Company of Heroes 2 Beta Preview: Da, Tovarisch!
There’s more, however. COH2 — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — features an extensive meta-game. By contesting both single- and multiplayer matches, players will earn experience and gain levels. Upon gaining certain levels, they will be rewarded with cosmetic vehicle skins, “intel bulletins,” which offer marginal bonuses to certain unit types, and — most crucially — new commanders. The retail version of the game will feature an extensive list of commanders for each faction to choose from, and players will assemble three-commander “loadouts” that they can swap around between matches, carefully refining strategy.
Relic is no doubt taking care to ensure that the higher-level unlocks don’t give dedicated players an unfair advantage. Balance is important in any multiplayer-focused title, and this has proven true during the COH2 closed beta, which, to be fair, is the appropriate opportunity to work out kinks. Flamethrowers and mortars have purportedly received a subtle nerf. Many believe that the authentically inferior Soviet armor simply can’t compete in the late game, when German tanks take on an aura of invincibility. Challenges posed by new 3v3 and 4v4 gametypes are still being worked out.
While they probably won’t fix the problems with the interface, I expect Relic’s designers to get this balance right. Wehrmacht players may have an advantage at the moment. Then again, Wehrmacht tactics have changed very little since the original game and its expansions. Playing as the Soviets is a whole new challenge, and it’s just a matter of time before the dedicated desk-chair generals and shoutcasters in the Company of Heroes community figure it out. When they do, look out Berlin.
Company of Heroes 2 releases June 25