Company of Heroes, a real-time strategy PC game set during western front of WWII. Released in 2006, CoH certainly shocked the RTS genre with futuristc combat mechanics and fantastic graphics. Over ten years have passed since the release and during that time, the modding community have been working hard. With many game changing modificiations and maps, CoH can look and play as a completely different game.
It's always interesting to find what manner of modificiations exist for a game, especially a serious historical game. In CoH's case, the modding community is a bag full of surprises...
Now on Steam, Eastern Front (download here) shifts the scope of the game by adding two new playable skirmish and multiplayer factions; the Russians and the Ostheer. Both factions add new dynamics to the game and provide some needed fresh air due to the contrasting playstyles. The Russians are often seen outnumbering the Ostheer's German steel on the new community driven maps this mod adds.
Unlike some of the mods in this list, Eastern Front tries to stick close to the original gameplay mechanics, which should appeal to the fans of the original game. Similary to the original game, both of the new factions have their own unique buildings, command trees and units.
When playing as the Russians, the Katyusha trucks (pictured left) stood out as one of my favorites. Raining down explosive rockets to decimate infantry always provided a fiery smile.
The Ostheer are what you would expect from a WWII german faction. Elite infantry and Panzer II and III tanks! Although there are key differences with the Ostheer, such as the way your vehicles obtain veterancy. Instead of the vehicles automatically ranking up overall, you are able to choose, out of three what you would like to upgrade. This enables you to have more control over your vehicle attributes, do you want a faster tank or one with better line of sight?
Eastern Front is a great addition to the original game. The maps, units and command trees are well made and deserve recognition. Hopefully once it is added onto Steam it will become more accessible and reliable with updates. Even if you are not keen on playing as the Russians or the Ostheer, playing against them will test your ability to adapt to new playstyles.
It's hard to picture an RTS game set in WWI, but The Great War - 1918 has been very successful in doing just that.
Following on from CoH's game play mechanics and after adding in close combat, The Great War is an atmospheric and historical conversion. Faction additions; the British Expeditionary Force and the German Empire are great to play as and feature unique command trees and different playstyles. Trench battles and gas attacks are fun and can be challenging when not spotted early enough.
Although tanks do not break down every 30 feet, the models look stunning and accurate, resembling rather large, but pretty WWI battle slugs.
The mod focuses on WWI realism, but despite this it is extremely enjoyable to play because the factions feel balanced. During my playtime, I found plenty of inventive ways to create defensive trench lines and kill zones on the WWI maps the mod adds.
The creators are still supporting the development of the mod and are currently working on adding two new factions, France and Austria-Hungary when not fixing bugs.
Released during 2008 and still being supported with updates, Blitzkrieg is a mod that has to be mentioned.
Sadly, Blitzkrieg is not one of my favorite mods because of its very fast-paced and very realistic gameplay, but this is just my preference and shouldn't take away from the mod itself, I still completely recommend it.
There are no new factions added by Blitzkrieg, but the gameplay changes are vast when compared to the original. Combat is now very long range and much more deadly. Squad sizes are larger, but troop health is much lower to compensate.
It will take time for new players to adapt to the changes Blitzkrieg makes, but it will defintely provide a harder game, possibly making or breaking experienced CoH generals.
Despite no new factions, the amount of new units is high and each one has a detailed model and well crafted textures.
Blitzkrieg, will not be for every player, the changes are drastic, but is still worth trying out. I believe if you do prefer the realism, you really will enjoy it. Fortunately, new players should find this out after playing a couple of matches.
Our hopeful, Zombiemod is currently not released and doesnt currently have a release date. So why is this worth mentioning?
Melee combat, shotguns, spiky vehicles and zombies. That's why.
I have been following Zombiemod for a very long time (around 3-4 years), back when they released the Christmas day special mod. Since then the creators of Zombiemod changed the mod completely, in the works are three factions; Survivors, Bandits and Zombies. With each faction utilising different playstyles, the mod completely changes the game.
The survivors are the "good guys" that drive armored trucks called Battlebuses, which are useful for shunting hordes of zombies I would assume (picture below).
Zombies are a horde faction, that we currently do not have much information on, unfortunately. What we do know is that they will be playable and have their own command trees, I can't wait to call in special zombies.
The bandits are also a grey area at the moment. They may be unplayable, but feature on the maps acting as a sort of AI that will interact with other factions or they may be playable. During the next few months more information should be released.
Whilst a massive undertaking by CoH modders, if released this mod will change game entirely and should provide lots of fun when playing with friends.