We’ve Got Company Of Heroes 2 Screenshots

By Nathan Grayson on June 30th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

Remember how excited you were when we got two whole Company of Heroes 2 screenshots a couple days ago? Well, prepare to be roughly that excited again, because now we’ve got another two. That’s still two more frames of actual gameplay than we got from spending time in the company of yesterday’s trailer, though, so my anger tank can only fire so many shells. Regular tanks, however, can fire so many shells, as evidenced by the screenshots. And that makes me happy, only reducing the effectiveness of my wimpy rage cannons even more. Check out the other screenshot after the break for more madcap, happysadcap, rad backward cap action.

Well, OK – maybe not action in the traditional sense. Maybe not action at all. But man, look at the sun glinting off that ice. That’s too pretty to blow up. If anything, there should be a lithe, mesmerizingly graceful skater pirouetting on it while the Nutcracker Suite plays in the background. The rest looks nice enough as well. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but that’s not generally what I play RTSes for anyway.

It would be cool to see a game really do snow right, though. I mean, Skyrim’s was OK, but the whole world still felt like it was made out of plastic, and half its residents were not dressed appropriately for the weather at all. Once – when I was young and foolish – I cast aside all my dignity and tried Uncharted 2 on a consolebox. That, I must admit, was some profoundly gorgeous snow, and Nathan Drake’s body language communicated that he was, you know, freezing to death quite effectively. Also, once it really started pouring down, battlefield visibility dropped dramatically. So, more of that, I guess, is what I’m saying. Snow! It’s cold. And sort of wet. Discuss.

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81 Comments »

  1. Kollega says:

    Wow. That’s some pretty fugly snow alright. The tank just seems like it’s clipping through it, like in ye oldene days. And those tree branches don’t look all too impressive either. I understand that it’s an RTS game, but in this case the developers could at least not shove the snow-clipping right in our faces.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      They better shove vodka to your vodka hole, right comrade?

    • Captain Hijinx says:

      You are aware that the game is still in production right?

      The Snow looks fantastic in general, as does the ice, bit early to be crying foul about minor clipping issues.

    • hosndosn says:

      Hmm, I remember seeing an earlier screenshot thinking it’s the best looking snow shader I have ever seen. It looks a bit different in those. Note, though, that this is an RTS so you’re usually quite a bit away from the scene in perspective.

      What they did with the snow shader is actually have the shadows distorted by the normal maps which sounds like 2004 technology but I for some reason have never seen before. Talking about this shot.

    • x1501 says:

      The graphics seem more than adequate for an RTS game. Do you really understand that it is one?

      Also, can you name a game that does snow well? There could be some, but I can’t recall any. Even high-budget TPS and FPS behemoths like Mass Effect, Skyrim or Crysis don’t have realistic snow tracks.

      • Grape says:

        RTS or not, bad graphics are still bad. No amount of fanboyism can prevent that.

        • x1501 says:

          Skip your childish insults. I haven’t even played the first one beyond the first two levels.

          If you seriously claim that these graphics are downright “bad” or even way below average for a modern Real-Time Strategy game, you’re either out of touch with reality or you’re just trolling.

        • Zenicetus says:

          I think it’s appropriate to judge the graphics as an RTS, and not on some abstract level. I like zooming in close every now and then, in a game like this, but I’ll be spending most of my time in the eagle’s eye viewpoint. If it looks good from up there, I’ll be happy.

          If it was an FPS and I was crunching in the snow alongside that tank, I’d care a lot more about how the treads were clipping.

          • subedii says:

            Basically. I mean maybe 1% of your time or less is going to be spent zoomed in to the “troop” level, spending a tonne of resources to bring it up to the level of FPS’s when you won’t, in real terms, actually notice it, wouldn’t just be pointless. It would be removing resources from other aspects of the game, and needlessly bumping up the system requirements moreso.

            This is something that the first CoH suffered quite badly from (this is something the devs have said themselves in an interview once): As a game at the time it looked amazing, but the requirements for those visuals were ahead of what most PC’s would have been reasonably able to run smoothly at the time. It ended up pricing itself out of a lot of its own market simply by having too high of system requirements at the time.

            By the time DoW 2 came out, systems had largely caught up, and there wasn’t really much difference in the kind of system you needed to run CoH well compared to DoW2. And DoW 2 came out almost 3 years later.

        • DK says:

          Bull. Graphically it’s about on the level of CoH – which isn’t a step up. It simply means it doesn’t look any better than the best looking RTS so far. Boo hoo. CoH is still graphically years ahead of any other RTS (Starcraft 2′s graphics are, frankly, an insult – it’s tech is firmly 20th Century and only the art direction saves it from being plain shit).

      • Kollega says:

        Maybe you are right about no games having realistic snow tracks, because they are insanely hard to do, but at least the developers could avoid such flagrant demonstration of the inherent flaws of our graphics technology by putting a tank for such close track-shot somewhere less deep.

        • x1501 says:

          Looks like my link-filled comment above will be waiting in pre-moderation limbo indefinitely, so I’ll just rephrase it without linking to the relevant screenshots:

          What you seem to fail to realize is that this actually looks pretty good for a game in this genre. If you check some examples of what extreme close-ups of other recent RTS games look like (Tropico 4, Stronghold III, etc), you’ll see that very few of them look much better than the screenshots above. Basically, I think that your graphical expectations are unrealistic and that you’re nitpicking.

    • Lord_Mordja says:

      Uh, the tank’s not clipping through the snow, it’s driving through it. Because it’s snow. It wouldn’t support the tank’s weight.

      • Kollega says:

        No, it is actually just clipping through it. The wheels wouldn’t have such even layer of snow between them if the self-propelled gun was realistically pressing snow down.

        • iniudan says:

          What your asking has never been done by any game engine, so have to consider that clipping to be that, and they seem to be working on some shadow to make it look less artificial, for the shadow does seem different around the tank tread and what was it path.

          • andash says:

            Well, I wouldn’t say that… Atomontage Engine, which has probably been featured here at RPS even, has done some pretty cool stuff.

            http://youtu.be/_CCZIBDt1uM#t=4m25s Here’s a video I remember watching, with a vehicle making tracks which look quite good. Could pass for snow too, surely with some retexturing. And that particular video is from 2010.

            That it’s a voxel engine is the downside I guess, perhaps things are different these days but historically they haven’t been very popular.

            Point is that it’s not really impossible in this day and age to have good collision detection and physics. I have to agree that the clipping was glaringly obvious, but as others have pointed out it’s probably not so noticeable zoomed out.

            (Hope this reply ends up where it’s supposed to, RPS comment system seems needlessly vague)

    • abandonhope says:

      These shots almost have a watercolor thing going for them. As graphical acuity increases, I’m happy to see devs branching into various styles to differentiate themselves.

    • iniudan says:

      Would you prefer that tank float on snow ? Thing have a tendency to sink in snow, outside of having excellent weight repartition (so for human having ski or snowshoe, for Red Army that would be a aerosani vehicule) or having a good snow surface to actually stand on it and it require extreme temperature [extreme even for Nordic country] to be able to stand on snow, with a ski less vehicle, without sinking, actually it more likely considered ice by then, like a week long ice glaze storm, followed by cold day (minus 10°C or less), has to make sure the it is solid and set in place (saw that a single time in my life, we lost electricity for a whole month, since almost every power-lines and transmission tower, in the region, just crumbled to the ground), or heavy snow storm followed by extreme cold has to make sure the whole layer that accumulated simply just freeze on the ground (never saw that one).

    • Dreamhacker says:

      It looks like state of the arts graphics from 2006 to me.

    • Boris Karloff says:

      These comments make me feel like I’m losing my mind. Surely it’s not that much to expect some sort of snow displacement is it? Hell, Uncharted 2 was mentioned in the article and obviously the scale is completely different, but in that first picture is does just appear that the tank is leaving flat tracks on top of the snow. Is it so much to expect slightly better than that?

    • Det says:

      FUCKING NERDS

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      rokenroleg says:

      http://www.mark-1-tank.co.uk/jpgs/tiger-1-snow-3248b.jpg Dumb reality, making things clip through snow.

  2. Monkeh says:

    Yay for snow! I think snow was done pretty well in Mafia II and Metro 2033, though I’ve never played Uncharted so can’t really compare it with that.

    Assassin’s Creed 3′s snow is looking quite good as well.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Let’s drink some Cyrodilic vodka in the memory of our snow-comrades of Skyrim.

  3. psyk says:

    Who gives a shit if the snow looks crap

  4. Ultra Superior says:

    Ice-Skating Russians! Vodka power up!

  5. RegisteredUser says:

    Is it gonna be more Men Of War-y this time around?

    Those games have serious appeal, but kinda hinder themselves at times with bugs, utterly and terrifyingly long and drawn out exercises in pain and general tightrope balancing of feeling awesome for having beaten a map and wishing to smash your screen to bits. :P

    So there might be different takes on this that might be able to be even moar awesome. And COH was pretty okay, but compared to MOW, quite frankly, actually ended up feeling almost casual. :P

    • subedii says:

      I expect CoH to play like CoH to be honest. Well, I guess with some of the changes they’ve talked about, like the FoV.

      Men of War was OK for me, but it just felt overly finnicky and micromanagement focussed, and often a bit too random to have fun with. I felt like I was fighting the game itself a lot of the time, not just the in-game enemy.

      I wouldn’t want them to go that route of collecting hats, ammo clips and the rest. Yes it’s additional detail, but I don’t feel it would suit CoH. And I certainly don’t want to see CoH become Men of War. There’s enough room for both styles of play if you don’t like CoH.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Actually quite liked CoH, too.

        Was just wondering if they’d be doing anything to add some more depth to it, but it was fine the way it was, too.

        MOW is a weird phenomenon. Setting it into Vietnam made it fail utterly, but it shines in the WW II thing and when it doesn’t bog you down with being all too clunky or having to do > 2 things at once(you actually at times have to be thankful if its only 2), it can actually be extremely satisfying to blow away a tank with nothing but a molotov and a ooooooooooorahhhh in your hand and heart.

  6. TT says:

    I dont know why developers/ publishers keep throwing close up mugs of their RTS games. I want to see it as I´ll play it! If that´s it then i don’t want to play it..

    The muzzle flash looks good.

    • CPTblackadder says:

      Because this way we can see the details, anyway who wants to look at a strategy game the way they play it. I mean if you wanted to do that then why not just play it in the first place? Also if it’s anything like the first when you play it you’ll see a bit more than what’s in the second picture, but not much.

      • TT says:

        Nothing on those pics, says its an RTS. What it says is- it´s more important to us to portray facial hair on the soldier models than making them behave as soldiers – The “detail” shown is irrelevant to an RTS gameplay and still a farcry from any AAA firts/ third person game. Like said it puzzles me why devs/ publishers keep at doing it, but maybe that’s just me.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It helps market the game to people outside the hardcore strategy game demographic.

      I think CA was one of the first to put a ridiculous level of detail (for an RTS game) in their Total War games at the zoomed-in level, once they went full 3D. That let them make some impressive-looking promotional trailers using only in-game assets.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        The games were actually used to illustrate historical battles on the history channel or where it was because of that(Total War ones).

  7. bob. says:

    I’d find it really awesome if they made an expansion where you play an axis minor in a campaign. First of all, that would be something 100 % completely new, I never ever played a game where you played an axis minor in any campaign that had a story. I don’t think it would sell THAT bad, quite the contrary actually.
    Imagine – fighting as Romanians for example, low morale amongst the men, always the question “what are we doing here in the first place?” but ultimately no other choice than to try and fight to survive…

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    Gap Gen says:

    Remember their sacrifice YOU BASTARDS.

  9. Palindrome says:

    SU76′s firing bombardments? OK they technically could but it was against Soviet doctrine and a Katyusha would be more iconic. Not quite as made up as most of the units and a lot of the events in CoH but it would be nice if they stayed a little closer to reality this time around.

    I don’t mean to sound like a carmudgeon but when there are interesting real world units and vehicles then they really should be used in a game supposedly depicting real events. This was a real failing in CoH and its various add-ons.

    • Unruly says:

      What, exactly, was “made up” about the units in CoH, aside from their performance in the game? All of the units were real things that actually existed during WWII. Now, they may not have been depicted 100% accurately in terms of capabilities or group composition, and a lot of them were things that never really saw much actual use because they were either produced in very limited numbers or so late in the war as to not see much use, but the did all exist.

      Most of the unrealistic things that you saw in CoH were simply done for balance and affected the way a unit performed, rather than being some completely made up piece of hardware or fake type of soldier. About the worst example of that that I can think of is the Wehrmacht Knight’s Cross Holders unit, because you wouldn’t stick 3 guys with a Knight’s Cross into a single squad and expect them to fight like that. Instead, the Knight’s Cross Holders should have been a single man that you attached to a squad like the British Lieutenants and they should have conferred a similar set of bonuses to the troops they were attached to and any troops around them, as soldiers who were granted the Knight’s Cross would have normally been placed in some form of command position and would have been a source of inspiration among the troops they served with.

      • Palindrome says:

        From the British side we have ‘Boudica’s boys’, the Royal commandos, Royal Scots Engineers and the Royal Candaian artillery. None of these existed (or rather they are all called different things) and the ‘Royal Commandos’ are actually Paras. There is no need for this.

        The actual vehicles themselves are okish but even here there are errors; the Hetzer, Calliope and Pershing never served in Normandy, nor did Volksgrenadiers for that matter, and only 4 Sherman Crocodiles were used in Europe during WWII and that was by the British.

        Its just sloppy, Relic clearly did a lot of research so they could at least get the basics right.

        • subedii says:

          Seriously? Yes there were a ridiculously small number of Pershings ever in combat, yes there were almost no Sherman Crocodiles used in WW2. That genuinely doesn’t matter, those were put into the game for gameplay reasons, because they are fun units that people want to play around with and they serve a gameplay purpose relative to the other armies in the game.

          I mean I could pick through a ginormous list of things that are not in any way realistic or historically congruent in Company of Heroes, starting with soldiers magically popping out of Barracks with their infinite ammo rifles, and engaging other soldiers at ranges of a few metres.

          This is not attempting to be an exact recreation of WW2. Gameplay considerations fundamentally trump historical realism. That is the basics for an RTS.

          • Palindrome says:

            I am well aware of tis being ‘just a game’ but when things are wrong for no legitimate reason then it annoys me so the incluson of things like Hetzers certainly does matter.
            Its not even a question of gameplay as all the things that Relic used that were inaccurate could have easily been replaced by just as interesting, but correct, vehicles/units. For example Volksgrenadiers simply need to be called Ost Grenadiers and all would be well.

          • subedii says:

            Hold on a second, are we talking about singleplayer or multiplayer here?

            Because if you’re saying you don’t care about numbers now (I mean why bring them up in the first place then?), then those units appearing in multiplayer doesn’t make any difference, as I said it’s a gameplay issue.

            And IIRC (perhaps I’m wrong, correct me if I am), things like the Pershing didn’t appear in the singleplayer campaign until after the initial Normandy landings. For that matter (and this is just 5 minutes googling so YMMV), whilst the Sherman Crocodiles were developed by the British, they were still used by the US Army. Again, never really used, but they are there for gameplay reasons.

            I’m not trying to maintain I have much contextual knowledge of WW2 tank deployments. I don’t. In a wider context though, those units were never really used in their respective segments of the campaigns. And those battles never took place in the ways they did. This we can agree on. The reason they are included is because people want to play with them, and as far as I can see, there were no equivalent units to match. I mean, what alternative would you have preferred to the Sherman crocodile? And if you say “They shouldn’t have used any flame tank in the game” or similar, then that’s where we’re going to fundamentally disagree.

  10. pkt-zer0 says:

    IT’S NOTHING COMPARED TO STARCRAFT 2!

    Uhh.. wrong Relic franchise.

    Anyway, a fun fact: I thought the screenshots from the original CoH were of an FPS, due to its awesome graphics. CoH2 looks decent enough.

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    Carra says:

    I just hope we won’t have a thread like this every few days showing another two screenshots, their marketing department would be thrilled.

  12. Jajusha says:

    Dear heavens, in that first screenshot they just made the SU-76, a tank-destroyer, shoot with an elevation angle of an artilery piece.

    • Zenicetus says:

      According to all-knowing Wiki:

      “The maximum elevation angle of the ZiS-3 was the greatest amongst all other Soviet self-propelled guns. The maximum indirect fire distance was nearly 17 km. SU-76Ms were sometimes used as light artillery vehicles (like the German Wespe) for bombardments and indirect fire support. However the power of the 76.2 mm shells was not sufficient in many cases.”

      Hopefully they’ll make the AoE damage small enough that there won’t be much incentive for the player to use it that way, very often. Also, unless the new game’s maps are much larger than they were in CoH, it looks like that elevation in the screen shot would fire right off the edge of the game map.

  13. f1x says:

    If I came from Mars or some other alien planet, reading this comments I would get the impression that:
    - CoH is a shit franchise, not worth a penny
    - This graphics are crappy and they should rather cancel the project

    Actually I think the graphics are really nice, we have yet to see it in movement and with the UI and if they can get the same vibe of CoH1 but with improvements and new features I know I’m gonna love it

    • caddyB says:

      Hi! Welcome to internet! Do you have pretty women in mars?

      • f1x says:

        If you dont mind some extra breasts we’ve got some really fine ones

        • RegisteredUser says:

          Is one of them on the back, for when dancing, like Al Bundy described?

        • LionsPhil says:

          It’s enough to make you wish you had three hands.

          No, wait, that’s just all the micromanagement of the modern RTS with manually-triggered unit powers.

    • Crazy Horse says:

      If I came from Ireland or some other Earth country, reading this comments I would get the impression that:
      - CoH is a shit franchise, not worth a penny
      - This graphics are crappy and they should rather cancel the project

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      Gap Gen says:

      Well, I do come from Mars, and let me tell you, zweeble deep dorp boop.

      EDIT: That works so well with the default avatar things.

      • f1x says:

        Actually yes, ignore the whole CoH part

        I come from Mars, hello RPS

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        Gap Gen says:

        We come in peace, and to fight Stalin in bizarre strategy game.

    • subedii says:

      It is getting kind of silly. I guess this is partly their marketing department’s own fault for simply releasing two screenshots at a time as if this gives people things to talk about. Instead it leads to nitpicking about minor visual elements and how terrible CoH was because it wasn’t trying to be Men of War, World in Conflict, or a historical re-creation?

      Grief.

      Personally? I’m just wondering if Tales of Heroes might have a chance at a comeback, and whether Relic are going to include a selection of casting tools. CoH used to be awesome for a good shoutcast, I used to watch Tales of Heroes and HarlequinCasts CoH casts all the time when they were running. Heck, even a few of the Relic devs went on ToH once in a showmatch.

      • Doctor_Hellsturm says:

        Relic have made the two best games for shoutcasting (COH and DOW2), hands down. Watching anything else feels static and repetetive (i am looking at you terran ball of death).

      • f1x says:

        Thats the main problem, just 2 screenshots, its hard to judge on real quality actually,
        what about seeing something in movement? :s
        I mean seeing 2 screenshots from CoH1 back in the day probably didnt pull any strings, but the game itselft : a whole different thing

  14. thestage says:

    The best snow in a video game, far and away, belongs to Metal Gear Solid 4. Too bad the snow was just about the only good part of that game.

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    Gap Gen says:

    Sure, people complain about the snow, but the boob physics in this game is awesome.

  16. 1q3er5 says:

    CoH 2 better dethrone World in Conflict in explosions, smoke effects, sound, physics, ground deformation, building destruction and map size. Lets face it World in Conflict hasn’t really been dethroned yet. European escalation really does not look great and the explosions are pitiful compared to World in Conflict. I really hope Relic beefs up its game engine. Right now those screenshots are not really too impressive.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      When you say throne, you mean of boredom, yes?

      Because I seriously tried seeing what all the “epic rts” was about and got a couple of cutscenes and oh-so-supposedly-heart-wrenching phonecalls home in, and all I could think was “God, those unit icons are ugly, the handling is clunky and why am I suddenly playing a flashback side mission in Europe?”.

      That game didn’t feel right at all for me. Pulling off full 3D for an RTS (the classic kind, not something like Total War, which I consider something in its own right) is always tough, imo.

      As for visual fidelity, you DO spend most time zoomed out, as with most RTS.
      Accordingly, I would rather have a good RTS game “dethrone” another in terms of intricacy, thought, depth, actual strategy and enjoyment while playing, than have it have 9000 more polygons if I zoom in to stubble-on-face levels(or make the ground look really torn up in high-fidelity after a bomb).

      I will give you this: Making blowing up shit look fun is of course a major boon when the game is about blowing shit up, too. If you take the joy out of achieving the actual map superiority, it doesn’t balance out well, so that should be there.

      • 1q3er5 says:

        Dude what are you talking about. I left out gameplay on purpose because it really is polarizing. Personally I enjoyed the multiplayer alot because if you have NO teamwork YOU lose badly. that being said the multiplayer aspect isn’t very complex. Not sure what the rest of you essay is about because it really has nothing to do with what i posted.

  17. jack4cc says:

    If you’re looking for snow, try Lost Planet. The first one.

  18. Rudel says:

    CoH2 is surely a must-have. The best WW2 RTS ever done (even better than my alltime fav Sudden Strike) and much, much, much better than APM-spamming SC2.