THQ may have stumbled upon some rough times as of late, but you shouldn't count them out, as their 2013 is looking quite grand. Along with Metro: Last Light and South Park: the Trick of Truth, the publisher is also looking to make a huge dent in the PC market with its long-awaited sequel Company of Heroes 2. With Relic Entertainment once again handling development, the Cold War is definitely going to heat up, especially in the multiplayer department. We recently checked out some new information, which you're going to find quite useful as you face off against your friends in World War II territory on the Eastern Front.
First off, the game will support your old DirectX 9 technology, but it really shines if you're using the new DirectX 11, bringing the most out of battle details, particularly on your tanks and the weather conditions surrounding. Yet it's still nice that THQ is keeping its options open, while also leaving the opportunity open for Steam players to rack up Achievements and get the most out of matchmaking.
As for the matches themselves, they'll be most affected by TruSight. Using this new feature, you'll actually feel the conditions of real-time war as they're happening, thanks to line of sight. So, for instance, your foot soldiers will have no problem seeing what's ahead of them, but they won't be so clear if there's a sniper sitting overhead waiting to take potshots with his rifle, or a tank rolling into the distance, with foliage hiding its approach. Using a well-utilized visual system, you can see where your perspective lies with both your on-foot and mobile units, and establish a game plan where you can line up enemies and take them out effectively.
Another first for this sequel is the real time weather. While some terrain should be easy to cover, there are times that the snow will begin to stack up, and you'll have to meet certain conditions in order to keep your side from collapsing. For instance, your foot soldiers will definitely feel the effects of this chilly weather, and if you don't keep them warm enough with the occasional campfire, they'll freeze to death, leaving you short-handed for when you try to take over specific points on a map. Likewise, tanks, which are used to motoring around the usual terrain, will have a tougher time getting around if a lot of snow is stacked on the ground. They'll still get to where they need to go, but you might not want to charge ahead of them if you're expecting a fully armed ambush.
Not everything in the weather works against you, however. You can turn the tide on an enemy that's short-handed, while their larger units take a while to roll in, giving you plenty of time to prepare for the assault. Likewise, if there's a massive snowfall, you can actually use TruSight to your advantage as well, using the blinding weather conditions to sneak around and get the jump on an outpost that doesn't entirely see you coming. So pay close attention to the weather – with conditions properly met, it could be quite the ally.
Next up, we've got commanders, who will be your best friends when it comes to turning the tide of war. These guys aren't immediately available at first, meaning you'll have to be patient before you gain access to them. Once you do, however, you'll need to choose carefully, as this commander will be with you throughout the match. The offensive commander is usually the best bet, bringing his own structures and units into the heat of battle, which can certainly help you, even if you're overpowered with enemy units.
Finally, there's one more active ingredient to your loadout that should be heavily considered, and that's intel bulletins. These act as a perk to a certain degree, as you can use them to bulk up your team. Damage boosters, for example, can rip through foot soldiers a lot quicker than typical attacks. You can also pad on the extra armor, an ideal choice when it comes to tougher waves of enemies. And if you're impatient, you can call for getting access to a commander quicker, though that may leave you a little empty-handed on the battlefield at first. You can only use three of these in your loadout at a time, so choose wisely.
With real-time strategy usually handled well by the folks at Relic (they did quite well with the original game, and this one plans to add more maps and possibly even some additional modes), Company of Heroes 2 could easily be one of 2013's most addictive PC multiplayer experiences. Judging by what we've seen so far, it's definitely coming together, and the option to play alongside friends via co-op will help you gain even more experience before you take on the big boys.
Prepare for battle, friends, as Company of Heroes 2 is slated for an early 2013 release.