Company of Heroes 2: Western Front Armies Review: Old Meets New

The Company of Heroes 2: Western Front Armies DLC expands the offerings of Company of Heroes 2 without losing the essence of what made it popular.

When Company of Heroes 2 launched in June of last year, we praised it for preserving many of the original game’s strengths. A lackluster campaign held the game back a bit, but all in all, it was a worthy successor to one of the best RTS titles of the past few years. With the return of familiar armies from the first game, the sequel feels even more complete.

Company of Heroes 2 – The Western Front Armies
Platform: PC (Reviewed)
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: June 24, 2014 (Steam release)
MSRP: $19.99 (both armies), $12.99 (one army)
Available: Steam

The Western Front Armies DLC adds two familiar forces to the the base game: The German Oberkommando West and the US Army. If you’ve played the original game, these armies will be familiar to you, but there are some subtle differences.

The German Oberkommando West plays much like the German Army in World War II fought. It’s slow to build up, but becomes very powerful once it has all it units in place. Instead of constructing new buildings, supply trucks appear and must be placed in captured territory and converted to new buildings. It’s much slower than either the Russian or US armies, but once everything is in place, you’re left with a network of well-reinforced territories.

It’s also a vehicle-heavy option. The Oberkommado sports only three infantry units, but it more than makes up for it with support vehicles. There are multiple types of half-tracks, kubelwagens, and of course, panzers. There’s even the rarely-seen Königstiger (also known as the King Tiger), assuming you can amass enough resources to afford it. All of this makes for an army that’s slow to advance, but packs one hell of punch.

The US Army is nimble in comparison, representing the large numbers of men and materials the country poured into Europe. There’s no base building required here, as the US base begins the game already completed. Instead, you’ll spend the game recruiting officers. As you add new officers, they’ll unlock more specialized infantry, anti-tank, and support units.

But the real star of the US Army is the common infantryman. The basic unit can be refitted with new weapons and abilities until they’re far more powerful and useful than your typical basic unit. Give them a little support from armor, and they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with. The only letdown on the US Army side was the removal of the engineers. In the original CoH, US engineers could plant charges to drop bridges and buildings, and that’s something that’s sorely missed here. Instead, the US must rely on its armor to destroy buildings, and while it works, it’s not nearly as much fun.

The DLC also includes eight new Western Front maps, but you can play with the new armies on any of CoH2’s original 23 maps as well. As with the original maps, these new additions feel well balanced, and there’s a great mix of terrains. Additionally, you still have access to the huge library of player-made maps in the Steam Workshop.

There’s absolutely no additional campaign content in this DLC. Instead, the focus is entirely on multiplayer, and that’s a good thing. While the controversial campaign of the original had some great moments, Company of Heroes is a game best enjoyed in multiplayer, even if it’s only against the AI. Adding additional options and choices just makes it that much more fun.

The really unique thing about the Western Front Armies DLC is that you don’t need the original game to play it. Instead, you can pick up both armies in the DLC for 20 dollars, and with that you get access not only to the content from the DLC, but all the original game’s maps as well. If you’d prefer to just play one army, you can do that for only $13. It’s a great deal for anyone who wants to try out the game without sinking the full $40 into it, but the price does a feel a bit steep for those who already own CoH 2.

The Company of Heroes 2: Western Front Armies DLC is a nice addition to a strategy game that was already pretty darn good to start with. While the cost might be a bit steep for those of us who already own the game, it’s almost a no-brainer for folks who want to see what all the fuss is about without breaking the bank. All you need to do is pick a side and hit the battlefield.

Pros:

  • Adds in two familiar armies from the original game with a few twists.
  • New armies feel very balanced and fun to play.
  • Eight new maps that show the design polish you’d expect from Relic.
  • No campaign content means that the focus is squarely on multiplayer.
  • A pricing model that’s very attractive to new player.

Cons:

  • …even though it might feel a bit too expensive to fans who already own Company of Heroes 2.
  • No new campaign content means that fans of the original’s story will feel left out.

Final Score: 85/100


The Company of Heroes 2: Western Front Armies DLC was reviewed using a digital code provided by SEGA. GameFront employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.


Ron Whitaker is the managing editor at GameFront. Read more of his work here, and follow him and GameFront on Twitter: @ffronw and @gamefrontcom.

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