It's been a long road for Company of Heroes 2, a game that was in development for some time at THQ before ending up in the hands of Sega.  It finally arrived this week in both retail and digital form, and this title definitely lives up to the legacy that Relic Entertainment set in 2006.

Like the original, Company of Heroes 2 takes place during World War II, but shifts to the Eastern Front.  You control Soviet soldiers going up against the German regime, engaging in campaigns as Operation Barbarossa and the Battle of Berlin.  

If you’re new to the series or need a refresher, we have the following beginner's tips.  Master these, then read our official eGuide. Good luck.

Getting Used to the Controls

If you've played tactical action games before, getting into Company of Heroes 2 will be no problem.  You'll be in charge of multiple squads known as infantry units, which you can guide around the screen using a mouse.  You can also select multiple squads at once simply by dragging your icon over the desired group and tapping the left button.

Once you have the enemy unit in your sights, click the right mouse button to engage him/them in combat.  Although your squad is capable of handling itself in a firefight, these guys aren't invincible. You'll want to find some sort of cover to keep them out of harm's way while still being able to target enemies.  Try to wander off the main path a bit.

Special Abilities

In addition, a number of units come with special abilities.  You'll be able to see these on the bottom right corner of the screen.  Click the ability you want, then click the intended targets. It takes a little getting used to, but once you find what abilities you can use, you'll get the hang of it in no time.

Stay Warm, Not Frosty

Over the course of Company of Heroes 2, you'll experience various weather conditions. The cold sets in and your team feels the effects.

If you leave your soldiers outside too long, they could freeze to death.  The best way to deal with this is to build campfires or buildings with engineers.  With these, you can assure that your squad won't succumb to the winter.

Watch out for enemy squads, though.  It wouldn't hurt to have a vehicle around to fend them off while allies join the fight, or better yet, a pair of snipers who are invulnerable to cold since they're used to being in cover.

Tank Tips

Tanks in Company of Heroes 2 are awesome. They can dish out a ton of damage against enemy forces while at the same time taking a bunch of small arms fire.  They’re also useful for travelling in cold conditions, and can get around with ease.

That said, there are some things to watch out for.  Getting into a battle with another tank could leave you vulnerable, so try and shoot from a distance and keep moving.  Also watch out for anti-tank guns, as a few well-timed blasts could destroy your ride.  AT mines are another threat, so make sure you don't run into one as you move to another part of the map.  Watch your surroundings, and make sure to keep your sides and rear covered – they're the weakest part of the vehicle.

Watch Resources Carefully

Finally, you'll capture control points on each map, which in turn allow you to boost your squad. There are three areas in which resources can be divided – munitions, manpower and fuel.  All three are important for various reasons.

Munitions grant access to greater abilities on the battlefield, such as more grenades or the ability to throw smoke – an ideal "blinder" to throw enemies off.

Manpower lets you bring additional soldiers into the fight – and with all the battles you'll face in the game, the more infantry units you have, the better.

Fuel enables you to use vehicles in the game, like the tank we mentioned above.  These can easily turn the tide of war in your favor, though you'll need to use them carefully.  Once they're blown to bits, you're left with your foot soldiers – and they may not be enough if the enemy still has vehicles.

You're able to build a resource cache within your control point, and it's highly recommended you do this. Follow our advice, and you’ll eventually master the tactics of war.

Company of Heroes 2 is available for PC and Steam.