Company of Heroes 3: Final Preview

Been there since public announcement, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to book Hero Company 3 through its steps. We even did an exclusive month of IGN First coverage on it. And chances are, given how open the development is, you’ve already played a season or two on your own. But all of that is like running my finger along various gears and armor plates that haven’t been assembled into a full tank. And now that I’ve seen both the campaign in Italy and North Africa somewhere almost complete, the bigger picture is starting to emerge.

What was missing from all the previous builds, more than anything, was a sense of cohesion and storytelling. Both campaigns are now presented with the kind of personal storytelling the series is known for. You’re plunging into a well-timed moment and get a feel for the different characters – from individual grunts to heads-ups – not just one face on the menu. I felt I understood what the allied commanders, the feisty American Buckram and his rival, the stoic British, Norton, were like and how they played against each other. All of these frameworks put me in the mindset of the time period, adding much-needed context to the tests ahead.

The linear campaign in North Africa seems to really lean towards the idea of ​​presenting the war in terms of its impact on local non-combatants, which is probably almost as responsible for the retelling as you are. can hope in a real-time strategy game with playable Axis Force. I can’t show any cutscenes setting this up as they’re still being worked on, but I’m impressed with the level of nuance and prominence of a World War 2 aspect that most movies have. Games like this will refer to. It also doesn’t turn conflict into black and white. The narrator points out that British bombings of German positions near her village were far from heralding their liberation – they simply represented further destruction. . It really highlights that there are (ironically, named after the franchise) no real heroes in war. No matter who wins here, civilians will still lose their homes and loved ones.


The Italian dynamic campaign has also had significant tweaks, since I last played it a few months ago. While I’ve compared it to Total War in the past, what emerges from the repetition and player feedback is what feels more focused and perhaps a little more instructive. And overall, I think that’s better. You can still move companies around wherever you want, call in air support, and leverage your navy to a strategic and tactical advantage. It’s a complex, multi-layered problem. But it’s also tighter in scope and more direct to the story than I’d previously imagined.

This does not mean that you will be trained by rail. Italy is just a rather narrow peninsula, and the ultimate goal of crossing Rome is always the same. So the decisions you make are more about how to achieve your goals, rather than setting your own goals. Optional quests are plentiful, earning little bonuses here and there. And you will be faced with decisions that often require you to prioritize the approach of one of your commanders over the others. In addition to just unlocking the perks, you’ll have to upgrade each song on their Loyalty to a certain point to secure their support in the final battle. However, I didn’t really see how this scenario plays out with or without the help of specific characters.

in Muck

On the battlefield, not much has changed since I last watched Company of Heroes 3. And that said, I don’t have much to complain about. It feels like great CoH tactical action, with an ever-wider unit list and plenty of good unorthodox targets to disrupt more traditional maps. Tactical pause has become a reliable tool that I especially appreciate when I need to quickly switch from offense to defense or react quickly to a sudden enemy move. The campaign has gone through a lot of iterations, but it looks like they more or less got it right the first time.

I still have quite a few unanswered questions about how the campaign will play out over a dozen turns, with certain strategic elements still missing tooltips and unclear what role they will play. It is still difficult to get a complete picture of the operations of the strategic faction, in terms of resources, logistics and progress. But now that the story woven around it has been made clearer, I can certainly say it’s a compelling excuse to get you into those exciting tactical battles, if nothing else.


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