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Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts Review
by Jedi Guardian
I like the guy on the right.
Well, here we go again. World War 2. The last great war. Not to sound cliché, but how many times must we traverse through France? Apparently a lot. From movies to video games, the American side of World War 2 has been covered extensively in Medal of Honor, Saving Private Ryan and Call of Duty. However, Relic stepped up with their strategy (no pun intended) in Company of Heroes, an RTS based on the Allies invasion of Normandy and liberation of France, and I agree with Nixon in praising it as Relic's finest. Well, the game sold some copies. A lot, actually. To guarantee gamers stuck with the game, an expansion pack was created, and wouldn't you know it? It's a hybrid! I don't need Company of Heroes to play it. So, does this expansion gets the medal of honor? Or a dishonorable discharge? Read on to find out. Avanti!
Opposing Fronts lets you play with two new armies, the British and the Panzer Elite. The Brits are the perfect choice for turtlers as they get their bases in the form of trucks, so you can always pack it and move to the closest resource point, and they know how to hold onto territory (the British have the best artillery in the game). The Panzer Elite are the German equivalent to the Brits, except their base isn't mobile (but their units are!) and the Panzer's soldiers are combat engineers with better weapon choices. Both armies play very differently than the Americans or the Wermacht. Both have their own tech trees and units. The Brits get Royal Support (Artillery, Commandos, Royal Engineers) and the Panzer Elite get Tactics (Scorched Earth, Luftwaffe, Anti-Tank) techs, adding 12 different playing styles from the previous 6. The existing armies get...nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's a shame, really. I wanted to see new units for the Wermacht and the Americans. I guess it's better this way, as adding new units to existing sides would unbalance the game after all (try playing the British against the Wermacht). The gameplay is just like Company of Heroes, with the exception of the two new armies, which have mobility as their strength, and have it easier in controlling resource points compared to the vanilla armies. And who could skip the change of controlling Canadian artillery?
This the part of the game where you hold Pegasus Bridge and... Shit! Wrong game.
The campaign is fun in its own fashion. While the original had D-Day and the liberation of France, Opposing Fronts gets two campaigns. That's right, two. You get to play the British 3rd Army beating the Germans in the liberation of Caen and the Panzer Elite holding Holland in Operation: Market Garden. It sounds extensive, but it isn't. The British campaign can be beaten in a week, while the Panzer Elite will take longer, mostly because it's more challenging. The Brits' campaign is pretty boring, the cutscenes make the officers look like pompous assholes, and most of the time playing the campaign, I wished that my army got annihilated. The Panzer Elite is supposed to be dramatic, but it feels cliché with the Germans speaking in German, with English words thrown in. However, they get the coolest campaign. Regardless of these flaws, the single player is fun to play and has lots of replayability. The multiplayer is what I expected from Relic. It's great, but it isn't Battle.net! The community can go from decent human beings to complete cocksuckers, but finding friends is simple and efficient. No need to browse for someone to play on the idiot infested chat rooms, you can browse for your play mate through X-Fire, just like in Red Alert 3. You are also give ranks when winning matches. So, hone your skills, soldier!
If only I have gotten a FG42 for Christmas....
The graphics are an improvement from the original Company of Heroes. Opposing Fronts can now be played using DirectX10. There's really that not much of an improvement in detail compared to playing the game in DirectX 9, but it's greatly appreciated nonetheless. The scarring effects are very impressive. When you bombard the enemy fortifications with artillery, it turns the landscape into looking like the surface of the moon. I wish the Panzer had some sort of permanent artillery to have some fun with the scarring effect (they get the Hummel Howitzer under the Scorched Earth Tactics tech tree). Quite the graphical improvement over Dawn of War.
"Cutting! Did you just grab my ass?"
"Then grab it! Goddammit!"
The sound is astounding. I know I say this to every game I rate (considering I only rate good games most of the time), but Company of Heroes always had great audio. The best part about playing the campaign in the original was to hear Steve Blum's voice narrating the story. In the campaign in Opposing Fronts, it is not as exciting. It's more like embarrassing. The British, for example, are too posh; the Captain loves his tea and crumpets way too much. The Panzer Elite (like stated before) try to sound dramatic, but they fall short ("Remember what mother used to say, Klaus?"). The sound effects are authentic, from the fire of an Enfield rifle to the tank bore of the Jagpanther. The score is beautiful, it adds the mood for the game. I love it when the game picks up the pace when you're attacking the enemy or when you're calling artillery strikes on their asses. It's truly a awesome experience.
Right after the Russian conquer Berlin!
Looks like Relic is on a winning streak. They keep making games that don't suck. Hopefully they'll keep it up. I can't imagine Relic coming up with another Impossible Creatures in this day and age. However, be warned that the game may look loaded with features, but it isn't. The lack of new units for the existing armies, some Battle.net-esque assholes in multiplayer, and embarrassing voice acting keep the game from getting a perfect score. On the other hand, the game does require neither the original product or the CD to play. All you need to play Opposing Fronts; is an INTERNET account, like in Half-Life 2. I have lost sleepless games playing this game, and if I got hooked, you probably will too. I'm being told that this game was build as test for the upcoming sequel for Dawn of War. Then, gentlemen, if that's the case. Relic passed it with flying colors.
How many needles of black tar heroin to make
this game good?: 0;
disregarding the flaws, it's still great.