One epic laptop failure later and we’re back! I’ve decided that the rest of this series will focus less on the specific actions of the campaigns and more on the underlying mechanics and the way those interact with the presented narrative. There’s nothing wrong with the gameplay of either campaign; the issue becomes when gameplay and narrative fail to coincide – or, occasionally, when the gameplay represents a false depiction of the actual mechanics.
Similar to its predecessor, Company of Heroes 2 uses the first few missions to introduce the player to basic gameplay mechanics, both those common to strategy games at large and those unique to it alone. The tutorial section of the campaign extends over several missions, with some devoted almost wholly to the new mechanics present in Company of Heroes 2, notably the “True Sight” system, which allows obstacles such as thick forest, buildings, and dense smoke to block the line-of-sight provided by your units, and the introduction of temperature and blizzard mechanics which serve to change the way you move and act across the battlefield. It does not, interestingly, provide a condensed tutorial mission outside the campaign, instead having the main menu link to video tutorials that show mechanics without allowing the player to experiment with them.
It also teaches the player about mechanics that do not exist. If I recall my experience correctly, Company of Heroes 2 will end up with many, many more Gameplay Mechanics Sins than its predecessor. If I do not, I’ll look a bit silly and perhaps owe Relic an apology. Either way, it’s time to dive in to Mission 1.