Community Announcements - Fralex_RE
Community Announcements - Fralex_RE
PC Gamer

The grim beauty of Company of Heroes is that it gives aspirant World War II strategists a bird s eye view of battlefield and takes them down into the brutal detail of the foxhole. It s a war sim experienced from above and below, where the general sees all his decisions—good and bad—played out in realtime.

Relic s original 2006 RTS game was a hit partly because of the delicate way it walked a line that felt satisfying and authentic. With the WWII experience already so well-executed in other genres—shooters and grand strategy sims—COH found a middle ground where it could show the conflict from a new angle. From its squad-based point of view, the tide of battle in COH could be turned by the presence of a single soldier or unit. This perspective also nodded to the intensely personal stories in films like Saving Private Ryan and the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, both of which had appeared in the previous decade and enjoyed near-universal acclaim.

In this edition of If you like, I ve picked media that takes a similar, soldier s-eye-view approach to WWII. They aren t stories of far-removed commanders or politicians, but rather the men who had to carry out their orders in the various theaters of the 20th century s most brutal war. Given the scope of WWII, any list of recommendations could be almost endless. So with that in mind, be sure to include your own favorites in the comment section below.

Stalingrad, directed by Joseph Vilsmaier

With Company of Heroes 2, the series took its successful squad-based approach to the Eastern Front of the war. And in a way that reflected the much bloodier reality of the conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union in the east, the game adopted a darker tone as well. In the 1993 German film Stalingrad, we witness the full arc of the famous battle played out through the eyes of a group of tight-knit German soldiers.

Stalingrad traces the story of an elite German unit as it takes part in what would turn out to be one of the turning points of the entire war. The Battle of Stalingrad played out in the city s bombed out streets, sewer tunnels, and eventually its frozen countryside as the German army became surrounded. The film is ultimately a story of failure, but also one of friendship as resistance to the horrors of war.

COH 2 s turn to the east can also be seen as part of an increased focus in recent years on the cost borne by Eastern Europe during and after WWII. For a historical account of these developments, I d recommend taking a look at author Timothy Snyder s recent contribution to our understanding of the Eastern Front—Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.

War Stories, written by Garth Ennis with various artists

War Stories

In War Stories, comics writer Garth Ennis turns his pen towards a variety of true-to-life experiences during WWII. Noted for his work on comics like Preacher and Punisher, in War Stories Ennis attempts to ground the larger conflict in discrete tales of individuals caught up in unpredictable circumstances.

The eight-issue series, now collected in two volumes, has a scope that takes in battles all over the European theater, from North Africa to the Battle of Britain to the final days on the Eastern Front before Germany s surrender. In reviewing Ennis s work, Colin Smith notes that his writing isn t a tale of events which feel as if they re nothing but ancient history, long since settled and entirely predictable in hindsight. In taking us away from the commonplace and focusing on the lives of his small cast of touchingly-depicted individuals, Ennis constantly compels us to remember how chaotic and unpredictable his character s lives are.

If you see COH as I do, as somehow tipping its hat to warfare as carefully-managed chaos, it s worth checking out Ennis s War Stories.

Kelly s Heroes, directed by Brian G. Hutton

If the dirty, impressionistic violence of Saving Private Ryan changed how a new generation of filmgoers saw WWII, then Kelly s Heroes serves as a reminder of an earlier approach to depicting the war. In the 1970 film starring Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland, war is hell, but it s also a hell of an adventure. If you were to reverse engineer Saving Private Ryan as a kind of twisted, 1960s WWII Western, it might look something like Kelly s Heroes.

The basic story deals with a group of disillusioned American soldiers who go AWOL in order to rip off a bank behind enemy lines. Sick of feeling like pawns in the ambitious games of crazy generals, the soldiers set out to win a piece of the war that they can take home with them—gold. It s pure Hollywood but also hugely entertaining. The combat set pieces in the film range over the French countryside and could be ripped right out of the COH campaign. And as with so many older films that deploy practical effects well, the tank battles and infantry skirmishes have aged quite nicely.

Kelly s Heroes doesn t shy away from showing the costs of warfare, but rather confronts it with a kind of sarcastic humor and fantasy that s also become an important artifact in dealing with the legacy of WWII.

The Young Lions, by Irwin Shaw

The Young lions

Of all the American combat novels to appear after the conclusion of World War II, three proved to be definitive: James Jones s The Thin Red Line, Norman Mailer s The Naked and the Dead, and Irwin Shaw s The Young Lions. And of those, only Shaw s 1948 work deals with the war in Europe rather than the Pacific.

Epic in its ambition, Shaw weaves together the story of three soldiers fighting on different sides of the war. Direct and suitably unadorned, his style is excellent at bringing the reader into the moment-by-moment experience of combat: The firing stopped and it was quiet again, except for shouts from the wounded out in the field. When a man raised his head carefully to look over the embankment to see what could be done, the guns started again, and the grass on the edge of the embankment snapped and slashed through the air as the bullets cut through it. The remnants of the Company lay exhausted, then, along the ditch.

What The Young Lions captures so vividly is the psychological dimension of combat and the way it changes the people caught up in it. The novel also highlights the almost absurd disconnect that exists between the fighting men on the ground and the commanders giving orders from eighty miles away. Just as COH closes this distance with its realtime approach, Shaw s writing excels at telling stories of the war as it was fought in the ditch rather than the war room. 

For more installments of If you like... , check out Patrick s recommendations for Dead SpaceThe Witcher, Dishonored, Mass Effect, Skyrim, Fallout 3, and Deus Ex fans. 

PC Gamer

While this week's main Humble Bundle is chumming about with region locked Nintendo games, the Weekly Bundle is well worth your attention. It is an awful lot of video game war for not a lot of money. Specifically, it is Relic video game war.

Here's what paying what you want will get you:

  • Company of Heroes: Complete Edition
  • Dawn of War: Game of the Year Edition
  • Dawn of War 2
  • Company of Heroes 2 - The Western Front Armies: Oberkommando West

Yes, it's a bit odd to include Company of Heroes 2's standalone multiplayer expansion without the game it's based on. But if you pay above the average, you'll also get:

  • Company of Heroes 2
  • Company of Heroes 2 - The Western Front Armies: US Forces
  • Dawn of War 2: Retribution
  • Warhammer 40K: Space Marine

Should you extend your payment to $15 you'll also get Company of Heroes 2's most recent expandalone, Ardennes Assault.

There are some RTS classics nestled in there. It's worth dipping in just for Dawn of War: Retribution's excellent Last Stand multiplayer mode.

The bundle will run until Thursday, June 4.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alice O'Connor)

If we seem cynical and suspicious of the many Warhammer 40,000 games we’ve seen in recent years, it’s because we judge them against the high-water mark of Relic Entertainment’s 40k games. Dawn of War with its real-time strategising, Dawn of War II with its added action-RPG-ish flair, and Space Marine with its head-stomping are as good as we’ve had 40k in recent years. So huzzah! For the next week you can get the lot for just a few quid.

The latest Humble Weekly Bundle focuses on Relic, with a load of Dawn of War, Space Marine, and Company of Heroes games depending on how much you fancy paying. CoH is good too.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Adam Smith)

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made. From intricate wargames to soothing peacegames, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we’ve gathered the best of the best. The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
Company of Heroes 2 The Western Front Armies

Company of Heroes 2 is returning to the setting of Company of Heroes 1 with The Western Front Armies, a standalone expansion that's coming out in June for $20. It includes two armies: the US forces and the German Oberkommando and eight new multiplayer maps set in the green, unfrozen lands of the Western Front. There are no single player missions or Theater of war Scenarios mentioned, so it looks like an expansion designed to feed the multiplayer scene, which has been quietly warring away since launch last year.

Though Western Front Armies is standalone, it'll share a multiplayer pool with Company of Heroes 2, which means whatever combination of the two you own, you can be automatched onto any of the 31 maps alongside any army. Buying the original game or the expansion will make their included armies playable, and let you create custom games with the included maps. Sega also note that the armies will be available separately for $12.99 each.

There's also mention of a "new progression system" that will let you unlock "unique content" that'll let players "dive deeper into the tactical and strategic aspects of the game". I don't know what that means, but it might have something to do with the tiny unit upgrades and skins you can unlock with the current experience system.

Here are a few shots from the Xpack. Shermans! Paratroopers! I'm having happy flashbacks to the first game.

PC Gamer
Company of Heroes

Sega used to spend their time faffing about with console boxes and a blue hedgehog. Now they spend their time more productively: publishing cool PC games (and occasionally trying to resurrect the blue hedgehog). Sometimes these many projects collide into a single, gloriously incomprehensible mess of different games and styles. It happened with the bizarrely compelling Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed - a game in which an anthropomorphic fox could lose a kart race to the football manager from Football Manager. It's also now happened with this week's Humble Weekly Sale.

The pack collects some of the publisher's more celebrated series, along side smaller projects and a collection of classic console games.

At the lowest pay-what-you-want tier, you'll get Alpha Protocol, Company of Heroes, Rome: Total War and Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. Pay more than $5.99 and you'll also receive The Typing of the Dead: Overkill, Binary Domain, Renegade Ops, Medieval 2: Total War, and a collection of 10 old "Genesis" games. The Genesis, in case you're unaware, is what incorrect people call the Mega Drive.

The deal also includes Total War: Shogun 2, available for purchases over $14.99. In addition to supporting Sega, the money will also go towards the following charities: Make-A-Wish, Whale & Dolphin Conservation, Willow, Special Effect and GamesAid. As always, the bundle's sliders will let you choose exactly where your money will go.

It's probably one of the best Weekly Sales that Humble have run in some time. Company of Heroes, Rome: Total War, and Medieval 2: Total War are often considered among the best entries of their respective series. In addition, Alpha Protocol and Renegade Ops are definitely worth checking out for the sort of price you can grab them for here. Also, there are a few Mega Drive games - including the Golden Axes. Weirdly, there's no Sonic anywhere in sight, although at this point, maybe it's for the best.

The Sega Humble Weekly Sale will run until March 20th.
Community Announcements - Relic_Noun
<a href=""><img class="alignnone wp-image-245" alt="Smokey Village" src="" width="614" height="436" /></a>


This weekend new troops are being sent to the Eastern Front as <em>Company of Heroes 2</em> is having its first ever <a title="Steam Free Weekend" href="">Steam Free Weekend</a>.

Starting today and running until Sunday January 19th all Steam members will be able to play <em>Company of Heroes 2</em> for free. No conditions, no catches, it’s the full Company of Heroes 2 experience and it’s a click away for all Steam members. Players will be able to experience the full single-player campaign, the single player and co-op Theater of War experience in Operation Barbarossa and of course the <em>CoH2</em> multiplayer.

Veterans of <em>CoH2</em> will not only have new allies and enemies to faceoff with in multiplayer this weekend, but as an additional bonus we are unlocking all of the game’s paid DLC commanders for four days of play. So if there’s been a Commander you’ve wanted to try on the battlefield then this is your chance.

As an additional bonus multiplayer automatch games will be awarding ten times the experience all weekend. Yup, that’s right 10x XP all weekend long for any automatch game.

Have a friend who you think would love<em> Company of Heroes 2</em>? This is the weekend to get them playing the game. And as an added bonus the game will be <a title="Company of Heroes 2 on Steam" href="">66% off on Steam</a>, allowing everyone who loves playing it for free to keep it for a very low price.

Welcome to <em>Company of Heroes 2</em>, we’ll see you on the front lines.

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