Hello fellow commanders!
Today, I want to talk about a game that is a bit different from Company of Heroes. Made by Digitalmindsoft, it is a WW2-based RTS game. From the outset, it does not look any different from CoH except maybe the graphics. However, this game differentiates itself with a large number of features that you cannot dream of finding in CoH. Currently, I am playing a German mission called “Caen Outskirts”, in which the Germans attempt to retake Caen from the Allies, on Hard difficulty. Let me introduce the game’s core features to you by showing you exciting screenshots from my gameplay of the mission.
SOPHISTICATED LOGISTICS SYSTEM
In the beginning of the mission, you have two trucks available: an Opel Blitz supply truck and an Opel Blitz engineering truck. The supply truck provides ammunition and fuel and the engineering truck provides construction materials including barbed wires and sandbags. These trucks are accurately named “Opel Blitz 3.6” as historical Opel Blitz vehicles weighed 3.6 tons. The supply trucks have an option to resupply nearby units automatically within its resupply radius. To acquire construction materials, you need to send an infantryman or a vehicle close to the truck and you have to order the truck to “examine” the inventory of the recipient. In CoH, you did not have to worry about your tanks running out of shells or fuel. However, managing your logistic supplies well is a very important aspect in Men of War. Can these trucks run out of supplies too? Yes, they can and this is why you need to invest in more than one supply trucks as the battle drags on. These trucks are quite fragile so getting shot by a single tank shell can turn it into a smoldering wreck. Keep these trucks in the rear and return your troops for resupplying.
INDIVIDUAL SOLDIER INVENTORY
In the picture above, German infantry just cleared a strategic position initially held by American troops. If this was CoH, your infantry can pick up weapons if the enemy troops had been carrying an upgraded weapons package. For example, if an American Riflemen Squad carried BAR rifles, then wiping out the said squad dropped a single BAR, which you can then pick up and use against your enemies. In Men of War, however, every soldier drops a weapon. If you happen to decimate a German infantry squad having 10 Kar 98K rifles, then you will get 10 Kar 98K rifles! This makes the game even more entertaining as you can really experience scavenge warfare. If your troops don’t have access to supply trucks and are running out of ammunition, they can abandon their original weapons and replace them with those of the enemy! There was one time I, just for fun, equipped all of my American Rangers with captured STG 44 assault rifles and Stahlhelm helmets. Of course, the game is not complex enough to accommodate deceptive warfare but it was still highly enjoyable and pleasant to know that the game was highly flexible.
NO VEHICLE HEALTH BARS
I must really applaud Digitalmindsoft for trying hard to realize actual tank combat in a game. In my opinion, if a vehicle has a health bar, then realism suffers a bit as there are no such things in real life. If an enemy vehicle fires a projectile of sufficient penetration at your vulnerable spot, then your vehicle can burst into flames, making recovery impossible. Just like in CoH, individual crew members can be injured reducing the vehicle’s overall efficiency. This sort of realistic combat system makes you pay attention to the importance of angling your vehicle to maximize armour protection. Think of it as incorporating tank combat elements from World of Tanks into a RTS game like CoH.
VEHICLE CREW & TROOP TRANSPORT SYSTEM
Although this does not affect gameplay, I like how the game gives individual soldiers their own name. Men of War really excels in the realism department and you can do a lot with a single armoured half-track like the one in the image above. You have a driver, a gunner and eight other well-armed Panzergrenadiers in the back. If all you have is this team of mechanized infantry and you need to carry out an urban assault, you can dismount a couple of men here and there to infiltrate enemy positions. The gunner can be sniped from inside the vehicle and a direct mortar hit can send all the men inside flying out.
The vehicle crew gains veterancy and this affects the overall crew efficiency. When you first purchase a Panzer IV Ausf. H, you get 5 dedicated tank crewmen as Panzer IVs were historically operated by a 5-man crew. If you happen to lose one crew member, you may decide to get someone else to fill in the empty spot. Most of the times, you won’t have an extra tank crew member so you can send in one of your riflemen to do the job. While he will increase the overall efficiency somewhat, he won’t do with the same level of effectiveness as a normal tank crewman. Sometimes measures like this is critical as an understaffed tank is going to suffer on the battlefield.
REALISTIC INFANTRY COVER MECHANICS
In Company of Heroes, you have three types of cover: Green, Yellow and Red. Green cover means that your troops are well-covered and will receive maximum damage reduction provided that your troops are facing the correct direction. Yellow cover provides average protection and Red cover provides almost none. In fast-paced games of CoH, this cover abstraction system is decently realistic and is quite effective. However, if you want a cover system that is far more realistic, then Men of War is just the right game for you. Literally any object can be used for cover. A collapsed wall of sandbags, a bush, a fallen tree, a small boulder, and burnt vehicle wrecks can all be utilized by your infantrymen.
Sadly, you cannot control the posture of your infantrymen. That is, you cannot order your Ranger squad to crouch or crawl towards an enemy position. Men of War allows this and this works very well with the realistic cover system. You can ensure that your suppressed troops get out of a sticky situation alive and well by crawling through a ditch. Also, due to this flexibility, you can do surprise-ambush attacks like they do in the movies!
TOWED ARTILLERY SYSTEM
One of the best artillery units in CoH is the American M2 105 mm Howitzer. While it packs devastating firepower, it cannot move. Men of War allows you to tow heavy guns on the back of trucks to give it a mobility advantage. While it does leave your fragile Opel Blitz trucks more vulnerable to enemy fire, the ability to deploy anti-tank and artillery guns quickly in the front lines is indispensable.
There are plenty of other fantastic features in this game that I haven’t had the time to cover. If you want a more realistic and slow-paced WW2 RTS game, I strongly recommend Men of War. While I do prefer the fast-paced and simplified combat interface of CoH, I do sometimes wish for more micromanagement fun. If you don’t like micromanagement, it is better if you stick with Relic’s CoH. In the next post, I will talk about the emergence of camouflage warfare during WW2 with this new skin pack I downloaded for CoH 1. Cheers!