Relic Games knows that World War II has been used quite often in games. However, the company has made the decision to focus on the Eastern Front of Russians vs. Germany in Company of Heroes 2, and it looks to be a smart choice.
The demo I was shown started with a bit of focus on the new Essence 3 Engine. The engine allows for a lot more details in the environment, such as snow and fire, plus for soldiers to have a unique feel.
The most interesting feature shown early on was that snow will actually impact the fight. Snow hampers troops, meaning roads will want to be followed closely. However, trodden down snow will also be easier to navigate for troops.
As far as gameplay goes, it’s the standard RTS-fare the last entry has. Tech trees and troops will be in abundance, with Relic looking to keep up the high level of polish.
We were shown various soldiers, including a flamethrower-wielding one that set fire to a house, causing it to burn down. A few additions were added to soldiers, though, such as being able to vault over cover to continue an attack.
One addition the new engine allows for is the use of a true line-of-sight feature. While the game uses fog of war like most RTS games do, this one makes it so that you can only see the cone of sight in front of troops, not just an area around them. This feature looks to make flanking and strategy become even more useful in the game as smart players can get a grip on where troops are looking and prepare a few steps ahead for an attack.
The last interesting feature I want to touch on is how the team is exploring the brutality of the Eastern Front. The demo was set around the town of Rzhev during a battle known as the “Meat Grinder” where over 1 million men died.
During the demo, Russian troops were seen fleeing a trap by Germans, only to get mowed down by their own troops due to Order 227. The brutality won’t only be shown one-sided, it seems.
While there may not be a ton of groundbreaking features for the genre, Relic looks to be refining everything nicely. Expect the game to drop in 2013 on PC.