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Company of Heroes is an incredibly fun RTS (real-time strategy) game for Windows PC. It is set during World War II, and you take command of Allied soldiers in the effort against the Germans. The game begins with the Normandy beach invasion, then works its way inland. It is rated M for Mature, mainly for language and violence.
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At first glance, this might look like a Command & Conquer type game, but it is a good bit different. This game focuses mainly on the war aspect of it, so you don’t have to deal too much with building a lot of things or mining for resources. Not that there isn’t some of that in the game, but it isn’t as big a part of the game as it was in the C&C series.
What impressed me above all else was the strategic nature of the game. Even if you have a huge army, you can’t just charge head on into a gunfight or else you’ll be mowed down before any of your soldiers get close enough to toss a grenade. Even though it takes longer, I usually take a wide path around the map and flank the enemy positions. In most cases, this works pretty well.
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The graphics in this game are extremely well detailed, so much that you’ll need a decent machine to run them. It recommends a GeForce 6800 or better video card, plus 1 gig of RAM and a 3 Ghz or better processor. One thing I did find was that it doesn’t do a good job of auto-detecting the best settings for your system. The game ran like a slug until I got in there and manually tweaked the settings to better match my computer.
I love watching the little animations like when you order one of the soldiers to toss a satchel charge into an enemy gun placement. It’ll show the guy sneak up and sling the charge, then wherever it lands a counter will appear showing how many seconds are left until it detonates. It usually sends Nazis flying through the air, which is fun to watch. A couple of satchel charges can take down an old building, which is great when enemy soldiers are hiding up in the top of it trying to shoot you.
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Sound plays a big part of the game in that your soldiers scream out warnings that you should heed. With all the weapons and bombs available, each one has different results. My favorite is when buildings tumble down on top of the Nazis trying to hide beside them. There’s a constant dialogue track as the men sort of tell you what they need to do, and you should be warned that there is a lot of profanity.
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I highly recommend Company of Heroes to anyone who enjoys a good strategy war game. Fans of Command & Conquer will surely like this one as it is similar, but different in a good way. There’s also an expansion pack, called Opposing Fronts, available for when you complete all the missions in this game. I plan to pick it up very soon.