Friday 29 September 2006
There's a sense of prejudice against Company Of Heroes from the off. First off, it's an RTS, that most staid of genres. Second, it's an RTS set in the Second World War. "WW2 is a genre in and of itself," said one studio head recently. "A genre we tire of," replied the world. War weariness isn't limited to those who watch the TV news.
Stave off that shellshock. Company Of Heroes is a truly excellent game. It is tightly balanced, technologically impressive, rarely dull and constantly challenging.
For RTS veterans it has a precision of play, fluidity of battle and refinement of pacing that still seems to outwit the vast bulk of other, notionally similar games.
For newcomers, the sheer visceral intensity - ground-shaking, earth-scattering explosions and an approach to ragdoll physics which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'infantry detachment' - bridges the gap between involvement and engagement which alienates many from the genre.
In fact, dismiss any concerns you may have over the well-trod setting. The only prejudice you could hold against Company Of Heroes is the thin side selection - Russia and Japan presumably waiting off-map, to be called in for the inevitable expansion packs.