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The Confused Consumer: A Buyer's Guide to CoH2

A Buyer's Guide to COH2
Firstly let's establish one thing CoH2 is a great RTS, it's well supported by its devs and is fun and very well balanced for the most part. However it's simultaneously crippled and enhanced by DLC - some of it is enthralling some of it is nauseating. This guide as of writing, should give you everything you need to know when assessing what to buy.

Which version of Company of Heroes 2 should I buy?

There are several paths into playing and enjoying CoH2 it is a modular game, and if you're not prepared to fork out the overall asking price for all the modules, it's better to first establish what it is you want from the game before purchasing. Pro-tip this game and its modules are regularly heavily discounted in Steam sales.

The following are split into what single player content they offer or they're split into the separate paths to access the game's online multi-player as a whole any of which can be your starting point

ostheerostheer CoH2 Base Game sovietssoviets

Singleplayer content: The Soviet Campaign - an Enemy at the Gates Hollywood style revising of the Eastern Front, not the game's strongest suit but a very good RTS campaign as RTS campaigns go.

Theatre of War pack: Operation Barbarossa - Theatre of War packs are AI scenarios most of which are played as singleplayer but some can be played co-operatively, they're very challenging and can be quite rewarding. The game's engine gets changed as balance updates come, this game has been balanced heavily since release but the scenarios have not been, therefore some don't work quite as intended any more.

Multiplayer content: (access to multiplayer method #1) - This contains two factions in multiplayer: the Soviet Army and the German Wehrmacht two very well balanced factions that are the core factions of the game and therefore have the most tactical options at their disposal by way of commanders, more on them later. Soviets are a very forgiving faction great for beginners and Wehrmacht are the most similar to CoH1 in their playstyle which suits any latecomers to the game's sequel.

usfusf The Western Front Armies. okwokw

(access to multiplayer method #2 #3) This multiplayer expansion comprises two armies which can be bought seperately or as the WFA pack. Both give access to multiplayer but you're limited to playing multiplayer as the faction you own. Two new armies are added to multiplayer are the United States Forces who embody mobility and counter-punch play with a blend of strong infantry and light but hard hitting armour. And the German Oberkommando West who are a difficult faction to master in 1v1 as they are a faction of elite specialists, specialists that are great at killing but very expensive to replace when they die.

amisamis Ardennes Assault

This is a highly regarded single-player only campaign from the point of the US forces. It differs from the original campaign in its added Civ style meta-map on which you can move your three companies around. This adds more freedom and variability, and therefore increases replayability. Important: this is a campaign only expansion, you cannot play skirmishes vs AI. This campaign represented a return to critical acclaim for the series. (DLC: You can also buy the US Rangers as an extra company to play the AA campaign, originally this was the pre-order bonus.)

britsbrits The British Forces.

(access to multiplayer method #4) The fifth faction available in CoH2 is the British Forces which offer a different playstyle to the other Allied factions gaining heavier more hard hitting armour, strong emplacements, and expensive but effective infantry. Buying the Brits gives you access to multiplayer as the British faction.

Theatre of War Packs.

There are three additional theatre of war scenario packs. Case Blue, Victory at Stalingrad, and The Southern Fronts. They all add extra missions and scenarios with three degrees of difficulty settings the most strenuous of which is borderline impossible in most cases, which is certainly challenging. Some of the missions are co-op. If you like the theatre of war given to you in the base game these are all decent expansions upon that.

Commander and Cosmetic DLC :snfQuinn:

The following DLC can be brought or randomly attained via 'supply drops' after matches after a predetermined play time has been reached. However the vast array of items and the infrequency of drops ensures that in order to utilise the more lucrative items you may have to fork out.

Paywall/ rare supply drop:

  • Commanders: unfortunately several tactics and units in CoH2 are behind a paywall, now you do get a sizeable portion of commanders for free and they only add tactical options to the core tech-tree, but once you start playing you may feel the additional paywall commanders are something you'd like to explore. but you have to pay separately to obtain.
  • For example the Elite Troops commander containing the Tiger Ace a souped-up Panzer VI is only obtainable through a super rare supply drop or through paying for it. This content was largely created post launch, but some of it is rehashes of previous content, and needless to say hasn't been a popular feature of CoH2. However the introduction of supply drops, and the heavy hinting of future crafting mechanisms means it may be heavily mitigated in the future. Recommendation: don't buy any DLC commanders until you've mastered the ones that come with your faction, base it on necessity, plus your first several supply drops may be kind to you.

  • Skins/camos: these are for your vehicles only and are split into temperate or arctic themes dependent on the map you're playing on. They can be seen by your enemy and therefore have a tiny impact on the game itself.

  • Faceplates: these are e-peen based and surround your playercard as you head into battle. Obviously and purely cosmetic, although some have been given out by the developers to commemorate events or reward testers.

Supply drop only:

  • Decals: small adornments to the side of vehicles.
  • Victory strikes: celebratory pyrotechnics displayed during the victory screen that your opponent is forced to sit through in celebration of your might.
  • Intel Bulletins: small 'perks' which slightly improve the performance of selected units, and other stats can also be slightly altered. You do get a base level of bulletins with the content when you buy it.

So..... tl;dr what should I buy....? o_O

It's up to you!

Firstly analyse what type of player you are and then assess what you need, just out for a standard RTS campaign? Buy the base game. Not a fan of what you've read on Steam reviews by angry Russians? Buy the Ardennes Assault pack.

Are you a multiplayer only kind of player? You're in good company as this game has a steady and insanely committed fanbase and has had since 2006. I'd recommend choosing an army that appeals to you either historically or aesthetically and mastering that army, or at least getting to grips with it. Then you can go from there.

What about Company of Heroes 1? pepe

CoH1 is an absolute classic, classic, game. The most innovating RTS in the last decade. However, the multiplayer community has largely moved over to CoH2 due to its improvements and ongoing dev support. You can still find matches, but expect longer wait times and harder opponents when you find a match.

However single player of CoH1 is one of the best RTS campaigns modes ever made, and is massively enhanced by the Opposing Fronts, and Tales of Valour expansions. You can't get much better than these for singleplayer only experience. The good news is all you need is the CoH1 Steam Version, and you're good to go as this contains all DLC.
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