|Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts|
|Designer(s)||Josh Mosqueira, Quinn Duffy, Brian Wood|
|Series||Company of Heroes|
Havok (Physics Engine)
|Release date(s)||NA September 25, 2007
EU September 28, 2007
|Media||DVD, Steam download|
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (abbreviated CoH:OF) is the stand alone expansion pack to Company of Heroes, a RTS game for the PC 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.
The expansion implements a Dynamic Weather Effects system, which consists primarily of real time weather effects and day-to-night time transitions. In addition to these enhancements, certain 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.
Opposing Fronts introduces two new single player campaigns. They feature campaigns from the British perspective and the German perspective respectively. 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, while the German Panzer Elite's campaign is based on the driving back of Allied forces during Operation Market Garden. It features eight playable missions following a Panzer Elite Kampfgruppe in occupied Netherlands that is bracing itself against 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 purchase Opposing Fronts without owning the original Company of Heroes, can only play as the British and Panzer Elite armies.
The British are the new Allied army in the series, their primary advantages are their defensive abilities. Their main emphasis is on defense, so 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, have stances that alters their speed and reactions. Most British infantry move slower in neutral or hostile territory unless led by a Lieutenant or Captain. The British mainly rely on officers, such as the Captain, Lieutenant and the Cromwell Command Tank, to improve effectiveness. British bases can also be packed up and redeployed at different positions, but at the cost of freezing resource income. Veterancy for the British is also unique, where only the officers can become veterans. As they gain rank, they gain new abilities and benefits for their surrounding soldiers. Infantry units can become more mobile if mounted in the Bren Gun Carrier, whilst 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 both British and Commonwealth armed forces. The three trees are:
The Panzer Elite draws its inspiration from the mish-mash of German units that opposed Operation Market Garden, including the 2nd SS Panzer Corps and Luftwaffe paratroopers. The single player campaign for this faction focuses on this battle. The German Panzer Elite division named Kampfgruppe Lehr is based on 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg, 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen and other divisions that participated during Operation Market Garden.
The Panzer Elite mainly focuses on speed and vehicles. They cannot build static defenses apart from a few doctrine-specific heavy weapons, rely instead on the use of halftracks and similar light vehicles to hold territory and increase resource income. 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:
The campaign starts off with the 3rd Battalion (aka Boudica's Boys), as they advance along a road towards the town of Authie. They are ambushed by the German II SS Panzer Korps making the Battalion commanders, Major Blackmore and Captain Cutting, to order the Battalion to pull back. After taking out the attacking force, the Battalion bombards the town, taking it after dealing with the remaining German forces.
British forces are re mobilizing to take Caen, after the failed D-Day attack. 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.
The airfield at Carpiquet was the next objective of 3rd Battalion. Under the cover of night, a Royal Commandos regiment lands outside the airfield while Royal Canadian Rifles assault 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 an attack on the Canadians, but fail. The Canadians push to the airfield, and secure it after clearing the hangers. As Cutting radios the Royal Scots, he and Major Blackmore find that Hill 112 is under attack.
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.
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 has only caused them to dig in deeper. Boudica's Boys push inwards and secure part of Caen, believing that the Germans will 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 and elite infantry.
It should be noted that like the previous mission if a certain squad dies a soldier will yell that Corporal Degnan is dead, Degnan being an unseen character that various lieutenants seem to mention (esp. in Mission 2)
With Caen in Allied hands, 3rd Battalion mobilize south of Caen. They arrive at Bourgebus with B-Coy Company, and after destroying Flak 88s looking over their line of advance, they destroy 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.
The campaign ends with the caption that after the war, Major Blackmore retired, and died in 1983.
Kampfgruppe Lehr, are 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 German brothers Aldrich and Wolfgang Berger, find plans for the entire operation in a 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 30th 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. After that is successfully completed, the Kampfgruppe recaptures Valkenswaard from the British 30th Corps, and finally remove the last paratroopers from Oosterbeek in the final mission of the campaign. Of the two brothers, Aldrich dies in the battle, determined by how the mission is played. Aldrich is placed with a random infantry squad and if that squad dies, a soldier will tell the player that Aldrich has been killed, or revealed dead in the ending cut scene with his older brother acquiring his belief that the war is over and doubts what's he's really fighting for. The epilogue reveals that Wolfgang survived the war and lived on in the repaired Berger family estate until his death in 1989 and is buried in the family graveyard. Extra Content revealed in the guide book stated that that he had a couple of sons, one named Aldrich in the name of his fallen brother.
Opposing Fronts is not a classic expansion in that it does not actually require the original game. As a stand-alone game, 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 own 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 in order to play multiplayer games on the internet. In an effort by Relic to counter piracy the game will request account authentication should it recognize that you have an internet connection and require that the user downloads all subsequent patches until the current version. Should there not be an internet connection when the game is started it will perform a standard DVD check. The system has drawn criticism from many of its earlier fans, who weren't necessarily customers, much because the original Company of Heroes didn't perform a disc and/or patch check unless you enter the multiplayer section.