If you're looking to play more of Company of Heroes 1, with richer depth and strategy, you may be disappointed.
For myself, I was expecting...or at least hoping for a dynamic and versatile strategic gameplay depth that boasted more units, more abilities and greater examples of destruction and chaos that it's former represented so well and only gleefully imagined how greater that arm would reach into that realm with the experience of the company of heroes 1 firmly under their belts and following expansions.
My first impression went something like this;
- Much simpler designed base structures (which I was a huge fan of in coh1)...basically these wooden huts for base units now...hmm ok, I guess I can live with that even though disappointing.
- No ability to build defensive bunkers/trenches, that's a bit harder to swallow because I love playing defensively.
- Very simplistic units, same infantry you'd expect from the Germans side, with a few other units I didn't recognize but obvious enough to guess at their use. Russian units adding more variety and abilities.
- Scare buildings, environment very open and inconsequential, no immediate or obvious places to defend
In a word, it felt "plain"....completely opposite of the complex and engaging WW2 era strategy game that I hoped for. Instead of noticing more, I noticed less...even wounded soldiers being picked up by medics as in the first I felt was so much more emotionally engaging....has been removed. So many "great things" about the first, missing...but for what? what was I supposed to be feeling here?
"Cold tech" the system that incorporates a freezing weather system felt more like a hassle than an improvement...it essentially means having to hurdle your troops around a fire while wait it out...or move armor or even troops in half-tracks to areas of interest...but with so much less of the game already there, it just felt like an even more restricting and suffocating game mechanic than one that helped instill this dreaded death and despair of winter.
The gameplay, which in spite of all this I really wanted to be it's saving grace...that one thing that tipped the scales of balance in favor of "this can still be a greater game"...however with multiplayer, Annihilation was removed from the automatch making you play Victory point games only, was just too much to bear...and the combat was lack-luster, having a feeling of whoever exploits the imperfections of game-balance will be the victor...as German fanboys and Russians a like, battle it out with Relic to see gets nerfed and buffed.
It was a disappointing step in what was a game that did so many things right...the gameplay and strategy molded to invite new gamers to the genre is grossly obvious, and the ease of transition made as easy as possible with an over bearing UI that cradles you through battle with obvious warnings of threats. Something that hopes not to confuse would be players in fear of scaring them away forever, is putting the game in more of a call of duty franchise mode that us gamers all so much love (sarcastic) the one size fits all and instant gratification of feeding a kid candy with back patting rewards for nothing.
The few positives are that Relic has been closely monitoring the game in it's beta phase and has implemented almost AI/game saving changes and making them quickly...they're also looking to add leader boards, but it's short lived....as chat lobbies are removed preventing others from communicating and setting up games, and without more units it feels increasingly like a rock-scissors-paper match....where scissors some cuts through rock...there is still hope but as of now in it's current state...it may be easily forgotten by many of those in wished to pull in.