A good reminder to check your assumptions at the door
By Alice Lynton on July 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm
Company of Heroes 2 isn’t going down well in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Resident of the former USSR have reacted badly to the representation of their region’s history in the Relic Entertainment release, calling it “disgusting”, full of “idealogical rubbish” and “dirty myths”, and even a “complete falsification of the history of Russia and its methods of warfare”.
The movement apparently started with a video from a creator called Bad Comedian. In its wake, the RTS’s user rating on Metacritic has utterly bombed, and a Change.org petition on the matter rapidly gleaned its required 10,000 signatures and is still gathering support at a rate of several names per minute.
According to informed critics speaking to Polygon, problematic material includes depictions of soldiers sent into battle without weapons; soldiers shot en masse for retreating; and gulags. While acknowledging the incredibly harsh conditions of the WWII Eastern Front, critics say the game draws on clichés established by western films, not historical fact, and overplays the brutality to the point of parody.
The full article is well worth a read if you’re interested in WWII, Russian or military history; it’s interesting how many of our ideas about the past are informed by spurious modern media interpretations.