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Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor – PC Gamer's hands-on

In Relic’s other big project, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, the veteran RTS developer has shifted its focus away from building up bases and divisions of disposable troops, putting more emphasis on tactical control of a smaller number of units. Tales of Valor - the second expansion to one of our very favorite real-time strategy games ever, Company of Heroes - features three mini-campaigns designed to run around an hour and a half each and to continue that trend, focusing on a handful of squads.

I played a mission from the first campaign, which for the first time puts you in command of the German Vermacht. It’s a politically delicate situation Relic says it’s handling with great care; the comic book–like cut-scenes I saw portrayed German soldiers as men swept up in the war who didn’t necessarily share the Nazi ideology, and more than anything just wanted to get home to their families. The setting was Villers Bocage, a small town in Normandy, France. Relic says the mission is based on a true story of how a single Tiger tank fends off a full battalion of British armor, so I was given a lone tank to control. Good thing the Tiger Ace is the meanest tank in the game.

As I gave orders, the unit acknowledgement sounds were chatter from the same characters I’d seen in cut-scenes - a nice bit of continuity. I maneuvered my Tiger around buildings to take potshots at the enemy, and what little fire I took mostly bounced off the Tiger’s thick plates. Every kill awarded me munitions, unlike the original campaign and multiplayer, where you received resources based on captured territory. This is a much more action-oriented style of play.

Just as I was getting warmed up with the Tiger’s 7.5 cm cannon, the tank’s notoriously unreliable machinery broke down, rendering me immobile. While my crew worked to repair the engine, I got to play with an entirely new feature: direct turret control. Toggling direct fire mode, the Tiger’s turret tracked my mouse around the screen and fired on command, blasting enemies hoping to capitalize on my moment of weakness.

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12 comments

  • magicwalnuts0 - December 8, 2008 7:25 a.m.

    the German Wehrmacht was the name of the German army/navy and it does mean warmachine, he mentions this because the Whermacht weren't Nazis, they were just German soldiers.
  • Muzlie - December 7, 2008 11:47 p.m.

    It's not the spelling of Wehrmacht thats wrong it's the fact that he said the Tiger has a 7.5cm cannon, that's 13mm to small, the tiger had a 8.8cm cannon, the 7.5 was equipped by panzers and panthers.
  • alazar - December 6, 2008 3:03 a.m.

    I think this is more of a RPG or FPS than an rts. the whole tank shoots at mouse pointer seems odd. I prefer RA3 for small scale tacticals, thanks you very much. However, supcomm is the way to go for RTS. Huge scale, well designed, and supcom 2 comes out in a few years. If your pc can handle it
  • killzone_dude - December 4, 2008 12:30 a.m.

    cool and 6th
  • Lavek26 - December 3, 2008 10:45 p.m.

    i love the CoH series so this one looks better plus he wrote wehrmacht because it's pronouced vehrmacht
  • America_FTW - December 3, 2008 8:29 p.m.

    actually major, ive seen the word vermacht and wehrmacht, idk wut it meens but i think its war machine? i believe ver- refers to veterans since like the article said its about a tank that fended off a whole battalion of armor
  • maxx1 - December 3, 2008 1:01 a.m.

    Second and the game looks cool too
  • 8run8 - December 9, 2008 5:20 a.m.

    I been playing CoH since launch and the only thing i want to see is; play balance. Relics needs to find the middle ground between historical accuracy and multi-player fair play.
  • Major Vasily - December 4, 2008 11:29 a.m.

    Vermacht (vermachen) means to devise while Wehrmacht means defense force. I see no similarity.
  • Sebastian16 - December 4, 2008 5:23 a.m.

    Hey dumb, there's no difference between Wehrmacht and Vermacht. It's a word from a different language, there's no PROPER spelling for it in our own language. Vermacht is how it's pronounced, so he's correct. English nubs.
  • Major Vasily - December 3, 2008 11:18 a.m.

    It's pretty pathetic when a writer for PC gamer doesn't know how to spell Wehrmacht.
  • HarbingerXIII - December 3, 2008 12:47 a.m.

    First and the game looks cool

Showing 1-12 of 12 comments

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