Company of Heroes 3 Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Company of Heroes 3 is a well-crafted RTS game marred by many glaring issues that hinder it from achieving true greatness.
- Sandbox Italian Map
- Turn-Based Gameplay
- Open-Ended Objectives
- Badly Paced NA Campaign
- Underutilized Mechanics
- Heavily Scripted AI
- Technical Mishaps
Our Company of Heroes 3 Review will look at the latest entry in a game series that is lauded as one of the most genre-defining RTS game franchises ever. And even though the second game fell a little short compared to the first in the series, the developer is back in full force for the third entry, and they haven’t held back.
This third game is a solid addition to the franchise that keeps the gameplay fresh by introducing some brand-new game mechanics, while also sticking to its roots so as not to alienate its existing fanbase. There have been a few missteps however which hinder it from achieving true greatness. Let’s find out more in our review
Story And Setting
There are also four main factions in the game that you can play as. These include the British Forces, which are an all-purpose straightforward function, the American forces, which prefer aggression instead of defense and have access to a lot of tanks, the German Wehrmacht, which is more focused on defense and has some powerful equipment suited for this purpose, and the Deutsches Afrikacorps, which are used for light combat engagement but can call on heavy support.
Company of Heroes 3 gives players 2 different single-player campaigns to enjoy. The Italian campaign, in which you play as the Allies, is the larger of the two which can make or break the game for many people since it will form a major portion of your playthrough. The most prominent new addition in this entry, and what will be apparent from the start, is the addition of a beautiful overworld map where you can take command of the US and British platoons. The gameplay here is turn-based, where you plan out your strategy to deploy your forces and capture enemy territory.
For the Italian campaign, there isn’t a typical structured story. You are partaking in a large war and the only way to progress through the campaign is by fortifying your positions and advancing into enemy territory by capturing their settlements and outposts. You also partake in many renowned skirmishes that took place during World War II in Italy. These skirmishes have fixed objectives, but there are a number of battles that you only you can choose, by raiding and capturing enemy settlements of your own choice. The Italian campaign is fairly lengthy and took me around 30 hours to get through.
The second campaign, which takes place in North Africa, is relatively short and more story driven than the first. You step into the shoes of the Afrika Corps led by the commander Rommel and play through the German campaigns which took place from 1941 through 1942. The campaign is also mixed with a story narrated by a North African Jewish Family that has been stricken into calamity due to the German and Italian invasions. It narrates how these communities almost ceased to exist due to these invasions. However, the presentation of this narrated story can get really weird and confusing sometimes, making it feel that it was slapped on at the last moment. It lacks coherency and fails to deliver an emotional story. The missions themselves are quite strong though and the campaign lasts around 10 hours.
The gameplay is the major focus of the titles in this franchise, and it can a blast when it plays as intended.
As can be inferred from the previous section of this Company of Heroes 3 Review, the Italian map is basically a sandbox. Unlike Company of Heroes 2, where we are forced to move between missions continuously, here we can choose our own path to approach the main objectives. The major missions which consist of renowned historical battles are still present, but they are spread out between player-initiated optional skirmishes.
There are also a plethora of optional objectives and enemy settlements to capture which the player can take part in. This really immerses you into the world and gives you the feeling of actually participating in the war. The major missions are still the highlight of the campaign though, as they include important historical events such as the Battle of Monte Casino.
But where the game really shines is in the map design, which can be seen in both the Italian and the North African campaigns. The Italian maps have varying terrain and a number of combat scenarios in urban places that are well-balanced. There are many elevation points here that can give any team occupying it a distinct advantage over their opponent.
Similarly, you have a number of options at your disposal to take out enemy soldiers who are garrisoned behind walls or in large buildings. You can force them out by bombarding them with grenades or sending a small team to flank them. The amount of engagement and strategy combinations are honestly mind-blowing and really allow you to think outside of the box to tackle some of these situations. The North African section also has distinct terrain ranging from rocky desolate valleys to small settlements.
One major gripe I have with the campaign is the complex nature of the resource management, skill levels, etc, as they have little to no impact on the battles you approach. The stakes of the game aren’t that high and these things matter less in the long run, removing the depth and strategic planning from this title, which are integral parts of any strategic game. Also, the events which take place during skirmishes are strictly embedded into the script and do not change dynamically. The enemy doesn’t even try to recapture towns on their own, except when it is demanded by the script. This dilutes the immersion we mentioned before in our Company of Heroes 3 Review. The AI can also be sometimes borderline atrocious and usually engages in a war of attrition instead of engaging smartly.
Visuals And Performance
The visuals are mostly top-notch. From the vineyards of Italy to the desolate landscape of North Africa, both maps are distinct in their design. The scene of the battlefield is also beautifully crafted with bombs raining down, rifles going off, and buildings being set on fire. When all of these come together, they really do make for a sight despite the horrors that are being committed in-game. However, occasionally some low-effort texture work can be visible here and there, such as that on some tanks.
Unfortunately, there are also a number of bugs in the game which include weird troop movements and spawning troops in inaccessible locations where they can’t get stuck, just to name a few. My performance also tanked a number of times mid-game without any reason. These performance dips occurred randomly and I was not able to pinpoint the source. I tested it on a Core i7 6700 with a GTX 1060 6GB.
Company of Heroes 3 is a well-crafted RTS game marred by many glaring issues that hinder it from achieving true greatness. Although the story here isn’t important, the weird narrative pieces we get in the North African campaign fail to deliver what they aimed to.
Still, the gameplay and mission design is better than ever. I really enjoyed the sandbox nature of the Italian campaign. However, the missed opportunity when it comes to making use of the resource management mechanics, which is not helped by the dumb and the heavily scripted AI of the game, and the technical issues it faces have convinced me that this game needed more time in the oven before it was ready for release.
This has been our Company of Heroes 3 Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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