Company of Heroes - Part 2

As promised here are a few translated screens and explanations of the new gameplay. New gameplay is limited purely to the skirmishes and multiplayer aspect of the game. The campaign remains untouched. It is even subtitled, not dubbed. Text is changed obviously, but you'll hear all the old familiar voices if you've played this before. Mission briefings are completely in English, but they're fairly straightforward anyway. I'm not really going to provide any in game screenshots or video, because the web is full of screenshots of the game. Currently it seems that this is the base game with no expansions. So there British and the second German faction are absent. If you have never played Company of Heroes in English I recommend giving a play guide a quick once over so that you become familiar with the icons for special abilities, or just experiment.

The first thing I'll talk about is the skill window. As you increase your level you unlock skill slots and gain skill points. At a low level all your skills seem available to you, but you can only pick a couple. This leads to some interesting multiplayer matches where experience doesn't make a huge difference. Each skill will unlock at a skill level. So in game you don't spend the XP, it is just an ever increasing bar. In the campaign this works as before with a normal skill tree you spend points on. After you choose a skill you can then assign points to it to make it better. Increase damage, reduce timers, etc. Don't worry if you make a mistake you can spend supply points to dump the skill and get everything back. If you have an empty slot you can click the square and choose the slide out window on the left to put a skill in it. They're all the same as you'd remember from Company of Heroes before.

The base screen let's you assign special abilities and hero units to be used for the matches. Hero units are installed n the buildings they'd be made in and general abilities, like a reduced cost on a unit, are installed in the general bonuses pane on the left. This is wide open while you unlock hero unit slots at various levels. There are a number of "uses" assigned to each bonus, but this seems to reduce by 10 each match regardless of how many times it is actually used. I used an Anti-tank one twice in a match and it went from 22 to 12. I don't know why it is at 22. It was given to me like that, but I can't imagine how it would end up there. You will received these bonuses and hero units as random loot after missions and matches. If your uses drops too low you can use supply points to add more. 50 uses costs around 500-800 points depending on the item so far. Keep in mind that only equates to like 5 games. So you might not want to just assign everything or you'll empty them all out. To purchase more uses for an item, right click it and choose the middle option "사용 횟수 추가". It will give you a menu to buy more uses in increments of 50. Hero units don't have uses. They have levels. They gain XP, which seems to be static. There isn't much else here. You can figure out the bonuses from the icons, or translate a key word or two to figure out what they do. Mostly they associate to increased range, firepower, speed, armor, or reduced cost. For example the Croc tank bonus I have equipped is a 10% range boost. Hero units don't seem to get normal special abilities. Those hero soldiers I have don't get grenades, stickybombs or upgraded rifles. Engineers don't get the option of adding flame throwers. I think the idea is that these permanently upgraded units will come equipped with these bonuses and others as you level them.

If you head into the general match area you'll be given a screen where you can add friends to your party. I haven't tried that yet so not exactly sure what that means. Below that is a blue button which lets you see available matches. Right now there usually aren't many, so I generally start my own room. Sometimes it fills up quick or I go ahead and invite someone. To invite someone switch your chat to the main room and scroll through and find appropriate opponents, left click their names and choose the invite word. I invite a few and someone usually accepts pretty quick. After that hit the game start on the right above the player list. The menu is annotated, I never touch the lower two options. You can also click people's names in the scrolling chat to interact with them. You'll often see people requesting invites, but you can't see their side so inviting them from there is kind of pointless. Try to pick someone at your level or lower. Higher levels will have more heroes and skills unlocked. You might be fine, or maybe not.

These are your main screens that will get you playing. A note on supply: You get it after campaign missions and skirmishes. So if you're low, go do a few campaign missions or play an AI match. Yes, this multiplayer game still has the AI matches. In a room click the opposing player's empty box and you'll get a menu to set options. You can choose various AIs with easy being at the top and going down to the hardest. So if you want you can do comp stomps or whatever tickles your fancy. The AI does seem to be upgraded. I tried an easy match and the computer was cutting wire which is not what I remember the CoH AI doing on the English version, I won and got 278 supply. If you're going to stomp an easy AI, take off your abilities and save the "use" on them.

All in all, this is a perfectly playable low ping version of company of heroes which is close to the original but different enough to be interesting. This is definitely a permanent addition to my collection. The Koreans haven't had a long time to get good at it yet, I'm sure a few played the English version, but I think not that many which means the games aren't all blowouts. I had a nice match tonight with a guy who managed to get a Panzer and a couple light tanks out against me, and then artillery my forward base. It looked like he had me but I managed to almost take the Panzer out before he obliterated the base. My Shermans rolled up behind him and wiped them all out. He bailed after that as he had nothing left.


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