Company of Heroes 3 tells the tale of war between the British and German from the lenses of World War II and from our review of the game, we get to relive the gruesome history of this war by playing through the two story mode campaigns, viewing the war from both sides.
The British story mode centers around the British forces in North Africa and Italy. Meanwhile, the German story mode features the German forces fighting off the Brits and other allied forces on the Eastern and Western fronts.
Storming the Front
In one of the single-player campaign mode, players take on the role of the Allied Supreme Commander on the Italian front, leading the three branches of the armed forces to the frontlines. Offering different objectives and challenges, each campaign will have players adopt varying strategies to complete tasks.
Company of Heroes 3 innovates the esteemed real-time strategy (RTS) gameplay with a turn-based grand map twist. Most of the battles that occur on the grand map can be played out automatically, while remaining key battles are presented in RTS format and are triggered when the player chooses to engage in combat manually, or when attacking important areas.
With the grand maps, players will need to pay close attention to the resource settings, where producing troops and mobilising forces will require the use of rear supply or plundered resources from the front. Strategies of the grand map can have favourable or unfavourable impact on key battles in certain areas. Players need to have a certain level of planning to ensure that the liberation of Italy’s objectives are achieved with minimal casualties in the shortest amount of time.
During this time, players will also need to take the three Allied leaders into consideration. They are mainly composed of British and American troops, each with their own personality and ideals. You have the reckless American generals and the headstrong British generals who tend to have conflicts when formulating strategies.
However, by completing sub-tasks formulated by these three factions, players can increase their loyalty with these forces and fully utilise their bonus abilities. The American military focuses on air forces, the British values their Naval and supply lines, while the local Guerrillas provide valuable intelligence support.
Meanwhile, the other campaign featuring the Axis forces comprising of Germans and Italians called Deutsches Afrika Korps (DAK) in North Africa. The DAK focuses mobility and rapid assault, offering players with fast tanks, infantry, and artillery.
Players can also choose to team up or compete with other players in the multiplayer game mode. Multiplayer includes various of gameplay modes such as resource competition, team confrontation, and free combat.
The new dynamic battlefield in this title is one of the biggest changes in the Company of Heroes franchise. This new feature makes the battlefield environment feel more realistic and adds a layer of authenticity. An example being when player’s troops move through a forest, trees and bushes will fall down around them, even leaving marks after battle.
Another features that’s been added into the game is now each unit has their own health and status bar where player can check during combat. Troops in combat are also now affected by their surrounding environment like weather and terrain, adding more depth and strategy to the gameplay loop.
One key mechanic that’s introduced to Company of Heroes 3 is adding emphasis on verticality and having players pay more attention to the positioning of their troops. The high ground would be more advantageous than a well-built cover, as shooting from a higher position can bypass the cover of low-lying enemies.
The list of new mechanics doesn’t stop there. House have always been difficult to attack, as players would need to have special equipment such as flamethrowers and explores to breach through buildings. In this game however, most of the infantry unit specialising in close and medium ranged combat have their own unique ability to breach buildings, allowing them to clear out enemy occupied houses with ease.
Armour units in this game have side armour where damage is calculated separately based on armour thickness and damage resistance, which opens more possibilities for armoured assaults and counter-attacks. When a vehicle’s health bar reaches zero, it may not be completely destroyed can still be useful since they can be used as cover for infantry units. It’s also more economically wise to use repair trucks to fully repair their damaged vehicles rather than spending more resources to build up a new one.
Speaking of economy, my one small complaint with this game is how much emphasis they put into resource management in certain scenarios. With how your resources are limited at the beginning of the game, it’s advised to withdraw injured soldiers back to the base rather than training up new troops since its cost heavy to do so. While this adds realism to the game, it also slows down the overall pace of the game.
Which means that players who prefer more fast-paced combat in their strategy games might find Company of Heroes 3 to not be their cup of tea. But for players who like realistic combat would definitely find the game enjoyable.
Got Your Six
The Real-Time Strategy games tends to scare away players who are unfamiliar with the genre since players need to pay attention to so many aspects. There’s a certain learning curve for newcomers to familiarize themselves with, which can take a bit of time. However, Company of Heroes 3 does their best in including some user-friendly features to help ease new players into the game.
One of which is that constructing buildings are now automatic and no longer requires engineers. The process of replenishing troops in the rear after withdrawing the front-line forces is now an optional automatic option. This helps eliminate the tedious step of having the players replenish your units one by one and reduces the amount of operations.
Company of Heroes 3 also provides a beginner mode and a strategic guide to help newcomers gradually learn the strategies of the game. In beginner mode, players can familiarise themselves with the basic operations and rules of the game without needing to worry about any advanced challenges. While the strategic guide allow players to learn about the many different types of troops and units in the game along with their strengths and weaknesses.
Large Scale Assault
Visually, Company of Heroes 3 looks outright stunning, and does an amazing job presenting a realistic atmosphere set in WWII. The overall scenery and character designs in the game are finely detailed which in my opinion, would immerse players into the world.
With the inclusion of a variety of different weather effects like rain just makes the game feel more alive. Not only that, the animation in the game along with its special effects are top-notch. Sending your units into combat and seeing the beautiful animations and effects such as flames, flying debris from destroyed buildings and dust effects just puts a smile on my face.
There’s also a lot of attention being put into the sound design, an aspect where a lot of games would tend to glance over. The mechanical traction from tanks traversing the lands, the explosive bursts from infantry weapons and even various environmental sounds are crafted carefully. Different characters and units in the game also have different voices and respective sound effects, which just adds on to the game’s realism.
Company of Heroes 3 is an overall enjoyable Real-Time Strategy game. The visuals and sounds design along with its immersive atmosphere adds on to the game’s realism. Combat and gameplay have been greatly improved from previous titles, and the introduction of new mechanics adds depth and strategy to the game.
Although, the game can still be challenging to newcomers and will require players to invest some time to learn and familiarize themselves with the mechanics. However, the game’s readily available beginner mode and strategic guide and help ease the steep learning curve.
All in all, Company of Heroes 3c is an excellent real-time strategy game and it’s definitely a must play for any RTS junkies out there who are looking for their next fix.
|Realistic graphics and visuals||Steep learning curve for newcomers|
|Rich Single-player campaign||Slow combat|
|Tactical depth and strategic gameplay|
Company of Heroes 3 was reviewed on PC via Steam.