Company of Heroes 3 is finally here, the third installment of the popular real-time strategy game series developed by Relic Entertainment and published by SEGA. It brings us back to the war-torn era of World War II, where players are put in command of military units from the Allied and Axis powers as they battle for control of various locations on the battlefield. After experiencing many test builds of the game, I can’t help but say the release version takes the cake and amps the experience of that gritty chaos of the third installment of this beloved RTS series. It’s safe to say that this is an explosive comeback for the long-running series.
Dusty but looking Good
It might be just me because I’ve played the test builds, but one of the first things that stand out in Company of Heroes 3 is its improvement in graphics. The game features beautiful environments that nicely depict the stages of the battlefield in every campaign, adding nice flair to the experience.
What makes every stage immersive is the detail that they sprinkled all over the map, where putting your infantry units in sturdy covers is a must, and of course the destruction that completely changes the battlefield reducing the stage into a flattened mess of rubble. Additionally, the game’s units are incredibly detailed and well-designed, with each one having unique characteristics making it easier for you to differentiate each unit. But what I love the most is the detail they made with the vehicles, especially with the tanks; it’s like they’re miniature models of the real thing. Not only are these vehicles well-detailed but they also give a fine tune with the overall gameplay in every campaign these tanks are involved in.
Master the Art of War
For a newbie, Company of Heroes 3 is challenging but rewarding. The game’s mechanics are easy to understand with the UI that shows clearly what the buttons do, and the game does not throw you immediately to hard missions as it introduces you to a lengthy tutorial stage, enough to have a grasp of the gameplay.
In a nutshell, the core gameplay should be similar its predecessors. But it’s difficult to master, considering how things could get hectic when the enemy troops start to march at you, and you must micro-manage each of your units whether you have to find a perfect cover for them or order them to retreat. The addition of Tactical Pause helps you to create plans before you send out units, saving you from trouble when the enemy floods you with their own troops. It’s quite tricky at first and may take you long hours to fully master the gameplay as a whole, but it’s rewarding once you get to the point of not losing a whole squad in a campaign. Adding a layer of challenge for both casual and hardcore RTS fans.
Perhaps for me, the game’s campaign mode narrative also deserves praise, featuring a storyline that branches through the major battles of World War II. Set in 1942, it is divided into three different campaigns — Western Europe, North Africa, and Italy. Each campaign has its own unique set of missions, objectives, and challenges that can earn you favors from your subordinates depending on how well you command them and finish each objective during the campaign.
The narrative can also change depending on the decisions that you make, and choosing either of your advisors’ advice can net you their favors and bonuses that will help you during the campaign. Honestly, some options feel like it’s supposed to put your comrades in a tight spot but it didn’t really feel that way, so I just take it that the decisions you make have more impact on the narrative, considering your officers are at odds when it comes to some situations according to the narrative.
In addition to the campaign mode, Company of Heroes 3 brings back the multiplayer mode that players loved the most for the franchise, making it a competitor to other popular RTS games in the market. During the time of writing, there are Multiplayer sessions launched ahead of the release but you can also play against an AI. But nothing beats the real frustration of going against a real player, who knows what they’re actually doing, challenging you to be better the next time you play the multiplayer mode.
The only main issue I find is that the game’s difficulty and mastery may not appeal to everyone. Some may find the tutorial quite lacking in detail but it just prompts you to invest more time to master the game, so the AI won’t obliterate you during your sessions. So you’ll be more ready for the actual multiplayer against real players.
Company of Heroes 3 provides an immersive and engaging World War II experience. Throughout the development, the game’s graphics have gotten a huge improvement as you can feel the havoc on the battlefield and the impact of the heavy machinery you deploy.
What I like the most is the gameplay as it’s both challenging and rewarding, giving you that sense of achievement once you conquer a campaign. Also, the game’s campaign mode gives you that sense of camaraderie with its branching narrative, compelling you to make decisions that everyone from your unit must not be left behind; in a way that is both historically accurate and entertaining.
The game’s developers did a great job to ensure that the game is as historically accurate as possible. From the design of the units to the layout of the battlefields, making sure that these units like the DAK made an actual appearance during that period. Immersing you in the game’s world as you traverse this war-torn era, making it an enjoyable ride. But in terms of the problems that I encountered during my playthrough, though I’m truly not sure if those were bugs, but sometimes some decisions during the map phase can lock your progress, prompting me to restart the game. Again, I’m not sure if I missed something or if I simply met a bug.
Overall, Company of Heroes 3 is a great addition to the series that is sure to please both RTS fans and history buffs, considering the attention to detail they made just to deliver an immersive narrative that is also historically accurate as possible.
The game’s graphics are a huge plus, with the heavy emphasis on the destruction you can do around the map. But its main takeaway is its gameplay which is surely challenging and at the same time rewarding once mastered. The addition of the dynamic campaign map and new tactical mechanics add depth to the gameplay and did I already mention the Tanks the destruction that they make and how they can flatten the battlefield?
In total, Company of Heroes 3 is a fine addition to the franchise. Although, the difficulty and being an RTS title may not appeal to everyone’s taste, it is a must-have for those who are looking for a great challenge with long hours of gameplay.