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Times Digital Download: Company of Heroes 2
August 8, 2018 | 7:54 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan
Company of Heroes 2 has a more engaging storyline. The entire story is told in a flashback.
 
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Have you been to St Petersburg? It’s a stunning city. Home to the great Tsars of Russia, the city was an architectural and cultural marvel, featuring works of art and design that the rest of the world had only heard of.

St Petersburg is a city with many histories. It is also a city with two names, and quite fittingly, the lighter, more cultured side of the city is remembered by the name it currently holds.

Call it by its former name – Leningrad – and you automatically remind people of a darker side of history. The kind of history that’s laid all too bare in Company of Heroes 2.

Created by the world-renowned game makers at Sega, Company of Heroes 2 transports gamers into the Soviet battlefields of World War II, where men fought, bled and died in far greater numbers than they did everywhere else.



The game follows the same overwhelmingly popular model as its predecessor. Build a base, establish supply lines, and assemble enough troops to flush out the enemy. While its predecessor did place more of an emphasis on base-building, Company of Heroes 2 has a more engaging storyline. The entire story is told in a flashback, through the eyes of Lieutenant Lev Abramovich Isakovich, who, seven years after the war ended, recounts his horrific tale to his former commanding officer, Colonel Churkin, who visits him at his gulag (Soviet concentration camp) in the numbingly-cold Siberian winter.

Lt Isakovich had distinguished himself in the service of the Soviet motherland. He was among the first line of Soviet infantrymen to witness the brutalities of the German Wehrmacht when operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the Russian homeland) began.

After following Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s scorched earth policy of destroying any asset that could be of use to the enemy, including the torching of homes and the burning of fields (within which many Soviet soldiers are hiding hoping to take the enemy unawares), Isakovich’s detachment is redeployed to Stalingrad, the epicentre for one of World War II’s most brutal battles.

Most battles are wars of attrition — sometimes one side gains ground, at other times, the other must fall back. In Stalin’s Soviet Union, though, there was no place for retreat, no room to surrender. A new military directive, called Order 227, brands all soldiers who flee from combat, even if it is only temporary or tactical, as traitors of the state, who will be shot on sight.

Faced with no other option but to press forward, and with support from Russia’s famed T-74 tanks, among some of the most infamous armoured units of the war, the Soviets neutralise several German artillery positions before gaining a foothold in Stalingrad, with Isakovich an inspiration for his troops.

Everyone is required to lay down their lives in the battle to save Mother Russia: Stalin even conscripted penal battalions, comprised of prisoners who were sent to the front lines as part of their prison sentences.

Although liberated, Stalingrad is now reduced to rubble, and as the Soviets are regrouping, the ruins of a building fall on top of him, Isakovich. Several Soviet soldiers request permission to rescue their leader, but once they do bring him back to base, they are shot for dereliction of duty, despite requesting permission to do so. Isakovich is sent back to Moscow to recover from his wounds, where he hears about the similar horrors of what transpired in Leningrad.

What follows after Stalingrad tells not just the tale of how the Soviets hammered back the Germans, but the untold human cost and suffering along the way. Some may lose their lives, but others — more worryingly — lose themselves. Company of Heroes 2 spins the tale of war with great detail, and is definitely a game worth playing.

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The Short and Skinny

Name: Company of Heroes 2

Genre: Historical RTS

Produced by: SEGA and Relic Entertainment

What it’s about: War has come to the Soviet Union! Russia’s sons and daughters must now fight for the motherland, no matter the cost. Every single comrade must fight to defeat Adolf Hitler’s oppressors.

Where to buy: Steam, G2A Games, Amazon, Company of Heroes website, Microsoft Store

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X

IGN Rating: 8.4/10



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