Company of Heroes 2 is Relic Entertainment's sequel to its acclaimed real-time strategy game Company of Heroes. It will in many ways be a direct sequel, with not many changes to the core gameplay. It is powered by the Essence 3.0 Engine which allows for more details and environmental destruction. Unlike the first game, Company of Heroes 2's campaign spans several years of World War II, from 1941 (when Russia and the USA entered the war) to 1945. The main campaign will be set on the Eastern Front where the player will take control of the Red Army, with a heavy emphasis on Order 227: "Not a step back".
The game was said to be out in "early 2013" before planned publisher THQ went bankrupt. A promo image for the game contained a message in Russian saying "the briefing begins May 7th", suggesting a release on that day. However, some months after Relic's acquisition by Sega, the launch was moved to June 25. An open multiplayer beta came to Steam on June 4, followed by a campaign demo on June 14.
The fundamental gameplay of Company of Heroes 2 will remain largely unchanged from the first game, although many features and improvements will be added.
Players will take command of squads of soldiers in an attempt to drive out or destroy the enemy. The game will feature a large variety of units including infantry, snipers, mechanized infantry, armored fighting vehicles like tanks, aircraft (through special abilities) etc. A new addition to the game is the commander system. The player will gain control over a special unit known as a commander. The commander can progress through veteran levels where he will unlock new abilities.
Due to the time span of the game, players will see major differences in technological level of the soviet army through out the campaign. Players will eventually get to experience the destructive power of the feared T-34, the SU-76 self-propelled gun as well as the recognizable Katyusha rocket launcher.
Resources like manpower, fuel and ammunition all make a reappearance in Company of Heroes 2. Manpower, much like in the previous game, is gained by capturing sectors through out the map. Fuel and ammunition however is now gained by building depots with engineer squads. Should these depots be built behind enemy lines the player will gain a larger amount of fuel and ammo, the surplus being stolen from the enemy. Depots can be built anywhere on the map.
The extremely harsh winter climate of Russia will have a very important effect on gameplay. Soldiers moving through deep snow will become encumbered and travel at much slower speeds than they normally would. Should soldiers spend too much time in very cold locations they can simply fall and die from ill effects like hypothermia or frostbite. Troops will have a cold weather thermometer that tells the player how cold the unit in question is. Once units becomes cold the player should get the units to cover. Engineers can start a bonfire that can warm troops. The cold weather will also have a graphical effect on units, units will stamp their feet and blow at their hands to combat the cold.
Company of Heroes features traditional units in the game and also an upgrade path based upon the player's selected commander. A new addition is the commander unit, a special unit that can gain powerful abilities like IL2 Sturmovik airstrike, artillery barrage and a Katyusha strike among others. Russian rifle squads will be made up of 6 soldiers, and an engineer squad will consist of 3. Snipers will operate in two. Infantry units can become the crew members of tanks, tanks require a crew of 3 men. Tank crews will be able to open the hatch to gain a better line of sight, while inside their LoS is very limited. This however exposes them to small arms fire. Different units will have different lines of sight.
Basic Soviet units and deployment
Standard Soviets units are called to the battlefield through one of five different headquarters buildings. Some commander abilities may expand the units available. Unlike the German forces there is no requirement to upgrade the Soviet forces through the initial command post to develop more advanced buildings, although either the Special Rifle Command or the Support Weapon Kampaneya must be constructed before work can begin on either the Tankoviy Battalion Command or the Mechanized Armor Kampenya.
Each of the Soviet buildings can call in the following units:
Regimental Field Headquarters
The initial building for Soviet forces which allows the deployment of basic troops. The Headquarters may also be upgraded to allow for field medics (250 manpower), Conscript Molotov cocktails (125 manpower, 25 fuel) and Conscript anti-tank grenades (125 manpower, 25 fuel)
Engineers (240 manpower, 6 population cap)
A four man squad able to construct other buildings, mine fields, supply dumps and barbed wire. They can also be order to deploy a satchel charge (45 munitions). May be upgraded with flamethrowers (60 munitions) or hazard removal abilities (30 munitions). On reaching veteran level the Engineers may deploy trip wire flares (10 munitions).
Conscripts (240 manpower, 6 population cap)
A six-man squad that can activate the ‘Oorah!’ ability (5 munitions) to gain a movement speed increase and greater damage at mid to long ranges. Can be upgraded through the headquarters to deploy Molotov cocktails and anti-tank grenades.
Special Rifle Command
A building that can create more advanced and specialised infantry units and a light scouting vehicle (200 manpower, 40 fuel).
Scout Sniper Squad (360 manpower, 9 population)
A two man sniper team, effective from long distances against specialised support teams, such as machine gun crews. The squad is able to use the flare ability (60 munitions) which illuminates an area of the battlefield for 35 seconds. Veterancy allows the sniper squad to sprint for 10 seconds (6 munitions).
M3A1 Light Scout Car (80 manpower, 20 fuel and 2 population)
A light car armed with a machine gun that can transport one squad throughout the battlefield. Veteran status grants the overdrive ability which increases speed and makes the car harder to hit for 20 seconds.
Penal Battalion (360 manpower and 9 population)
A six man squad that can be upgraded with a flamethrower (60 munitions) and is able to deploy a satchel charge (45 munitions). The penal squad can deploy trip wire flares after reaching veterancy (10 munitions).
Support Weapon Kampaneya
Allows for the deployment of support squads including a heavy machine gun crew, anti-tank gun and mortar squads (240 manpower, 50 fuel).
1910 Maxim Heavy Machine Gun (240 manpower, 6 population)
A six man machine gun squad that can suppress enemy infantry, leaving them vulnerable to other troops. When veteran level is reached the crew may choose to fire incendiary rounds for 20 seconds at a time (15 munitions).
PM-41 82mm Mortar Squad (240 manpower, 6 population)
A six-man team that can fire mortars at specific targets or deploy an artillery barrage or smoke screen. Veterans can fire a single, precise, mortar (30 munitions).
Zis-3 76mm Divisional Field Gun (360 manpower, 9 population)
An anti-tank gun deployed with a six-man squad that is also able to fire an artillery barrage (60 munitions). Reaching veteran level allows the crew to track enemy movement and increase sight range for 20 seconds (20 munitions).
Tankoviy Battalion Command
Specializes in fast moving, traditional turreted tanks and transports, included the T-34 light tank (275 manpower, 90 fuel).
M5 Half-track Transport (120 manpower, 30 fuel, 3 population)
A fast moving vehicle able to transport up to two squads and supply replacements to injured units within range. The M-5 can be upgraded with an anti-air package of 4 50mm machine guns (90 munitions). This is also an incredibly powerful anti-infantry weapon, although it removes the ability of the M-5 to transport troops. The M5 veteran ability allows it to enter ‘overdrive’, travelling faster and becoming harder to hit for 20 seconds.
T-70 Light Tank (160 manpower, 55 fuel, 5 population)
A fast moving but small tank. The T-70 is able to enter secure mode, which disables all weapons but allows the tank to capture supply points, although this is only available at veteran level. The tank can also activate a recon mode which increases the sight range whilst leaving the main gun inactive. The T-70 may also self-repair damage (60 munitions).
T-34/76 Medium Tank (240 manpower, 95 fuel, 7 population)
Probably the most famous of all Russian tanks during World War 2, the T-34 is a relatively light tanks with a ramming ability. This will damaged the engine and main gun of the T-34 and any opposing tank. Used with other forces in support this can cripple expensive and power late-game German armor. The tank may enter secure mode on reaching veteran level, allowing it to capture points, although this prevents weapon use.
Mechanized Armor Kampenya
Heavy assault guns are deployed through this command post in addition to the terrifying Katyusha rocket launchers (275 manpower, 90 fuel).
BM-13 Katyusha (360 manpower, 85 fuel, 9 population)
The powerful and iconic truck-mounted rocket launcher of the Soviets. Can be ordered to fire on a specific target or deploy an artillery barrage. Veteran status allows for a concentrated artillery barrage (60 munitions).
SU-76M Assault Gun (160 manpower, 55 fuel, 4 population)
A cheap unit, designed to move with infantry providing vulnerable (by tank standards) anti-tank support. The Su-76 can also fire artillery barrages and as a veteran tracking infantry units through the fog of war and increase sight, an ability that lasts for 20 seconds (20 munitions).
SU-85 Medium Tank Destroyer (320 manpower, 115 fuel, 8 population)
Designed for long-range engagements with enemy armor, the SU-85 is able to focus its field of fire for increased accuracy. Veterans can engage the tracking ability, increasing sight and marking hidden infantry on the mini-map for 20 seconds (20 munitions).
Basic German units and deployment
As with Soviet forces, Germans call in forces from one of five HQ buildings with additional units available through commander abilities. Germans also face a further restriction with their army requiring battle phases that must be reached in order to construct more advanced buildings. In addition to unit costs and upgrades the battle phase costs are detailed below.
Starting building of German forces, able to deploy Pioneers and upgrade the German battle phase.
Each battle phase requires the following resources and must be activated in order.
Battle Phase One
(200 manpower, 25 fuel)
Allows construction of the Leichte Mechanized Kompanie Building
Battle Phase Two
(200 manpower, 35 fuel)
Pioneers can now construct Support Armor Korps Building
Battle Phase Three
(200 manpower, 50 fuel)
Heavy Armor Korps Building is now available for construction
Pioneers (200 manpower, 5 population cap)
In addition to moving the battle phase forward the headquarters can construct four man Pioneer units. Unlike the Soviets, who deploy Conscripts and Engineers, this basic infantry unit acts as a building and combat force. For 60 munitions the Pioneer can be upgraded with flamethrowers or for 30 munitions anti-mine equipment. Veteran status allows the Pioneer to deploy a Field First Aid Kit for (20 munitions) that can heal a nearby unit.
In addition to constructing buildings Pioneers can construct fire pits, anti-vehicle Teller Mines (60 munitions), an anti-infantry S-Mine field (80 munitions), barbed wire and bunkers (150 manpower).
Bunkers (150 manpower)
The German army is able to sink manpower points into bunkers that provide additional support on the battlefield. Once constructed these bunkers can be upgraded with one of the following; an MG-42 machine gun post (60 munitions), a medic station (60 munitions) or a command post (60 munitions). The medics will heal troops whilst the command post allows fallen squad members to be replaced.
Available for construction before advancing the German battle phase, this building allows for the deployment of Grenadiers, MG-42 teams and GrW-34 Mortar teams and a sniper (80 manpower, 10 fuel).
Grenadiers (240 manpower, 6 population)
A four man squad, the basic combat infantry unit of the army. Grenadiers are able to fire a short range Panzerfaust against vehicles (25 munitions) or a longer range Rifle grenade (20 munitions). The squad can be upgraded with an MG42 LMG to help suppress enemy targets (60 munitions). A veteran unit is able to deploy a Field First Aid Kit for 20 munitions.
MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team (240 manpower, 6 population)
This three man machine gun team is the terror of the early game, able to do significant damage whilst suppressing units in its field of fire. Veterans can fire Incendiary rounds for bursts of 20 seconds (15 munitions).
Grw-34 Mortar Team (240 manpower and 6 population)
A mortar team of three men able to deploy an artillery barrage or smoke barrage in addition to engaging enemy units on the battlefield. Units reaching veteran level can activate a counter-barrage that will engage enemy artillery that fires within their range. Turning on this ability will disable other barrage options.
Sniper (360 manpower and 9 population)
A single sniper, able to engage infantry and support weapons at long ranges. If he reaches veteran level the sniper can fire a B-Patronen round that stuns enemy units nearby the target point (45 munitions).
Leichte Mechanized Kompanie Building
The first building to allow vehicle production for the German army, including scout cars and the Panzergrenadier infantry.
Panzergrenadier (360 manpower, 9 population)
A well trained four-man squad able to throw Bundled Model 24 Grenades (45 munitions) and can be upgraded with two incredibly effective RPzB 54 ‘Panzerschrek’ rocket launchers (120 munitions). Veterans gains the first aid kit ability (20 munitions).
SdKfz 251 Half-track (120 manpower, 30 fuel, 3 population)
Able to transport two units of infantry, the Half-track can also be upgraded with flame projectors (120 munitions). One of the most powerful anti-infantry weapons in the game they can cut through cover and set fire to buildings containing garrisoned units. Infantry Awareness allows veterans to pinpoint ground troop positions for 20 seconds (10 munitions).
SdKfz 221 Scout Car (80 manpower, 25 fuel, 2 population)
A mobile scout car that can be upgraded with a Kwk 30 2cm Autocannon (70 munitions) to further increase their anti-infantry power and provide anti-aircraft support. Veterans’ Infantry Awareness allows them to find nearby infantry for 20 seconds (10 munitions).
Pak 40 7.5cm Anti-tank gun (360 manpower, 9 population)
The standard anti-tank gun of the German army. Unlike the Soviet equivalent the gun is unable to barrage a target making it more vulnerable to infantry. It makes up for this with its effectiveness at engaging armor. A veteran crew can fire a Gr. 39 HEAT round that stuns a target vehicle (40 munitions).
Support Armor Korps
Specializes in anti-tank, fire support and anti-aircraft vehicles. Though you don’t want to go anywhere near anti-aircraft vehicles with infantry either (160 manpower, 25 fuel).
Stug III Ausf. G Assault Gun (280 manpower, 95 fuel, 10 population)
This squat beast is one of the most recognizable tanks from the Second World War with its distinctive skirting. A Pintle-mounted MG42 machine gun can be added to the gun to help hold back infantry (30 munitions). Crews of the assault gun that make it to veteran level can deploy a Gr.39 HEAT round to stun an enemy crew (35 munitions).
Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (320 manpower, 115 fuel, 8 population)
Designer to destroy light bombers this anti-aircraft tank is able to shred through enemy infantry units. Veterans can engage Blitzkrieg Tactics for 20 seconds during which they move faster and are harder to hit (30 munitions).
Panzer IV Medium Tank (320 manpower, 115 fuel, 8 population)
A solid frontline tank for the Germans, certainly stronger than Soviet third-tier vehicles in a traditional armored engagement. Can have a Pintle-mounted MG42 machine gun added (30 munitions) and veterans become masters of a 20 second speed burst to represent Blitzkrieg Tactics (30 munitions).
Heavy Armor Korps Building
Allows for the deployment of the heaviest German armor, some of which present serious challenges to a Soviet commander without properly prepared defences (160 manpower, 30 fuel).
Panzerwerfer 42 Multiple Rocket Launcher (360 manpower, 85 fuel, 9 population)
Mounting a powerful 10 tube Nebelwerfer launcher this half-track can devastate infantry and soft targets with a 15cm rocket barrage. Veterans can also be set to counter barrage against enemy artillery spotted firing in their range though this will disable their more traditional attack.
Sturmpanzer IV ‘Brummbär’ (520 manpower, 170 fuel, 13 population)
Perhaps the ultimate in anti-infantry weapons in the game although with a cost that reflects this, the Brummbär mounts a 15cm howitzer that smashes soft targets. Can mount a Pintle-mounted MG42 (30 munitions) though you’ll be hard pressed to need additional anti-infantry support with this blowing holes through the scenery. Veterans can engage a tank with a Gr. 39 HEAT round, stunning the crew, but this is best used as a means of escape from any serious armored opponent (30 munitions).
Panther PzKpfw V Medium Tank (440 manpower, 165 fuel, 11 population)
Strong frontal protection and a 75mm cannon ensured that the Panther was one of the most feared tanks on the battlefield. Flanking and disabling are the more realistic options for Soviet commanders. A Pintle-mounted MG42 Machine Gun can provide additional anti-infantry and aircraft fire (30 munitions). Veterans can employ Blitzkrieg tactics for 20 seconds (30 munitions).
Commanders in Company of Heroes 2 do not appear on the battlefield. As in previous games they represent a tactical choice made by the player that introduces a variety of benefits and new units, allowing greater customization and new options during a game. Command points are earned by capturing key points and defeating enemy units.
Once a player reaches command level 1 the option to select a commander from 3 possible leaders selected before the mission. The player does not have to select their commander at this point and further command points will be added even without the player making a choice. This creates the possibility of waiting for the opponent to make their choice first and responding with a commander to oppose their selection.
Each commander has 5 abilities with may be either passive, active or a unit that can be deployed. Each of these abilities unlocks as command points are created in a specific set order. So relatively normal units or small benefits are unlocked early on with massive tanks, aircraft bombing runs, railway artillery strikes and the like unlock towards the top end of the command tree. Units that are deployed through command tactics deploy instantly but still require resources to create.
Some of the command benefits include unlocking specific units within the normal construction menus or as building options for Engineers or Pioneer units.
New commanders can be unlocked as the player reaches higher levels, though it's unclear if they may also have additional requirements to unlock access as in the case of 'bulletins' - the Company of Heroes 2 version of perks. Some commanders may also be available to purchase as DLC and access to a small number of these commanders is already offered as part of the pre-order bonuses.
Russian Command Tactics
Guard Motor Coordination Tactics
- 1 point - Heavy Mortar
- 1 point - Guards Infantry Squads
- 3 points - Mark vehicle, increasing fire on target for 60 seconds
- 4 points - Crews can now repair their own vehicles outside of combat
- 4 points - A pair of T-34 medium tanks may be deployed
Guard Rifle Combined Arms Tactics
- 1 point - Guards Rifle Infantry
- 1 point - Hit the dirt! An ability that allows Conscripts to lie down for protection
- 2 points - Allows Conscripts to be upgraded with an assault package
- 4 points - ML-20 Howitizer, a massive artillery gun can now be built by Engineers
- 6 points - An IL-2 plane will make strafing runs across the battlefield
Shock Rifle Frontline Tactics
- 1 point - Shock troops may be deployed
- 2 points - Anti-tanks crews may camouflage guns for an ambush
- 4 points - The KV-8 flamethrower tank may be deployed
- 4 points - An incendiary artillery barrage
- 5 points - A IS-2 heavy tank may be deployed
Shock Motor Heavy Tactics (unlocks at rank 20)
- 1 point - Shock troops
- 2 points - Conscripts gain the ability to detect armored vehicles at greater ranges
- 2 points - Conscripts may now repair vehicles
- 5 points - ISU-152 assault gun may be deployed
- 6 points - IL-2 planes may be called in the make a precision bombing raid
NKVD Rifle Disruption Tactics (unlocks at rank 35)
- 1 point - Radio interception allows greater knowledge of enemy activity
- 2 points - IL-2 reconnaissance flights may be called to the battlefield
- 3 points - Rapid Conscription - whilst active lost soldiers are replaced by Conscripts
- 5 points - Fear Propaganda may be dropped on enemy units
- 6 points - An IL-2 plane will make strafing runs across the battlefield
German Command Tactics
Festung Armor Doctrine
- 2 points - Panzer Tactician allows smoke launchers on armored units
- 3 points - units may set armored vehicles in an immobile be greatly armored position
- 4 points - Pioneers may create Pak-43 anti-tank emplacements
- 4 points - Command tanks may be deployed to the battlefield
- 6 points - Off map Railway Artillery may be used to strike the battlefield
Festung Support Doctrine
- 2 points - A mortar half-track may be deployed
- 2 points - Smoke may be launched onto the battlefield
- 3 points - Infantry units replace lost soldiers whilst ability is active
- 4 points - A light field howitzer may be deployed
- 6 points - A sector is defined that will be attacked by howitzers when enemies enter
Jaeger Armor Doctrine
- 2 points - Anti-tank mines may be deployed
- 2 points - Reconnaissance flights can be called in
- 3 points - Spotting scopes may be added to units to increase sight when stationary
- 5 points - An Elefant tank may be deployed to the battlefield
- 6 points - Stuka dive bomb attack which can also knock out capture points
Jaeger Infantry Doctrine
- 1 point - Some units may be camouflaged
- 2 points - Units can be upgraded with better guns and gain advanced interrogation techniques
- 3 points - Tactical Movement - units gain the ability to sprint
- 4 points - A light artillery barrage to disrupt and scatter enemy Infantry formations
- 6 points - A Stuka plane will patrol an area attacking opposition with cannons
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows Vista (32bit), Windows 7
- Processor: 2Ghz Intel Core2 Duo or Equivalent
- Memory: 2GB RAM
- Hard Disk Space: 20GB
- Video Card: 256MB Direct3D 10 capable video card (GeForce 8800 or RadeonHD 2900)