Company of Heroes 2 Mac review
The field of WWII games on the Mac is somewhat crowded. With all that is already available, one might wonder if we need another contender, much less a sequel. But Company of Heroes 2 is not just any sequel, it’s one of the most intense and in-depth WW2 strategy simulator ever made, taking the reigns from its older brother and charging forward.
I’m not dismissing any of the classic WW2 games such as Call of Duty, Silent Hunter, IL-2 Sturmovic, Brothers in Arms, etc. But CoH2 is a real-time strategy (RTS) game where skills on the battlefield make the player feel like they’re a real General. Also, CoH2 is an intense game.
Enter Company of Heroes 2 for Mac
The Company of Heroes 2 plot covers the Eastern front of World War 2, with a detailed tutorial involving invading Germans against the defending Russian troops. Squad movement, how to find and use cover and strategic attacks against enemy vehicles are taught so that you have a chance at victory when the real fighting begins.
CoH2 builds the game around objective-based missions which make up larger campaigns. And as the tutorials blend beautifully into the main campaign, so I suggest playing through them all to learn the essentials of squad and resource management.
The strategy required in CoH2 goes well beyond that of other WWII games. Decisions such as whether to send engineers to repair tanks in the field while knowing they may not live to make it back make CoH2 a more personal game than others. In CoH2 the missions tend to feel like puzzles; your planning and placement of units before the battle begins will affect your chances of victory more than raw firepower.
The idea that “The largest army wins” is not the case and makes you use intellect and problem-solving skills, creating one of the smartest and most difficult RTS games I’ve played.
In many ways, Company of Heroes 2 is similar to other strategy games, but a few things do make it stand out. The weather and fog of war come into play more than I could ever imagine, with injured soldiers often freezing to death when I forget about a damaged squad camping alongside a mountain path, and tanks or trucks slowing down or losing traction along icy/frozen areas.
Mac Tip #1: Turn off “hot corners”: OSX has special spots that triggers the screen saver whenever the touchpad goes to a specific area. Go to: System Preferences, Touchpad, and turn Hot Corners off. Thank me later.
These little details may mean nothing to someone who hasn’t played the game yet, but when victory hinges on the last squad crawling toward the enemy’s fortifications and biding time until reinforcements arrive, each life is crucial. Snipers seem to survive in the cold and ice, but standard footmen will quickly meet their demise as the elements can often do more damage than the enemies in the Russian wilderness.
Online multiplayer offers some amazing gameplay with its Skirmish mode, giving players the option to battle against AI players or other opponents in large, open battles. Twitch is available for online customization, giving players the ability to grow with other online communities such as Starcraft 2. There is also Theater of War mode, which is similar to an “end game” of sorts, allowing co-op with online friends for large historically accurate battles. For example, “Victory at Stalingrad” allows the players to re-enact Operations Uranus and Little Saturn, protecting Stalingrad in the winter of 1942 and defeating the exposed German forces. For history buffs who are also into RTS games, it does not get better than this.
There is also Theater of War mode, which is similar to an “end game” of sorts, allowing co-op with online friends for large historically accurate battles. For example, “Victory at Stalingrad” allows the players to re-enact Operations Uranus and Little Saturn, protecting Stalingrad in the winter of 1942 and defeating the exposed German forces. For history buffs who are also into RTS games, it does not get better than this.
A detail I found endearing was that the Feral chat client used the Steam cookie for my own personal friends list and pulled all my own personal settings over. All the various groups I belong to showed up within the chat settings in case anyone wished to play a game of CoH2. The default rooms came by default, but this was an added bonus and let me show others the benefit of playing on a Mac; something that is usually looked down on.
I played Company of Heroes 2 on a 15-inch 2012 MacBook Pro with a dedicated 650GT NVIDIA graphics card. The game “Autodetects” the worst setting on launch, but this is a known issue on OS X. From the main launch page, you can change the resolution and play with the other settings to get the framerate you desire. I personally love the look of the snow and terrain, so I bumped up the physics, snow detail, and texture detail and still averaged 40-45 fps during large battles.
Mac Tip #2: Get a real mouse: I love the Apple Magic Mouse as much as the next Mac fan, but they suck for games. Plug in a normal wheeled mouse. They’re $10 at any store and save $100 worth of anxiety meds.
The music reminds me of the first time I heard Medal of Honor: Frontline. Orchestral, with a chorus of singers behind keeping harmony with the marching tempo and very militaristic energy. Sounds from the guns and munition charges are amazing with quality headphones. My Sennheisers echoed with the blast of each explosive and grunt of each dropping soldier.
Mac System Requirements:
- OS: OS X 10.10.3
- CPU: 1.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
- Video Card: AMD R9 series, Intel Iris Pro, or NVIDIA 600 series with 512 MB of Memory
- RAM: 4 GB
- Hard Drive: 35 GB available space
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012)
- OS: OS X 10.10.5
- CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M (1024 MB)
- RAM: 16 GB
Summary I’m having a hard time coming up with a comparison game because CoH2 on OS X really stands by itself. For any fans of strategy, World War 2 simulators, or co-op battle games, I can recommend only Company of Heroes 2. The biggest downside to the game is that the microtransactions within the game are annoying. Having to pay for color schemes or various missions that should be part of the main campaign feels like being nickeled and dimed to death.