By Joseph Luster

Relic Entertainment originally knocked real-time strategy out of the park in 2006 with the original Company of Heroes. The first entry in the series took players from the Battle of Normandy to the Falaise Pocket, and a couple stand-alone expansions—Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valor—built on that foundation. Now the series is nearly ready to return to the front lines of war with Company of Heroes 2, which is scheduled to arrive on PC in June.

This time around the focus is on the Eastern Front campaign, which will task players with taking on missions ranging from Operation Barbarossa to the Battle of Berlin. The Soviet Army joins Company of Heroes 2 as a new faction, and Relic implemented a handful of improvements to make things more grounded in reality and open up new unique situations that can be shaped by things like weather and troop visibility.

Relic’s TrueSight line-of-sight technology aims to more accurately represent the latter, while the Essence 3.0 game engine advances Company of Heroes’ ability to simulate harsh conditions with ColdTech. In fact, weather plays a dramatic role in this one, which is appropriate given the setting. Troops can become frostbitten and must rely on things like bonfires—which leave them open to enemy detection—to keep warm. Deep snow hinders movement and crossing frozen bodies of water comes with the risk of cracking the ice and plunging into the freezing depths below at any moment.

Even with all the new additions and the change in setting, everything else about this sequel sounds like Company of Heroes through and through. We’ll see if it lives up to its predecessor when it arrives in North America and Europe soon.

Publisher: Sega
Developer: Relic Entertainment
System(s): PC
Available: June 25, 2013

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