so you can take the field with a chum.
“We get a lot of requests from fans to showcase specific conflicts from the war and it isn’t always possible to fit these into the campaign," said producer Greg Wilson. "Theatre of War gives us the opportunity to deliver these new gameplay experiences to our fans.”
We'll have a hands-on preview from our time with the multiplayer beta and Theatre of War very soon.
The few remaining scraps of THQ's licences and properties were auctioned off last week, and the highest bidders are starting to come out of the woodwork.
So let's start with the most surprising of the lot. Homeworld, the beloved spacebound RTS, has been picked up by none other than Gearbox Software.Click here to read more...
SEGA sent us so many new Company Of Heroes 2 screenshots that they frankly deserve a post of their own. The World War II RTS has been delayed into June, but an multiplayer beta will be rolling out in the near future. Until then, here are numerous screenshots of snowy hell, brought to life by the bespoke ColdTech weather system.Click here to read more...
SEGA, the new custodian of Relic Entertainment and the Company Of Heroes franchise, has wasted no time in dating the RTS sequel for June 25th (worldwide). It's a slight delay, but the extra time will apparently be used to polish and balance the multiplayer, with Relic speaking out to praise their new publisher.Click here to read more...