Company of Heroes is a real-time WWII strategy game, in which you fight the German war machine through daring missions and historic battles. Yep – so far, so routine. What's different about this wholly engrossing game is the attention to detail that Relic has paid to the geography, tactics, weaponry, buildings and vehicles of the time.

The audiovisual onslaught that opens the game bears plenty of similarities to the film 'Saving Private Ryan'. But Company of Heroes is far more than your average army gorefest. The attention to detail is staggering – not just in how realistically the scenes are rendered, but in characterisation as well.

Make wise decisions and your team survive to fight on or regroup. Blow up the wrong buildings and you will destroy what would have provided vital cover in the next sortie. We liked the fact that the missions don't insist you embark on a full-on assault on every occasion – often you have to call upon more varied specialist characters, from medics and supply-line staff to explosives experts.

As for the gameplay itself, the in-game graphics are every bit as smooth and realistic as the initial Omaha opener. You can experience the action up close, stationed inside a bombed-out house, while taking potshots at the enemy. Alternatively, you can go up in an aircraft for a more sweeping aerial view.

Company of Heroes gives you a very real sense of being on the front line. For those that don't know a lot about WWII, you will see history in the making, played almost inch for inch on the battlefields, such is the fidelity of the mapping.

Company of Heroes: Specs

  • 2GHz Pentium 4 processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 5GB hard disk space
  • 64MB DirectX graphics card
  • 2GHz Pentium 4 processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 5GB hard disk space
  • 64MB DirectX graphics card

OUR VERDICT

Company of Heroes requires a PC with some hefty grunt power, and you’ll need 5GB of free hard disk space. But the result is worthwhile, immersing you in an intense and gripping campaign, with stunning visuals that allow you to feel every exploding shell or round of gunfire.

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