Hurrah: Company Of Heroes 2 Kinda In Open Beta

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.

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39 Comments »

  1. Syra says:

    Oh my I would wet myself with excitement but it appears to be frozen..

  2. neolith says:

    How is it justified to call it an ‘open’ beta if you need a facebook account to participate?

    • Dunbine says:

      I smell a class action lawsuit approaching!

    • Quickpull says:

      It also appears you are required to own a computer. This is bullshit

      • killias2 says:

        Jesus Christ, these money grubbing companies with their “must be used on a computer” DRM. I’m sick of this shit. Why can’t we go back to the gold years, when lollipops fell from the sky like delicious candied rain-drops, before the Great Shadow of Facebook and Steam and whatever else people are bitching about nowadays.

      • SandmanXC says:

        #dealwithit

    • Carr0t says:

      Because anyone who is of legal age to play (and thus beta test) the game can create a Facebook account. Just because you don’t *want* to doesn’t mean you *can’t*.

  3. Rossi says:

    I love the beta so far. I do feel that the blizzard effect on snow maps is a little over the top but it does force you to think when you hear that a blizzard is on the way.

    I played CoH online passionately for quite a while before THQ pulled the plug and its nice to see they’ve implemented the persistent commander aspect to the game.

    It still needs quite a bit of work to be as polished as COH1 though. The tactical map makes it hard to distinguish your units from others, some units have a hard time navigating the map in general and the AI isn’t quite on par with COH1 and seems to like spamming mortars and AT guns. But its still a great game.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      The AI’s generally much better and more aggressive than before. It uses a lot of mortars because mortars murder everything. AT guns are much more frequent for the Soviet AI because it’s a much better counter to German tanks than Soviet tanks and even tank destroyers, which are not bad but need a lot of support to work.

    • Unruly says:

      You mean you played a version of COH where the enemy AI didn’t spam mortars and AT guns at you?

      Every match I play against any German AI in CoH is filled with mortar crews and PaK 38s, if Wehrmacht, or mortar halftracks and Hetzers, if Panzer Elite. Playing against the Americans they send a ton of paratroopers and M57 AT guns my way. British, they just send tons and tons of Churchill tanks.

      But that isn’t even my biggest complaint. My biggest complaint is that the AI cheats, and it cheats HARD. Like launching commander ability artillery strikes into the fog of war, having a massive permanent income at higher difficulties, and reduced cooldowns on their abilities. I understand that AI won’t be a perfect replacement for a human opponent, but it also shouldn’t need to cheat so blatantly anymore. From what I remember was said about StarCraft 2, Blizzard seems to have made their AI smarter and reduced or eliminated the need for it to cheat. Relic should strive for that with CoH 2.

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Don’t mind tossing my most anticipated game a free ‘like’

  5. Cinek says:

    Is it just me or they made no progress in terms of detail or animations since COH1?

    This trailer looks more like COH expansion pack than COH2.

    • shagohad says:

      the animations are different, much more human looking if that makes sense lol, I guess there is more momentum in their actions?

      The only thing that seems silly is that there is a level based progression that unlocks bonuses. I really dont see the need for that in a multiplayer strategy game…..you should all be equal from the start, thats where the skill shine through

    • OfficerMeatbeef says:

      Hmmm, well I don’t know about that yet but CoH had some amazingly great detail and animations anyway (I daresay the best animation in any RTS ever frankly, but then to be fair it’s pretty much the only one I ever spent any real time playing myself) and if this one were to even just equal that I’d be plenty happy. Seriously, I loved watching replays on this just to zoom in close with the Cinematic Cam or whatever it was and see all my little army men doing their army stuff in a such a varied and dynamic way.

      You wanna talk detail? I was honestly gobsmacked when I zoomed in on a German MG bunker and saw the guy manning the MG42, as a part of his idle animations, open the top cover to check the rounds in there! They actually modeled those tiny moving parts on that tiny little gun model even though, unless you’re specifically messing around with camera for cinematic effect, that unit might as well just be a gun barrel protruding out of the darkness of a concrete box. That’s more detail than you’ll see in the 3d-person animations of most FPSs! Sooooo cool.

  6. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    If I “like” on Facebook how do they get the key to me? A facebook message?

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Ah I see, they don’t actually send you a code… You click through Facebook stuff.
      You have to do more than simply “like” a page.
      Company of Heroes 2 would like to access your public profile, friend list, email address, birthday and current city.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        You can get the key then “unlike” and remove the app easily enough. yay. :D

        • Gesadt says:

          or just create fake fb account for crap like this. used to be you only need another email account specifiaclly for registering various crap accounts etc, nowadays looks like facebook one is needed aswell.

          • Mattressi says:

            I tried this once before (I don’t use Facebook at all), but it wanted me to give it my phone number before I could do anything (or even log on with my new account). It didn’t even use a good pick-up line before asking me :(

            Any way to get around this? I wouldn’t mind giving the CoH2 beta a go, but I’m not giving Facebook my phone number to get it.

          • killias2 says:

            FB doesn’t require a phone number. I haven’t created an account in years, but you probably just need to leave a space empty or skip a step or something. I don’t have a phone number attached to my account, and I’ve never heard a peep out of FB about it.

          • Lanfranc says:

            Mattressi: Well, no one says you have to give it your real phone number if you don’t want to.

          • Lamb Chop says:

            867-5309.

  7. BrightCandle says:

    The problem with a facebook like is that assumes I like it, and yet how do I know if I haven’t played it yet. I could argue that I like the fact they are going into beta but then this is just another word for a demo, and a demo doesn’t need to be liked it, its there to sell the game.

    Why put hoops in front of your sales mechanism? Because you want to use me as part of your marketing for free. I must be quite rare in finding this attempt to use me as abhorrent as so many people are playing this. £40 game on steam unseen for beta access or sell my soul to the devil for some demo play.

    Maybe they don’t get how this works, they convince me that I want to buy their product and then I buy it. But don’t make the only way to reach me require me to go out of my way, I am lazy and have principles and this attempt at corporate crowd marketing is not really appealing to me.

    • aldo_14 says:

      Beta is only another word for ‘demo’ if you’re not doing a proper beta, though. And if you are doing a proper beta, then I’d imagine you want a way to track how many and who are participating in it.

      Yes, the term is misused by marketing nowadays – but it’s also misused by gamers in reciprocation.

    • killias2 says:

      “£40 game on steam unseen for beta access or sell my soul to the devil for some demo play.”

      Give us a heads up when you finally get off that cross you’re nailed to.

    • Quickpull says:

      Hey. You’re that guy who liked a video game on facebook, then later decided he didn’t actually like it. How can I trust ANYTHING you like now? You know, on facebook? Do you actually like that new band you heard the other day, or did you just “like” it? Is this really a picture of your cat, or did you just steal someone else’s? Do you even own a cat? What the hell man, you used to have principles.

  8. Hunchback says:

    I knew that FB account i never use might come in handy at some point!

    • killias2 says:

      This is the thing.. for all the people bitching and whining, just take two seconds to make a bullshit Facebook account. Get the beta. Unlike the page. Never worry about it again.

  9. eroticfishcake says:

    Just got my code and downloading it now. For the record when you like the page it does the standard “This app would like access to your account.” Just say yes and click on the “Reveal Code” to your access code. Pretty painless really.

    Now excuse me while I take a long, hot shower.

  10. Hunchback says:

    Played a while… God, why does it have to cost 50 euros when i am broke? :(

  11. FriendlyFire says:

    Having played the closed beta for a bit, I can say I’m really enjoying this. The combat feels great, the sounds are so much better (and they were already pretty good in CoH1) and the new mechanics are interesting. I’m still not entirely used to blizzards, but they open up a lot of interesting possibilities like attacking with tanks or using sniper squads (which don’t get cold) to sneak up on the enemy during the blizzard. Likewise, I’m expecting some really great stuff with the new fog of war system.

    The balance is pretty good, but there’s already a few things noted like mortars being perhaps a bit too powerful or precise. I’d say it’s one of Relic’s better game balances near launch. There are still a few bugs, especially with off-map unit spawning causing certain units to get stuck off-map (almost always AI-controlled units). Pathfinding is good but not great, you still need to micro tanks if you don’t want them to expose their backside to the entire enemy army all the time. Thankfully they’ve added a reverse move button.

    Overall I’m impressed by the feel of the game and just how fun it is. Highly recommended, especially with friends.

  12. Discopanda says:

    I’m a bit worried. I miss when units were highly valuable, and stationary defenses were a viable method of playing. It seems like the GIANT BLOB rush is the best strategy now :(

    Unlockables/DLC/armies fighting each other also gives me the willies in a slightly bad way :(

    • Vandelay says:

      Can you not lay mines and barbed wire any more? That was previously quite a large part of the game, if you wanted that play style, so surprised they would drop it.

      As for the unlocks etc. I might be wrong or thinking of a different game, but I was under the impression that none of this effected the MP game. I hope that is correct, as I will pretty much lose all interest in this game otherwise and I was really looking forward to a great RTS game.

    • Rollin says:

      I think unlockables do affect multiplayer, they certainly show up there for me. You even unlock some of the different commanders persistently (I have 4 for germans now rather than the normal 3 that CoH offered)

      The barbed wire and bunkers are still there, but wire can’t be reliably used to block an approach, I used 3 layers once and couldn’t block a route off properly, ended up just making it hard to get through. Building placement in general is worse. Tank traps are missing right now too. Also Russians don’t have bunkers yet, but one of the loading screens hints they might get them.

      In general I find it much harder to settle down in one spot because of the constant mortar spam from the AI and the fact that mortars are now OP. Maybe they’ll fix all this and add defenses back in to the game for release, but right now it’s a pale imitation of the original.

  13. coldvvvave says:

    I’m not sure if I want to play this game. Even just an MP. A bit of a heavy subject.

  14. Rollin says:

    So to play the sequel to the best game ever made, you need to log in to the worst website ever made.

    Somehow seems poetic.

    • hotmaildidntwork says:

      You must trudge through Hell to get to the Gates of Heaven?

      (Alternate: Gates of Heaven 2: The Heavenening “This Time It’s Biblical!”)

  15. dmastri says:

    Preordered. Been playing for a few days. I hate it at first. The UI is garbage. I miss the finesse of COH1, but I see what they are going for. I’ll learn to love it I think.