Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies puts players back on the Western side of the war in an all new standalone expansion for the game. The game includes two returning factions to the game, the agile Americans and the German Oberkommando West army.
If you already own Company of Heroes 2 (CoH 2), then don’t despair, as you are able to buy the expansion through your game, which will unlock both races to play. If you have never played CoH 2, the game is available for $19.99 (R220) as a standalone client.
The only niggle I have with this is the fact that the games don’t pick each other up if they are in your Steam and you bought them separately. Having already owned Company of Heroes 2 and received the standalone client as a review copy, I cannot get my original Company of Heroes 2 to pick up the fact I have the expansion as well, which is a bit of an annoyance considering I now have almost two full versions of the game on my computer.
As for the game itself, quite a bit has been changed since CoH 2 which was released last year. The original progression system has been sacked in favour of a new one, and if you had the original before the change, all that content is immediately unlocked for you.
The new progression system has you unlock different commanders, camouflage for your vehicles and other goodies just by playing the multiplayer portion of the game against bots or other people, so the more you play, the more stuff you get.
You can now also find custom matches against other players a lot easier than before, as you can filter by game mode, map choice and other various options to ensure that you get to play the game that you want to play.
This makes life just much easier when looking for a game, and in no time flat will find yourself battling up against opponents.
The two new factions in The Western Front Armies both have their own unique play style, but fall not too far from the tree when compared to the original races introduced in CoH 2, the Russians and the Germans from the eastern front of the war.
The America’s are much like the Russians in that they are extremely infantry focused as a faction, and use their superior supply points, size and movement to get the critical points needed to continue reinforcement.
The starting base is everything you need for the entire game, and it is up to the units you build to unlock further upgrades, such as the Sherman tank. To get to different vehicles you will need to build higher ranked units in order to get those unlocks.
America is nimble, agile and, although not as powerful as the late game of the German armies, is still a forced to be reckoned with, and can be devastating if played correctly.
The German Oberkommando West represents Germany towards the end of the war, that was beginning to be starved of resources and supply, and relied on bigger, heavier machinery to do the work for them. There are only a few different types of infantry up for grabs as the Germans, but the main power of their army comes from their fierce armoured weaponry.
The German’s have huge tanks that they can purchase if they have enough supply, and although slow moving and not that agile, do an incredible amount of damage if they actually get their shot on target.
The German base also works different to the Americans. The Germans start out with a supply truck, which can be barricaded and upgraded into the different buildings you require. These supply trucks can be built on any territory you own and can be packed up and moved to a different location as necessary.
This is an entirely different ball game compared to the Americans, because if you move your base with you as you advance, you can quickly shut off areas of the map to the opposing player, as you forcefully move your territory further and further towards his base.
It also makes for easier retreats, as oft times you end up running to your resupply truck that is not too far away, and can quickly re-engage in battle with a fully replenished force.
The two different factions are both equally fun to play in their own right, and capture some of the spirit of the original Company of Heroes, which is what the community has been longing for, for quite some time.
The full orchestral soundtrack invokes the feelings of war, and is a perfect accompaniment to the historical based warfare happening around you, and is perfect for the setting of the game. Another little addition I really enjoyed was the murmuring of your units while playing and not doing anything in the game. From idle banter to screams of warning, the unit speech goes a long way in letting you know what is happening in the game.
There is no single player campaign, so the $19.99 (R220) will only unlock the multiplayer portion of the game. The Western Front Armies does include eight new maps however, and you will also have access to the 32 original maps from Company of Heroes 2, so there are plenty of diverse environments to keep you entertained throughout your adventures.
I would recommend CoH 2: The Western Front Armies for anyone that is a fan of the franchise or for someone that is not interested in single player games, as this expansion was made purely for multiplayer action.