I absolutely adore the Company of Heroes series.
When I first saw the PC Gamer cover story for the original game I couldn’t believe that I was looking at an RTS title with the graphical fidelity of an FPS (this was before World in Conflict which is another stunning RTS) and when I was able to play it at its full graphical glory on a new PC build…well, let’s just say that it was a near-divine experience. The original Company of Heroes will forever hold a place in my personal gaming pantheon.
While not nearly as impactful as the original game, I really enjoyed the Soviet campaign of Company of Heroes 2 a helluva lot and some the changes that had been made to the CoH formula (the inclusion of TrueSight) while still retaining the overall feel of the original title. There was just something really great about seeing the war from the Soviet side, much like how I really loved the Soviet missions in the Call of Duty series (back when CoD was actually good!).
Ardennes Assault, CoH 2’s single player expansion, was sitting in my Steam library for a while now, so I decided to fire it up and get back into some CoH action…and all I have to say is: what the hell, Relic?!?
Ardennes Assault simply isn’t nearly as fun as the base Soviet campaign for CoH 2. My greatest problem with the expansion is that it essentially “forces” an Iron Man system by limiting you to one save slot (you could have multiple save slots in the Soviet campaign) and making you really cautious about your playstyle because you lose manpower after each battle to the point where you can simply not be able to finish the campaign because of a poor decision that you made 10 hours previously.
I realize that this is actually a pretty great feature and it’s standard for the XCom series and I’m glad that it’s now available in CoH, but it should be an OPTION and not forced on everyone, especially since it’s a radical departure from both CoH 1 and the base CoH 2 Soviet campaign. Also, the missions weren’t nearly as interesting as those in the Soviet campaign, not even close.
Overall, I don’t regret the 20 hours or so that I spent with Ardennes Assault, but I just hope that Relic doesn’t consider this way forward for CoH.