Well, almost. As the commands flow through thick and fast, you may also be asked to take on secondary side-objectives, such as taking out enemy mortars on a hillside or rooting out snipers in a nearby building. These are optional, and every time you take one on you run the risk of spreading your forces thin. However, doing so is a short-term risk that pays off long-term, either removing enemy forces that would only make your job more difficult later, or giving you access to reinforcements or support options that you would otherwise have to do without.
Reinforcements? Support options? Let me explain. Firstly, with no facilities to make troops, you have to have them airlifted in. At the touch of a button you can open up a reinforcements menu, call in specific troops or vehicles, and within twenty seconds or so they’ll be parachuted in to your currently assigned supply point. Of course, nothing comes for free, and to buy reinforcements you’ll need credits earned by achieving objectives and capturing specific control points on the map. While points will creep in to replace units as they are wiped out, this isn’t a game where you can afford to be wasteful. In fact, at times the game will deliberately limit or halt supplies of particular vehicle or troop types, or stop further reinforcements altogether. See what I mean about spreading your forces thin? The key thing to realise is that each unit has its purpose, strengths and weaknesses, with an elegant system of balances that even infantry troops have their place at any time in the game, particularly when armed with heavy anti-tank weaponry. Helicopters, meanwhile, have a distinct advantage against armoured units, but are vulnerable to AA batteries and certain support vehicles, meaning they can’t be deployed without backup from infantry, armour or artillery. For once we have an RTS in which standard tank rush tactics don’t always prove viable.
What’s more, as in Company of Heroes most units have one or more special abilities which can be selected and targeted periodically. You can do the old Command and Conquer lasso-and-click routine, but you’ll achieve your objectives much more efficiently if you group units carefully and make use of their specific capabilities. In some missions, it’s the only way to win.
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