By Nathan Grayson on April 16th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.
After slip-sliding into June like a typically graceful, majestic tank suffering from momentary tread lapse, Company of Heroes 2‘s march to completion is fully back on track. If you weren’t already aware, a closed beta’s actually been humming along in the background for a couple weeks, largely with pre-order folks (I’m sorry, I can’t use the word “pre-orderers”; there are too many rers) in mind. Now, however, there’s another guaranteed front-door entrance to the war room. Keeping with the desperate, blood-spit-and-iron spirit of the Eastern Front, it’s the most tangible symbol of the harshness of our times: Facebook. One simple “like,” and COH 2 beta access is all yours. Yes, it’s obnoxious, but the end actually justifies the means in this case.
For the uninitiated, COH 2’s not quite a Dawn of War 2-level leap into uncharted territory, opting instead to make a host of tiny tweaks and dump snow on everything. Alec, however, quite liked the newfound focus on specialization and persistence within maps (being able to commandeer fallen foes’ gun emplacements, vehicles, etc), even if it didn’t quite feel as shiny and new as he was hoping.
I’ve also had the chance to try a little of COH 2 at various events, and the weather effects are certainly something. Survival against the elements definitely plays a major role, slowing the pace of battle and transforming gasping embers of fire into key tactical points. Also, I ended up feeling really, really guilty when my tiny popsicle soldiers started dropping like brittle ice drippings and there was nothing I could do because my wily opponent had snuffed out all my fires. It’s just like some famous general or another said: “War… turns everyone into colossal jerkwads.”
You should definitely give COH 2 a go yourself, though. It’s an experience that I’d describe as uncomfortably familiar, both in terms of the way little things lead to surprisingly big changes and what it must be like to realize your entire left leg is now one of those lumpy sherbet ice cream treats with pictures of the Flintstones on them. Sounds fun, right? So yes, that is a thing you should do.