‘Reveille’ for the multiplayer; ‘Taps’ for the solo campaign
To be honest, we really wanted to dislike Company of Heroes 2. As is tradition whenever we have a new strategy game, we immediately fired up the game’s skirmish mode and cracked open a delicious can of soda to accompany (what we assumed would be) a short march to victory.
Note: This review was originally featured in the October 2013 issue of the magazine.
Rejoice, RTS fans and/or people who like good things. Relic's WWII real-time strategy has finally emerged from its bullet-time-like stasis. Well, OK, mostly. THQ hasn't mentioned the heavily rumored Company of Heroes 2 specifically, but a recent investor announcement saw it name-drop the franchise as one of its upcoming heavy hitters. On the downside, however, THQ continues to struggle with financial issues in much the same way someone who's spontaneously combusted in a desert searches for a body of water. The Company of Heroes focus, then, comes as part of a realignment to hone in on proven moneymakers like Saints Row and Warhammer. Which is fine by us, assuming they actually, you know, make money. Otherwise, Company of Heroes' triumphant return looks to be crushingly short-lived.
After Relic-owner THQ purchased the Homeworld license from Vivendi, speculation about the next entry in the spacefaring RTS series naturally ran rampant. Now, however, even though the hypothetical game's presumed developers are finally using the words "home" and "world" without at least three sentences of dividing text, Relic's magic eight ball still says "Please ask again later."
"We're really happy the IP has made its way home, and yeah, we're definitely looking at it. We'll see what happens in the future," current Dawn of War II lead designer Jonny Ebbert told Eurogamer.
But beyond that, Relic's stalwart team of stoics only swatted away further questions.
"As it always has - behind closed doors. Blacked off. Homeworld 3, obviously, I'm not at liberty to tell you anything about. So, good try!" replied Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor designer Chris Degnan after a quick "How's Homeworld 3 looking?" -- likely even more enraged than he was after the fifth time Eurogamer tried that little trick.
General manager Tarrnie Williams also noted that Relic has "three or four" titles sizzling on the grill. Or at least, we think he did.
"It depends how you count; whether you use the old math or the new math," he said. He refused to explain the difference.
So, Homeworld 3 might fit in with Dawn of War II, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, and Company of Heroes Online (an Asian market-focused title), but Williams just insulted our math and we're pissed we can't really know.
Numerical nonsense aside, what's your take? Are you chomping at the bit for another Homeworld? What improvements would you like to see to the Homeworld formula?
Tim Holman, senior producer on Company of Heroes -- Relic's well-received, bajillion-selling PC-exclusive RTS franchise -- might be a teensy bit biased in favor of PC gaming. But his amorous feelings for the constantly morphing platform only go so far, and that's why it's time for an intervention. PC devs, quit shooting-up your games with prettier-than-real-life textures and nuclear-powered bloom lighting. Take it away, Tim:
"I think one of the things that hurt PC gaming is PC developers," he said. "If you make a game with such high-end requirements that only people with a $6,000 PC can play it at a decent framerate, of course your sales are going to drop."
"And of course people are going to pirate your game more, because they don't want to invest in your game first. They want to try it first for free [to see if it's compatible with their hardware]."
So, who's the excellently postured whiz kid sitting in the front of the classroom, setting an example for all the other miscreants? Why, that'd be Blizzard, says Holman. "It's no big secret. I know when I buy a Blizzard game, I'm not going to have to upgrade anything," he explained.
But Holman's far from stuffing this not-compliment sandwich into a plastic baggy and calling it quits; the thing's all condiments and no meat. His main point, then, is this:
"I laugh hysterically whenever I hear that PC gaming is dead. Every time I hear a person saying, 'PC games are dying,' or 'PC games are dead,' particularly if they're a competitor, I fully agree with them--and I encourage them to get out of the space as soon as possible, just so I don't have to compete with them," Holman said, laughing -- probably in a hysterical manner.
So, are you willing to give your eight GeForce graphics shurikens a break from flexing their potent prowess for the betterment of PC gaming? Or do you think Holman's opinion is a load of crock?