Charting the success of the Company of Heroes series is almost akin to plotting out the conquests of Nazi Germany. Like the Third Reich, Relic Entertainment‘s early campaigns started out strongly enough, before an ill-advised push east placed the kybosh on any further advancement.
Both parties were equally guilty of being unseasonal — COH 2 dropped during an indifferent time for WW2 titles, unrealistic — Russian gamers blasted Relic’s depiction of the front, and largely uninspired — Game Rant rated the gameplay highly, while others were left impressed with the overall package.
Despite this sense of diminishing returns, Company of Heroes 2 continues to roll on with the release of the game’s second ‘Theatre of War’ pack, titled Southern Fronts. Debuting online this week, the add-on patch features 8 new A.I battles, as well as two new challenge modes – all based around the vicious struggle for the Russian south circa March, 1943.
As the game’s latest trailer aptly illustrates, much is being made of the new muddy conditions introduced in the pack. The tough, sludgy terrain forces soldiers to slow to a near-crawl, while tanks and other vehicles become prone to sinking in and exposing their flanks.
In addition to this paid content, Relic is also issuing a spate of free updates, including two new multiplayer maps – ‘Don River’ and ‘Hill 331’ — alongside several other unnamed tweaks. The game’s World Builder mode is also set for a Steam-centric face-lift, improving connectivity between the sandbox and Valve’s popular download service.
Those players still enjoying the original Company of Heroes will also find their game updated, thanks a new patch introducing even greater Steam connectivity. While it might seem odd to make changes to a 7-year old title’s mainframe, the move reflects Relic’s decision to move sticks to the Steam-based server earlier this year. There’s no telling whether the update will cause any issues for the game’s expansive suite of mods, however – including the award-winning Eastern Front addition, released almost 3 years prior to Relic’s own take on the Russian war.
While it’s always good to see developers support their projects months after launch, many fans will likely be hoping for Relic to turn their attentions toward a third Company of Heroes title. Given the continued popularity of the original COH game, a return trip to the Western Front could well be on the cards, though the North African and/or Pacific fronts could also provide a fresh prospect.
How does the Southern Fronts pack stack up to the original Company of Heroes 2? Is the series still top of the WW2 RTS pile? Have your say in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Company of Heroes news, right here on Game Rant.
The Company of Heroes 2: Southern Fronts pack is out now, priced at $5/£2.99. Steam is currently offering 10% off list price until December 17. Free updates should appear via the game’s download service.
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