Company of Heroes 2 PC Technical Review



Company: Sega
Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Sean Ridgeley
Date: June 28th, 2013

Graphics options, visuals, performance

Graphics options

COH2 includes eight graphics options. Besides basic options like resolution and V-Sync, you get AA (Low is FXAA, Medium is 150% SSAA + FXAA, and High is 200% SSAA + FXAA), Texture Detail, Snow Detail, and Physics, as well as Image Quality, which incorporates a variety of “advanced” graphics features, like Shadows, SSAO, and more.

I wouldn't call the list short as it gets the job done, but I wouldn't call it extensive either. Exposing the various settings hidden in Image Quality would've helped out considerably; with any luck, these will be added in a future patch.

Visuals

Terrain is meticulously detailed, and textures are usually high resolution, the exception being when you zoom, which is rarely necessary, if ever -- all the action going on pretty well constantly on screen requires a full strategic view.

Shadows are strong and benefit from Screen Space Ambient Occlusion for a more in-depth, realistic look, while particle effects from smoke grenades and tank explosions really stand out, and are at times reasonably competitive with the finer implementations of PhysX (see Metro: Last Light).

My overall impression is while COH2 doesn't do much to push the genre forward visually, it's no slouch either. The dramatic visual improvement over COH you might expect given the seven-year gap isn't really here, but the various new visual features serve as appreciated niceties.

Performance

With all settings but AA dialed up (I left this at Low), Framerate usually sticks between 50 and 80 with the included benchmark, with similar results in-game; occasionally drops to about 40 can be seen, particularly when heavy weather and particle effects are on screen. The overall feel is very smooth; with the rare aforementioned drops, I never found myself in testing thinking about the framerate – only about gameplay.

That said, performance isn't where it should be. Some much more visually advanced games run at higher framerates with higher settings, so it's clear there's work to be done here. While high-end users should be mostly satisfied, I suspect those running mid-range or low-end hardware will be notably less so.

A nice touch: framerate is capped at 30 in menus, so your hardware won't be doing work it doesn't need to while you're setting up.

Alt-tab performance is smooth, although once I did lose my mouse cursor in-game as a result. Another bug: navigating to the edge of the in-game map saw me unable to navigate anywhere else, lest I clicked on the minimap. Other than these minor issues, I have nothing to report.