Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
|Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts|
Sega (Online services: 2013-)
Havok (Physics Engine)
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, OS X|
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (abbreviated CoH:OF) is the stand alone expansion pack to Company of Heroes, a real-time strategy game for computers running the Windows operating system. It was announced on April 5, 2007. Opposing Fronts was developed by Canadian-based RTS developer Relic Entertainment, and published by THQ. The game was released on September 25, 2007 in the US and September 28 in Europe. Another standalone expansion to the CoH series, Tales of Valor, was released in April 2009.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Factions
- 3 Plot
- 4 Panzer Elite Campaign: Operation Market Garden
- 5 Interplayability
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Dynamic Environmental Effects System
Opposing Fronts implements a Dynamic Weather Effects system consisting of real time weather effects and day-to-night time transitions. In addition to these enhancements, particular birds sing at various times of the day and during specific weather patterns. Although Relic had initially indicated otherwise, the Dynamic Weather Effects system has no tactical impact on the battlefield.
New Single-Player Campaigns
Opposing Fronts introduces two new single player campaigns. The campaigns feature gameplay from the British perspective and the German perspective. The British campaign is based on the Liberation of Caen. It features nine missions focusing on the attack by British and Canadian forces from Sword, Gold, and Juno Beaches to the city of Caen. The German Panzer Elite's campaign is based on driving back Allied forces during Operation Market Garden. It features eight playable missions following a Panzer Elite Kampfgruppe in occupied Netherlands that is bracing itself for one of the largest airborne invasions in history.
Company of Heroes players are able to play against Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts users. Those who own both games can either play as the Americans or the British against the Wehrmacht or the Panzer Elite. Those who own only Company of Heroes can play only as the American or Wehrmacht armies.
British 2nd Army
The British are the new Allied army in the series. Their primary advantages are defensive. A greater number of static defences can be built, such as slit trenches and anti-tank emplacements. These emplacements have an associated population and manpower cost to prevent the map being overrun with defences. Their standard unit, the Infantry Section, has stances that alters their speed and reactions. Though more effective than their American counterparts, most British infantry move slower in neutral or hostile territory unless led by a Lieutenant or Captain, which are extremely expensive. The British mainly rely on officers, such as the Captain, Lieutenant and the Cromwell Command Tank, to improve effectiveness. British bases can be packed up and redeployed at different positions, but at the cost of freezing resource income. Veterancy for the British is also unique. Only officers can become veterans. As they gain rank, they gain new abilities and benefits for their soldiers. Infantry units can become more mobile if mounted in the Bren Gun Carrier, and engineers get support from the fast moving Stuart tank early in the game.
The command trees for the British army in the game are based on famous branches of British and Commonwealth armed forces. The three trees are:
- Royal Canadian Artillery: this heavy-artillery based regiment allows the player to use creeping barrage, counter-battery fire, overwatch, and allows the player to deploy Priest Self Propelled Gun and supercharge artillery shots.
- Royal Commandos: players who choose this regiment can deploy commandos, who are adept at harassing enemy infantry, and the light Tetrarch tank via a Hamilcar Glider. As long as the glider remains on the field, it is capable of producing specific units (depending on which glider was called in), as well as in certain cases reinforcing nearby units, although all gliders apart from the HQ glider must be in connected territory to produce more units. Other abilities include tracing enemy troop movements, intercepting Axis messages, and planting decoy flares. This regiment is inspired from the Parachute Regiment, SAS and the 6th Airborne Division which saw action during the Normandy campaign.
- Royal Engineers: this regiment gives players access to three variations of the Churchill tank (MkIV, AVRE and Crocodile), improves entrenchments and the mobile H.Q, and allows tanks to entrench themselves.
German Panzer Elite
The Panzer Elite, also called the Kampfgruppe Lehr is a faction designed by the game developers who draw their inspiration from the Panzer Lehr Division and mish-mash of German units that opposed the Allied forces in Operation Market Garden, including the 2nd SS Panzer Corps and Luftwaffe paratroopers.
The Panzer Elite mainly focuses on speed and vehicles. They cannot build static defenses apart from a few doctrine-specific heavy weapons. They rely instead on the use of halftracks and similar light vehicles to hold territory and increase resource income. They also don't use support weapon crews, instead they use support halftracks, for example, instead of an anti-tank gun, they have an anti-tank halftrack. Unlike other players' halftracks, Panzergrenadiers (the standard Panzer Elite infantry) can fire heavy weapons, such as Panzerschrecks, StG44 automatic rifles, or mortars, from inside the vehicle. They can also repair vehicles, but at a slower pace than standard engineer units. At the same time, the Panzer Elite has Kettenkrads and Bergetiger repair units.
The three doctrines for the Panzer Elite are:
- Scorched Earth Tactics: Allows the player to construct environmental defenses (i.e., blocking a road, or sector artillery). Players can also completely disable or booby trap strategic points or buildings and use the Hummel Mobile Artillery Platform.
- Luftwaffe Tactics: Allows the player to deploy Wirbelwind flakpanzers, Henschel Hs 129 and Fallschirmjäger. Luftwaffe ground forces install Flakvierling and FlaK 88 turrets, and can blanket areas with Butterfly Bombs (with Type 70 fuses). Players using this doctrine also receive advanced repair even if the player has not researched the skill yet. This allows them to repair vehicles far faster than the standard Panzergrenadiers.
- Tank Destroyer Tactics: Allows the player to deploy Jagdpanther and Hetzer tank destroyers, while the infantry has improved ability to detect and engage enemy tanks. Panzergrenadiers also gain access to Tellermines and squads are issued a double number of Panzerschrecks and anti-tank grenades.
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The campaign starts off with the British 3rd Battalion (aka Boudica's Boys), as they advance along a road towards the town of Authie. They are ambushed by units of the German II SS Panzer Korps, forcing the battalion commanders, Major Blackmore and Captain Cutting, to pull the battalion back. After taking out the attacking force, the battalion bombards the town, taking it after dealing with the remaining German forces.
In Operation Epsom, British forces remobilize to take Caen, after the failed D-Day attack. The 3rd Battalion and the Royal Scottish Engineers Regiment are tasked with taking the bridges over the Odon and taking Hill 112. Under the cover of a creeping barrage, they take the hill, and the Royal Scots stay behind to fortify.
In Operation Windsor, the airfield at Carpiquet was the next objective of 3rd Battalion. Under the cover of night, a British Commando regiment lands outside the airfield while Royal Canadian Rifles assault the airfield with light tanks and infantry, as it is bombarded by the Royal Scots Engineers. The commandos destroy German H.Q.s in the area, and move to secure the German defenses surrounding the airfield. However, it is discovered that the airfield is still operational.
The next morning, the Germans launch a counterattack on the Canadians, but fail. The Canadians push to the airfield, and secure it after clearing the hangars. As Cutting radios the Royal Scots, he and Major Blackmore find that Hill 112 is under attack.
In Operation Jupiter, German forces attempt to take Hill 112 from the Royal Scots. At night, they attack with heavy Panzers and Stormtroopers, trying to overwhelm the Regiment. With armour support from 3rd Battalion, the Scots retain control of the hill.
In Operation Charnwood, 3rd Battalion, along with C company, enter the city of Caen after it had been carpet bombed the night before. Instead of destroying the German forces, it causes them to dig in deeper. Boudica's Boys push inwards and secure part of Caen, believing that the Germans have retreated.
However, a recon force shows that the Germans have left behind a rear guard, and have placed mines, snipers and machine guns everywhere. The Battalion, along with the Royal Scots, move in and seize Caen, mopping up all remaining defenders.
That night, the Battalion digs in, and defends against an aggressive German counter-attack by heavy Panzers, King Tigers, and elite infantry.
In Operation Goodwood, with Caen in Allied hands, 3rd Battalion mobilizes south of Caen. It arrives at Bourguebus with B Company, and after destroying Flak 88s looking over their line of advance, destroys the remnants of the I SS Panzer Korps. 3rd Battalion, having done the British Army a great favour, are allowed to rest as 2nd Battalion continues the advance.
Panzer Elite Campaign: Operation Market Garden
The campaign begins with Kampfgruppe Lehr training in Wolfheze, only to be interrupted as Allied paratroopers descend from the skies. The Kampfgruppe use whatever men and forces they have to repel the invasion. After the attack, the Kampfgruppe commanders, Major General Voss and Berger brothers Aldrich and Wolfgang, find plans for the entire operation in a downed British glider.
As part of the 'Market' phase, the British 1st Airborne Division attempts to capture bridges across the Rhine in Oosterbeek and Arnhem. Kampfgruppe Lehr is tasked with intercepting the British paratroopers before they reach Arnhem by destroying the bridge at Oosterbeek and defending against an Allied attack.
Critical to Operation Market Garden, the British XXX Corps advance along Highway 69, known as 'Hell's Highway', to relieve the paratroopers. Kampfgruppe Lehr is mobilized near Valkenswaard and their objective is to occupy the town and delay XXX Corps.
After successfully thwarting the British 30th Corps at Valkenswaard and at Best, Kampfgruppe Lehr needs to remove all enemy forces inside the Netherlands. First, they move to secure Arnhem and recapture the bridge, the last bridge that the Allies need in order to start pouring into Germany.
Having routed the 1st Airborne's 2nd Battalion in Arnhem, the Kampfgruppe recaptures Valkenswaard from the British XXX Corps, and finally remove the last paratroopers from Oosterbeek in the campaign's final mission. Of the two brothers, Aldrich dies in the battle, determined by how the mission is played. Aldrich is placed with a random infantry squad or vehicle and if that unit dies, a soldier will tell the player that Aldrich has been killed, or revealed dead in the ending cutscene with his older brother acquiring his belief that the war is over and his doubts about what's he's really fighting for.
The epilogue reveals that Wolfgang survived the war and lived on in the rebuilt Berger family estate until his death in 1989 and is buried in the family graveyard. Extra Content revealed in the guidebook stated that he had a couple of sons, one named Aldrich for his fallen brother.
Opposing Fronts is not a classic expansion in that it does not require the original game. By itself, it allows partial access to the original game's assets in multiplayer mode. This allows players of the original game to play with those who have Opposing Fronts, even if only one of the players owns the expansion. In the same way, players who own both games can play as and against any faction. However, Opposing Fronts players also have the option to play with only those who own the expansion. This stand-alone setup is similar to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, another Relic title, and its subsequent expansions.
Opposing Fronts requires customers to create an online account for multiplayer. In an effort by Relic to counter piracy, the game requests account authentication if Internet access is detected. Otherwise, a standard DVD check is used.
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts was generally very well received.
- "Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts Q&A - Breaking Down the New Factions and Features". GameSpot AU. 2007-05-24. Archived from the original on 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- Dan Adams (2007-09-28). "Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- Alec Meer (2007-09-27). "Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- Official game website, British Army > M7 Priest
- Official game website, British Army > Commandos
- Jason Ocampo (2007-09-26). "Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts review". Gamespot. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts reviews". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2010-08-02.