Play news Company of Heroes 3: New king of the real-time strategy game? Our impression!
After being contacted for the first time in July 2021, Company of Heroes 3 has returned to shake the strategist in us! During a new presentation, we were able to discover the Africa Corps, an unprecedented German division at work in Africa in the 1940s in an hour. Does this new episode live up to the series’ prestigious legacy? Here is our review!
If you do not know Company of Heroes, it was one of the big names in real-time strategy (RTS) games in the middle of World War II. So after Normandy saw the Western Front in the first and second episodes, Sega and Relic Entertainment take us to the Mediterranean with Company of Heroes 3, where lesser known – but equally significant – clashes took place. “It’s not an easy story to tell, but it is important to do so,” the studio explained during a presentation reserved for the press. As part of Operation North African, one of the major parts of the single-player campaign, players will be able to immerse themselves in the battles of Tobruk, Gazala and El Alamein. But at the moment, it is Ajdabiya in Libya that we have been able to discover. This is “Alpha Mission”, the one that opens Operation Africa. The opportunity to survey a rather inhospitable war terrain and lead the attack in the company of the Africa Corps, the new faction in this third episode.
Want to try Mission Alpha?
If you are already participating in the collaborative development of Company of Heroes 3 and have had access to previous Pre-Alpha, Mission Alpha will automatically appear in your Steam library. If not, it’s not too late to join. “CoH development“Game.
A stated ambition
Sega and Relic Entertainment told us from the start, “Company of Heroes 3 will be the most ambitious episode in the series”, whether for single player or multiplayer. Then, of course, there is the new feature of the main adventure, which requires advancing peasants and using action points on a large Civilization-style map (we have not seen more on the subject). But more simply, Company of Heroes 3 will offer four playable factions as soon as it is released on November 17 on Steam against two previous ones: the Americans, the British, the Wehrmacht and the new Africa Corps. No major changes in the program for the already known teams, apart from greater depth in the game globally and a more affordable British clan. The US team retains its flexible-aggressive character and the German team remains a solid and defensive base. On the other hand, Afrikakorps should offer “very fresh” gameplay for fans of the franchise. The Relic study speaks of a “mechanized and mobile” faction capable of quickly implementing strategies and attacks. Everything gets even more important with new gameplay features:
- “tank driving”: Climb up his troops on an armored vehicle to get faster.
- “towing”: Drag / drop artillery pieces to cover / attack areas.
- “Side hoodDamage to armored vehicles is much more localized at the rear / sides.
- “Passable trenches”: Climb into a tank on top of a gutter, even if it is occupied.
- (Finally, for the first time, frontline infantry can repair vehicles)
“In the desert, a dust”
After a full briefing, we embarked on the first mission of the North African Operation. Our goal is to annihilate the British forces between the cities of Ajdabiya, Msus and Saunna. As so often, the fight starts in a corner of the map, with an army that can grow up to a certain threshold depending on the resources and control points recovered. First element that challenges: the nature of the terrain. The Libyan desert reserves its share of verticality, an element that can put you in a position of strength – if you are the one who is high – as well as of failure. Fans of the genre know this: In Company of Heroes as in all RTS, you must grope your way forward, anticipating the unexpected hidden by the fog of war (dark area outside the army’s field of vision). Also, while we’re at it, keep in mind that this episode, for the first time, offers an active break that only applies in the solo section. Enough to freeze the action, establish a strategy and then resume things!
An ideal feature for newcomers: Company of Heroes 3 is part of a genre that can quickly overwhelm the player, who must control multiple teams and attacks at the same time. On the subject, we appreciated the flexibility that Africa Corps offers. Towing, moving artillery pieces (a Pak 38 Anti-Tank in our case) can be crucial, but requires a lot of anticipation. And the ability to repair vehicles directly with infantry is a clear big plus. As a reminder, Relic Entertainment seeks to get closer to Company of Heroes 1 here, appreciating good men on the battlefield more than ever and extending the tank’s creation time. A very good choice to avoid battles that end up with inserted armor, though this aspect remains just as solid, especially with Side Armor. All in all, we enjoyed more than our game session with Company of Heroes 3. There is still work to be done in the Relic studio (a lot of screen errors, others more restrictive), but everything is in the right way. See you in November to see more.
> Read our preview (2021) about the campaign and skirmishes of Company of Heroes 3