PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault first look – a lengthy new solo campaign starring US forces">Ardennes Assault 1

The standalone expansion for Company of Heroes 2 will give players another opportunity to thump the AI in a lengthy single-player RTS campaign set during the Battle of the Bulge. It's significantly bigger than the Eastern front campaign included in CoH2, which makes the addition of unit permadeath especially challenging. If you lose a squad to a stray mortar, or a flanking heavy machine gun, they're not coming back for the next mission. If your veteran Sherman gets pancaked by an airstrike you'll leave its burned out remains on that battlefield forever. Good news, strategy fans, Company of Heroes is about to get harder.

An obvious first question for game director and Relic veteran, Quinn Duffy, then: if you keep throwing men recklessly to their doom, can you completely screw yourself before the campaign is done? You can screw yourself over and you can sort of lose, and we've built it with the hardcore audience in mind for that. If you're looking for that type of experience, similar to XCOM, you can have that, he says. There's not a sort of hard line 'you just played a mission and completely screwed yourself', it's a lot of setbacks. When you get one of those setbacks the hope is the player's going to reassess their situation.

I'm reminded of 1998's Warhammer: Dark Omen, which carried a particularly gruelling implementation of a similar system. It's a better fit for the US forces in the Ardennes, famously cut off from reinforcements during the siege of Bastogne. For lead campaign designer, Mitch Lagran, permadeath fulfils one key purpose: we want there to be consequence to decisions. Consequence adds tension, it adds drama, it adds to that mission narrative because there's things at stake in a way that we haven't done.

The sprawling nature of the Eastern front made it difficult to follow a single band of soldiers through the whole conflict. Ardennes is different. Your company levels up between missions, which will unlock rewards. Relic's designers aren't talking about what those rewards are yet, but it's easy to speculate based on the recently added war spoils system that lets you socket buffs into units to make them slightly better at shooting guns and ducking bullets. Thanks to the evolving company, and scarce, precious units, there's more reason to become invested in your army in Ardennes than any prior CoH campaign.

I watched Duffy and Lagran fight through a single mission in a heavy forest surrounding a snug Belgian village. Duffy performs an efficient cover-to-cover sprint up the right flank, shrinking back at the occasional appearance of a German half-track. The town is taken after a difficult, noisy exchange of grenades and gunfire. The battle is heavily weighted around infantry and close-quarters fighting, encouraged by the intricate layout of the townlet's narrow streets. I only see one run of the mission, but I'm told it can be approached in various ways. You can go left, you can go right, you can go up the middle, you can cross over halfway and go up left. There are lots of pathways fighting in and around the village itself, says Duffy.

Each of those different routes actually has different styles of gameplay and different things that players can do there, Lagran adds. I've played the mission so many times, obviously. I've driven straight up the front right through the most heavily defended parts and I've done it pretty successfully, but it's a completely different experience from when I've gone left side and tried to do super-sneaky and stealth it.

At a glance the US force closely resembles the one released in the recent Western Front Armies standalone multiplayer release, which marked a return for fan and dev favourites like Paratroopers and, as Duffy describes it, the much-maligned Sherman tank. This reflects a new cadence of releases that sees Relic building multiplayer armies, and then designing single-player campaigns around them later. The resulting campaign is hopefully better for the six months of player metrics and playtesting, but should also bring the single-player and multiplayer armies closer together. That ought to make it easier for players that traditionally only fight the AI to hop into CoH2's expanding multiplayer ecosystem, or so the designers hope.

Ardennes Assault marks the end of a busy year for Company of Heroes 2. Incremental updates have tightened up performance, a new server system has improved online drop rates, and numerous balance tweaks have polished it up very nicely. It's a promising trend for a game that wants to become a World War 2 platform, capable of travelling between the war's varied theatres over the course of a long life of updates. Blatantly fishing for clues on CoH's future, I ask Duffy how he pictures Company of Heroes 2 five years from now. Vast, he laughs. It would be awesome if it was vast.

Ardennes Assault will arrive November 18 as a standalone release.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault announced, relives Battle of the Bulge">Company of Heroes 2

Company of Heroes 2 s latest standalone expansion was described by Winston Churchill as undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war. Well, he wasn't referring to the expansion per se because Churchill is long dead (sorry to break it to you), but rather the battle it s based on the Battle of the Bulge.

In this single-player expansion set in 1944, you control three US companies as they first defend against the relentless German Oberkommando West forces in the densely forested Ardennes, and then try to push them back out. Expect more dynamic weather, environmental destruction, and shouty men.

Over a whopping 18 scenarios, you have three entirely new US companies to utilise, each with their own unique play styles and officers. Choices matter in this chilly crucible. Apparently upgrades, units and Veterancy carry between missions, so lose what limited forces you have and they re gone for good.

It s an innovative approach of developing content, separating the multiplayer which we shipped in June and now this one that s coming out in November. Having that space between them really allows us to focus on the best elements of each, says Quinn Duffy, creative director. We re producing more content this time.

Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault is set to drop November 18.
Product Release - Valve
6 new Commanders for Company of Heroes 2 is Now Available on Steam and are 25% off!*

The new commanders are:
US Forces Commander: Recon Support Company
US Forces Commander: Mechanized Company
US Forces Commander: Rifle Company
OKW Commander: Elite Armor Doctrine
OKW Commander: Scavenge Doctrine
OKW Commander: Fortifications Doctrine

Check out the full list of commanders here.

*Offer ends July 30 at 10AM Pacific Time

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies trailer explains ‘War Spoils’, offers exclusive loot">Company of Heroes 2 The Western Front Armies

Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies is out, and, as explained in our review, provides welcome rejuvenation to Relic's strategy sequel. In this new trailer, the game's executive producer Greg Wilson explains the standalone expansion's* new War Spoils feature. Also he jumps out of a plane.

War Spoils are rewards earned for playing the game. You can get new commanders, passive buffs or cosmetic skins and Relic plan to expand this system in the future, with even more types of bonus content. As mentioned in the video, right now, there's also free paratrooper faceplate to be nabbed. Head here to secure your loot.

*I was going to use the word "expandalone" here, because "expandalone" is a brilliant word. Unfortunately, I am alone in holding this opinion.
Community Announcements - Relic_Noun
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies review">Western Armies review1

Company of Heroes 2 has spent the last year being tweaked, balanced, and building an online community, and the latest DLC, the Western Front Armies, is a great step at advancing that success. The main game didn t do so hot with scripting and acting out a campaign storyline, so this DLC ditches that: there s no new single-player included. Instead, the focus is entirely on adding new blood to the multiplayer servers with the arrival of the German Oberkommando West and the US Army.

CoH2 was a big improvement over the first Company of Heroes in many ways, but when we changed the theater of war we left our favorite armies and playstyles behind. Bringing those legendary units and battlefields into the new graphics and physics engines of CoH2 feels better than an upgrade: playing as the Western Germans and the Americans after spending so much time with them in the CoH1 is like welcoming old friends to your fancy new house.

The German Army runs on organization. Unlike the other armies, the German Oberkommandos begin with a single headquarters building and a supply truck. In order to build more advanced units, the supply truck needs to be driven onto captured ground and converted into one of three mobile HQ buildings, one each (roughly speaking) for support, armor, and defense. Converting the truck takes some time and resources, but the end result is a network of reinforced hardpoints that invading armies will have to slowly chew through.

The first German supply truck converts into the Battlegroup Headquarters while soldiers provide cover.

Playing as the Oberkommandos is an exercise in heavy, awkward hardware. The West German Army has only three infantry unit types supported by a dozen varieties of vehicles, but I noticed some repetition in the ranks. The SdKfz 251 and 251/17 half-tracks, for example, are essentially the same vehicle twice, except that the mark 17 specializes in attacking aircraft. While aircraft can be called in on bombing or strafing runs, they are so rare that I ve only seen them once or twice. In an effort to make the Oberkommando a more vehicle-heavy army, Relic sacrificed some unit individuality.

If the Germans run on supply chains, the Americans run on star power. Unlike any other army in CoH2, the American base begins fully formed. American players will have to work, however, to recruit the officers needed to run these supply lines. These officers are powerful individual units that allow you to field advanced infantry support, anti-tank, and armored units.Together, the two new armies are well-realized looks at the national attitudes and circumstances that inspired them. The Americans, well-equipped but far from home, slug it out against the Germans and their world-famous infrastructure.

I particularly loved diving into the Infantry specialization with the Americans. The basic rifleman squad can get upgraded weapons and abilities until they are resourceful, mobile, and powerful. A handful of rifle squads charging in with light vehicles for support is not only effective, it feels amazing. The adaptive mobility of the American forces in general make them kings of the early game, mopping up in the space before defensive lines have been set long enough to be heavily fortified. The US infantry does have one failing, and that is its weakness against buildings. I longed for a squad of engineers with demolition charges, and their omission feels a bit like an oversight. If the Americans need to destroy a bunker, they ll have to call in armor to do it for them.

The fully constructed American base bustles with activity.

This DLC isn t just about the new armies, it s about adding a shot of new energy to the existing CoH2 multiplayer landscape. There are eight new maps set on the Western front, and I found them all to be well-balanced and varied. The heavily hedgerowed Faymonville Approach map quickly became my favorite for one-on-one comp stomps.

These armies and maps fit neatly into the overall CoH2 ecosystem while maintaining their individual personalities. No matter what army I played, I ended up rolling out my tanks or fully upgrading my infantry in about the same amount of time. The new maps and armies mesh well with the existing game, and that s no small accomplishment.

If you ve been holding off on buying CoH2, you can dive straight into the multiplayer without buying the full game if you buy one of the two new DLC armies. I d say that $13 for a single army is too much, but since a new player can get access to the online servers, all other players, and all 31 of CoH2 s maps for a quarter the cost of the full game, I m inclined to call that a bargain instead of a fleecing. For long-running COH2 fans who already have access to all of that content, though, $20 for two new armies and a handful of maps is a bit steep.


Price: $13 / 10 for one army, $20 / 15 for the full DLC

Release date: Out now

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Relic

Multiplayer: Up to 4v4

Link: www.companyofheroes.com
Community Announcements - Relic_Noun

Brief Description: The SdKfz 182 Tiger B, most commonly known as the 'King Tiger' improves on the already vaunted capabilities of the Tiger by adding a higher-velocity KwK 43 L/71 88mm gun and more effective sloped armor. Powerful, but slow. Effective against all targets. Weak to massed anti-tank weapons.
Deployment Conditions: Requires Schwerer Panzer Headquarters
Deployed From: Schwerer Panzer Headquarters
Quote: Fire the main gun.


Pintle-mounted MG42 machine gun: Tank crew uses the pintle-mounted MG42 for additional defense against infantry and aircraft. Pintle machine gun offers some 1,200 rounds per minute of extra protection.

Spearhead: Focusing on a frontal assault, the King Tiger has faster turret rotation and a longer sight range, but the turret is locked to 90 degrees. Toggle ability. Turret rotation locked to forward 90 degrees, turret can track more quickly and sight range is increased.  

Combat Blitz: Tanks employ well-practiced Blitzkrieg tactics, moving at maximum speed to avoid some enemy fire.

Veterancy Levels
  • Rank 1: King Tiger can use Combat Blitz increasing the speed of the tank for a short period of time.

  • Rank 2: Elite crews operate the King Tiger with greater efficiency, acquiring targets faster and with greater accuracy.

  • Rank 3: Spearhead tactics increase the combat power of the vehicle, but restricts turret rotation to the front of the tank.

  • Rank 4: Battle hardened officers better synchronize their crew, increasing vehicle mobility and sight.

  • Rank 5: King Tiger navigates the battle field with ease and fires with greater frequency.


Known as the Tiger II or “King Tiger” the SdKfz 182 Tiger B is one of the most powerful German tanks operating on the Western Front. Combining thick armor with a sloping design for durability the tank weighs nearly seventy tons. Issued to heavy tank battalions it was first used in combat in the summer of 1944 during the Battle of Normandy.
The heavy armor and powerful long-range gun gives the King Tiger an advantage against US Forces and Soviet tanks that attempt to engage it head on. Allied armies need to flank the Tiger in order to get around its frontal armor and avoid its devastating KwK 43 L/71 8.8 cm caliber tank turret.

As a late game unit the Tiger B can crush the opposing army’s resistance and turn the tide on the field of battle.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Why The Western Front Armies could be the beginning of Company of Heroes 2′s bright future">Company of Heroes 2

The Western Front Armies reassures me that Company of Heroes 2 will have a stable and interesting future. I was upset when Relic and THQ abandoned their free-to-play version of the franchise in 2011, Company of Heroes Online, which we then thought highly enough of to put on our Top 100 PC Games list.

And it s clever of Relic, then, to release The Western Front in a way that feels slightly similar to free-to-play games. The expansion will add two armies to Company of Heroes 2 on June 24, but they ll be individually purchasable (or as a $20 package), meaning if you simply want to play as the US Forces, it ll be a modest $13 to do so. Relic strongly hinted to me that it intends to release more armies in the future, too: If the community wants armies we ll make them. I personally love working on and building armies because it s a lot of fun, but we ll continue supporting the game in big ways and in hundreds of little ways, Game Director Quinn Duffy told me. Speculating, that means there s a chance we ll see British, Japanese, or maybe Italian forces joining the game months down the line. I like the idea of these militaries serving as potential entry points for new players owning one army won t preclude you from playing against the others, of course.

What s best about this format for the expansion, though, is that The Western Front won t undercut the already-healthy custom map community (there s currently 1,500 entries in Steam Workshop) or the planned moddability of CoH2 that will follow TWFA s release. Duffy told me that Relic sees CoH2 as a WWII platform that it plans to work on for years to come, and this approach certainly doesn t contradict that both modders and Relic will be contributing content .

The plan is good, but so is the implementation, from what I ve seen. The match-and-a-half I played on two of The Western Front s new maps as the German Oberkommando West and US Forces was nothing but encouraging. Both armies have gotten tons of careful attention by Relic, whose animators continue to craft disproportionately expressive units. One of the iconic Oberkommando units, the Sturmtiger tank, is as nimble as a pregnant, armored mammoth, and you can hear its bassy engine struggling to push its weight, the audio for which is drawn from real recordings by Relic. And when the Sturmtiger finally launches its ridiculous, 380 mm rocket, the explosion temporarily deafens you if you ve got the camera nearby.

In controlling them, both new armies are distinct from CoH2 s existing forces, with the US operating as a hyper-versatile team focused on mobility and the Oberkommando being technologically advanced and outfitted with heavy tanks. And most of these playstyle distinctions seem to be driven by history. The US side performs well tactically by flanking, using cover, keeping mobile, and many of the game systems for the army support those approaches. Many of their tanks can fire very well on the move because tanks like the Sherman were equipped with gyro-stabilized gun mounts. They can also fire their abilities on the move to use smoke, for example, to cover their approach or their retreat away from the big enemy tanks, says Duffy. We describe the US as an army that bent, but didn t break, so the players need to be flexible, mobile, and not get into slug matches with heavier opponents. Find locations where their numbers can be used to make breakthroughs and grab territory, set up defensive lines with AT guns or artillery and look for the next tactical opportunity.

For the Oberkommando, it s interesting that Relic is trying to represent the battle-hardened but also resource-strapped state that the German army was in in late 1944. The OKW use their sWS Supply Half-tracks to gain extra resources from the map, but have to maintain supply lines effectively, says Duffy. Their half-tracks can also convert to their tech structures, each with a distinct role designed around creating battlefield synergy and team play. One building (the Mechanized Regiment HQ) can act as a retreat point where soldiers can be healed and reinforced, and the Battle Group HQ is equipped with a 3.7cm Flak cannon for effective area defense. It allows the OKW to really control their base territory plus-one and create and hold their own little Battle of the Bulge on every map. Duffy summarizes the style of the Oberkommando this way: Players have to grab territory, hold on, be active in the defense around a few hardpoints on the map, and use their mid-tier supporting vehicles and artillery options wisely. Heavy tanks can win the battle, but not the war.

The Western Front Armies should be a great start of Relic s next wave of work on Company of Heroes 2. Eight new maps, new content for mapmakers, UI improvements, a new War Spoils system, and better matchmaking are all part of the package in addition to the two armies, but maybe more heartening is Relic s commitment to making CoH2 moddable after the release of TWFA as it continues to add more content.
Community Announcements - Relic_Noun

Brief Description: Rear Echelon Troops are often caught up in combat augmenting frontline combat troops. Effective defenders and versatile, no army can do without them. Good for crewing team weapons, constructing defenses, hasty battlefield repairs, or last ditch infantry pushes.
Deployment Conditions: Starting Unit
Deployed From: Barracks
Quote: Shake a leg, let’s go!


Volley Fire: Rear Echelon Troops lay down a volume of fire with their rapid-firing carbines. While active, the targeted squad slowly becomes suppressed. Duration 15 seconds.

Razor Wire: Strings of razor-sharp barbed wire block access by infantry and cannot be vaulted.

Tank Traps: Tank traps can be built in a line and block all but the heaviest armored vehicles.

Repair: Repair vehicles, structures, or bridges.

Fighting Position: Build a small defensive structure. Can be upgraded with a Heavy Machine Gun. Holds one squad of infantry and provides cover. Rear Echelon Troops will use rifle grenades when garrisoned inside.

Fuel Cache: Generates Fuel income and secures the sector when placed on a territory point.

Munitions Cache: Generates Munitions income and secures the sector when placed on a territory point.

Hazard Removal Package: Squad loses firepower as a mine detector replaces one of their weapons. Allows Battlefield Mine Detection (Passive), unlocks Wire Cutters.

Wire Cutters: Used to cut through barbed wire fences or barbed wire fields.

Veterancy Levels
  • Rank 1: Rifle Training increases squad accuracy.

  • Rank 2: Increases the squad’s size to 5 and improves the ‘Repair’ ability.

  • Rank 3: Combat expertise increases squad survivability and weapon control while under fire.



Liberating Europe took a phenomenal amount of manpower. Estimates were that for every frontline soldier the USA fielded there were ten Americans in military support roles to keep that soldier fed, clothed, and healthy and with working equipment. While they rarely saw battle during the intense fighting between the US Forces and Germans on the Western Front there were times when rapidly fluctuating frontlines forced these troops into combat.

Less combat ready than frontline soldiers the Rear Echelon Troops make up for this with their ability to pitch in on the battlefield repairing vehicles and building structures or manning captured enemy weapons. Coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, support troops were largely conscripted into the war effort before being shipped to the European front.

Rear echelon troops were often cooks, chaplains, clerical staff, maintenance or quartermaster troops, armorers, stevedores, and military police. Typically they would not often see active combat, but cut off by the Germans from the rest of the army they often found themselves having to join the frontline soldier in combat.

The Rear Echelon Troop is your starting unit, and along with Riflemen the first unit you’ll be able to deploy from your base. Early on they will be useful for capturing territory, but by mid-game you may want to hold them back in support roles building defenses and repairing damaged vehicles and structures or use them to man enemy weapons as effective crews.
Community Announcements - Relic_Noun

Brief Description: Strumpioneers are tough combat troops whose primary tasks are creating or clearing battlefield obstacles and attacking enemy positions with their assault rifles. Can be upgraded to clear mines and cut wire.
Deployment Conditions: Starting Unit
Deployed From: Command Headquarters
Quote: Advance on that area!


Support Package: Squad loses firepower as a mine detector replaces one of their weapons. Also improves the Repair ability and allows the cutting of wire. Allows Battlefield Mine Detection (Passive) and unlocks Wire Cutter Ability.

Reinforced Barbed Wire: Reinforced barbed wire barricades prevent infantry and lighter vehicles from passing through. Use to block parts of the map or protect flanks.

Wire Cutters: Used to cut through barbed wire fences or barbed wire fields.

Repair: Repair vehicles, structures, or bridges.

Concussive Grenade: Infantry hit by the grenade will be staggered and slowed down for a period of time.

Salvage Operations: Use on wrecked vehicles / team weapons for 5 Fuel, abandoned vehicles for 12 Fuel.

Medical Supplies: Three boxes of Medical Supplies are dropped for infantry to pick up. Nearby infantry are healed when they pick up medical supplies.

Schu-Mine 42: An effective anti-personnel mine that can also disable vehicles. Effective against tanks and light vehicles it can also be triggered by infantry.

Veterancy Levels
  • Rank 1: Unlocks the ‘Medical Supplies’ veteran ability

  • Rank 2: Combat expertise increases squad survivability and weapon control while under fire.

  • Rank 3: Mechanical and structural expertise enables the squad to construct and repair objects faster. Unlocks the ‘Concussive Grenade’ veteran ability.

  • Rank 4: Advanced combat expertise increases squad survivability and weapon accuracy while under fire.

  • Rank 5: Combat expertise reduces the risk of repairing while under fire and increases weapon lethality.



Trained to deploy in advance of the main force of the German army a Sturmpioneer Squad was often tasked with clearing the way and preparing the staging area of the rest of the troops. Clearing out minefields, barbed wire obstacles and salvaging the wrecks of vehicles for additional resources, they proved their value throughout the battle.

As frontline troops they are battle hardened and not to be discounted in combat, though one of their objectives is to construct military obstacles such as wire entanglements and minefields. Equipped with MP44 Sturmgewehr Assault Rifles they can deal with enemy infantry effectively at short and medium ranges. They’re considered core infantry and are not just meant for support roles. Their firepower at close range works well maneuvering against enemy infantry while rifle-equipped infantry can engage from longer range.

By the time they faced off against the US Forces on the Western Front these troops had seen years of fighting leaving them tough, determined and dependable.

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