Over here on the press side, even seasoned Company of Heroes veterans are getting chewed up and spat out by the winter tilesets. The number of x-factors involved with the snow raises the degree of difficulty considerably; and with summer maps also available, it's easy to say "Screw that" and go with a somewhat more traditional approach. Competitive players, so sensitive about those random elements, will undoubtedly do just that. Luckily though, even without one of Company of Heroes 2's signature features, the multiplayer still feels fresh and exciting after all these years. Apart from the snow maps, Relic is bringing a raft of features to the table, including personal profiles with ribbons and medals that can be earned through multiplayer achievements. Relic has also retooled the command ability trees, and the result is both easy-to-understand and strategically significant. Essentially, either the Germans or Russians can bring three commanders and their unique set of abilities with them to any given battle. One commander can power up infantry, for example, and bring powerful artillery barrages to bear while a Stuka JU-87 patrols overhead. Another commander is much more defensive in nature, allowing players to dig in and play defense with the help of special emplacements and the ability to call in relief infantry. You can choose from one of these commanders at any point in the battle once they've charged up; but once you've committed to one commander, you're stuck with them. For that reason, it's usually good to see how the battle is going before calling in a commander. If you're losing, one well-placed super tank might turn the tide of battle. If you're winning, then defense is called for. Calling in the right commander at the right time can be one of those most critical decisions of a game. BOOM video 14296 Beyond that, Company of Heroes 2 is mostly notable for the Soviets, who stand in stark contrast to the more technologically capable Germans. The Soviets, true to form, are able to get to light tanks and other weapons much faster than their Nazi counterparts, and their soldiers are much easier to train, though they lack raw power in a stand-up fight. Being able to get to vehicles faster also makes the Russians more capable in the snow early on, which will doubtlessly make them the faction of choice for those who are keen to dispense with building fires and just want to roll over the opposition. Of course, that's assuming that people don't go out of their way to avoid winter maps (don't put it past people to simply quit if they see a hint of snow). Knowing the gaming population at large, many are apt to do just that. In the end, dealing with snow isn't really that hard once you've adapted to it; but a lot of people are unlikely to see it that way after watching their infantry freeze to death. Summer maps will be Company of Heroes 2's equivalent of "Final Destination." It's kind of a shame, really, because of all seasons, winter is the one most apt to have a major effect on people's strategies. As in real life, they will have to think twice before charging out into the snow; and though it slows the pace of the already reserved Company of Heroes even further, it fits in rather well with the game's "war is hell" approach to defensive combat. If any game can do winter right, it's Company of Heroes 2. It's just too bad that few people are apt to notice.
Freezing to death is a real factor for soldiers in the game