Company of Heroes was a game which somehow managed to pass me by when it was first released, dismissed because I’m not usually a huge RTS fan and had just finished another run through of Call of Duty 2. As such, my eyes were getting a little tired of the green/brown palette (brown equals realism, you know) and my head was tired of the WWII theme.
In fact it wasn’t until this year that I actually picked the game up and got a chance to have a tinker with it as part of an article looking at the DirectX 10 update to the game.
When I did finally get a chance to play the thing, I was bowled over by the realistic way that the game introduced resource gathering and unit building to the WWII genre. And when I say realistic, I don’t just mean that it was brown.
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The problem was that by the time I’d joined bit-tech, Company of Heroes had been out for a little while – long enough that I couldn’t review it and get paid to play it in the office. Instead, I’d have to take it home and play it there, or at least I would if it wasn’t for the fact that my PC has been in pieces on the floor for the past few months.
Imagine my joy then when I got a chance to review the game’s expansion pack, Opposing Fronts. Just for clarification by the way, I’m telling you to imagine my joy because it saves me having to describe it, just like not writing another paragraph means I don’t have to waste time writing this introduction. I’m far too eager to play the game anyway, so let’s just get on with the review.
Batting for the other team
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts adds two new campaigns to the original game, one set with the British army and one set with the German forces.
Yep, a German campaign, which puts players in charge of the German Panzer Elite as they prepare to face of Operation Market Garden, which was the largest airborne attack ever launched. The addition of a German campaign is interesting and novel for a WWII game as the genre usually restricts itself to the viewpoint of American or British soldiers.
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The British campaign meanwhile lets players take over the British 2nd Army force, who are a pushing forward into France and trying to liberate the city of Caen as they go. Both campaigns are available from the very start of the game and players are free to choose between the British, German campaign via an option on the main menu.
The two campaigns play a little differently from each other however, with the British forces handling especially differently from the Americans of the original game if you are canny enough to spot the differences. We’ll look at each campaign separately then, starting with the British…