It is odd that a lot of war games appear to get forgotten that one really well-known saying: ‘you have won the conflict, but you haven’t won the war’. A few hours into Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault’s effort it becomes clear it hasn’t been forgotten about by Relic. This really is very much constructed from a game, as well as major individual conflicts where you are in for a long, tough slog. Even if you are winning a good deal on the way.
This is the second expansion pack for Company of Heroes 2 of Relic, and both of them– The Western Front Armies as well as Ardennes Assault –are standalone, which means you do not want the first, volatile Eastern Front-’em-up to play. Where the last addon was multiplayer-centered, Ardennes Assault is a single-player campaign, but one that is learned plenty of lessons from the internet universe.
As you are free to transfer your businesses while browsing the next 18 assignments, how you need, you can use some high level strategy as you go. Because that is where these won: conflict, lost: war scenarios come into play, as I’ll briefly describe now, ignore it at your risk.
A skirmish popped up that required me to get the better of a little German outpost in a scenic hamlet by getting order points to be able to outlast the enemy, and intercepting routine supply falls. I made a beeline right for this particular assignment on the meta-map and, a matter of 20 minutes after, had routed the safeguarding Nazis.
Those who’d lost the conflict pulled away through territory I’d blown off–and could have blocked off with other firms–before meeting up with, and strengthening, another German place across the map. The Germans were in a significantly more powerful position than they’d been as soon as I moved on to another mission, which was already challenging.
The fact that you are playing with this more extensive game of cat and mouse on the meta-map before you have even jumped into the primary game, creates a feeling of ebb and flow across a huge struggle, and while not a brand new thought, gives invaluable circumstance to conflicts.
This filters down to your businesses. Focusing on the power of only one firm is feasible, but reaching a balance is clearly the far more practical alternative. War is not practical, however.
Also as manually chosen upgrades, power can be gained by units through veterancy. But you send unfathomable quantities of young men into the grinder and can use a clearly Stalinist way of war.
On the battle field it is pretty much Company of Heroes as you adore and understand it–extreme, harrowing real time strategy with an emphasis on strategies and little squads over tank superweapons and rushes. Make tactical decisions on the fly and you are expected to make great usage of your environment, or you’ll wind up with your backside being given to you. And it’ll be because the emphasis on continuity of Ardennes Assault means a loss is not game over, it is a ‘try again with diminished powers’.
These onthefly approaches are made even more crucial by AA’s emergent components–at random chosen objects and sub-goals; an adversary of changing power and skill; a change in strategy necessitated by both the business you decide to go into a battle with and its veterancy degree. Everything adds up, and you must keep on the top of all of it to achieve success.
But you come out the other side winning and when the smoke, actually, clears, there is little more pleasing.