Company of Heroes 3 brings the popular boots-on-the-ground strategy genre into a whole new battlefield experience, featuring authentic new tactics and four distinct factions. Additionally, its cutting-edge Essence Engine transforms every location into an unstoppable battleground that provides limitless tactical gameplay opportunities.
Italian Dynamic Campaign delivers something similar to World War 2 Total War with vast turn-based maps and epic missions across farms, beaches and city streets. New granular tactics include flanking moves and infantry breaching mechanics for added realism.
At one time in the late ’90s and early 2000s, World War II video games seemed ubiquitous. Perhaps due to the success of movies like Saving Private Ryan or The Thin Red Line, but whatever its source, World War II-themed titles became one of the hottest genres – one such title being Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes series.
This installment, released in 2023, marked a departure from previous installments in that it moved beyond European battlefields into Italian and North African theaters for console (PC versions were also available at launch). While not introducing revolutionary mechanical changes, this installment did provide some of the most chaotic yet realistic World War II battles ever seen in a strategy game.
While the campaign offers a traditional mission-based narrative experience, what really sets this game apart is its multiplayer matches and skirmishes. Destructible environments create a more dynamic battlefield where units can shift into and out of cover at will while buildings or vehicles are demolished instantly; making for far smoother action-packed experiences than an RTS such as StarCraft.
Players will need to juggle air, land and naval forces in order to defeat enemy advances and capture key locations on the map. While I did experience some choppy moments during certain missions on PC, overall the performance was nearly seamless; occasional alt-tabbing caused my frame rate to dip momentarily but that is usually expected with this type of game.
Company of Heroes 3 features one of the largest launch faction lineups ever, from super light Weasel infantry and tank sniping Nashorn units, all the way up to Chaffee Light Tanks – all making their debuts. And with an army customization mechanic enabling players to summon help from specialist units and elite squads for customized gameplay experience, Company of Heroes 3 provides its most tactically deep gameplay yet.
Relic Entertainment and Sega have collaborated to bring their real-time strategy series, Company of Heroes 3 Console Edition, to consoles for the first time ever. The latest release takes fans back into World War II’s Mediterranean theater while providing more strategic choices than before. Fans familiar with real-time strategy games should find familiar elements within Company of Heroes 3 Console Edition; playable units can be upgraded and destructible environments demolished as capture points provide resources such as manpower, fuel and ammunition.
Company of Heroes 3 is a sprawling game, packing two campaigns and four factions into its main campaign set in Italy – something like World War 2 Total War in terms of dynamic campaign playability – from Sicily to Rome as you fight Nazi forces through random battles and incredible missions.
This campaign spans eight missions and travels from the muddy plains of the Eastern Front to North African deserts and Italian sunnier climes, taking you from angry commanders and sad letters sent home through to tonal changes that give the experience an irreverent tone; at times you might feel like a Nazi trampling over British trenches while other times it reminds you that Afrika Korps was responsible for registering and rounding up Jewish Berbers from North Africa.
Each mission contains both primary and secondary objectives, and when completed will unlock an epilogue detailing how the war ended in real life. These narrative elements add depth and set the game apart from traditional RTS titles. Furthermore, Liberation features two gameplay modes; its fast-paced liberation mode offers immediate tactical pauses while historical mode offers longer tactical pauses so players can give commands.
Although Relic could still tweak their campaigns a bit more, they’re an impressive feat nonetheless. Battles are engaging, the map design outstanding, and units appear and sound real. Their dynamic campaign offers fun novelty value; however, for greater engagement they offer tailor-made missions and multiplayer skirmishes instead.
Skirmishes in the game provide an avenue for earning rewards and leveling up units without engaging in the main campaign. Battles take place on the world map in real time, where clanmates may join in real time as you vie to capture ground on either side. Skirmish rewards may include Ingredients, XP, Gold Materials or Bond Fragments which will all apply towards increasing veterancy ratings of future battles.
Company of Heroes 3 is the latest installment in a 17-year old strategy franchise, and while many aspects have remained consistent from earlier entries, developer THQ Nordic has added several improvements that set it apart from earlier titles. Most notably is its dynamic cover system which adapts the battlefield in real time, including anything from bushes to burned out buildings being used as cover for soldiers advancing forward.
This new game includes a large roster of launch factions to allow for customization, along with an army customization mechanic for adding specialist units easily to your force. Furthermore, the full tactical pause mode provides players with an opportunity to halt combat and assess the situation at any time during playback.
An enjoyable campaign and tons of skirmishes are great additions, yet something remains missing from this title. Developers promised an Italian campaign similar to Total War’s World War II sandbox, yet although much progress was made towards fulfilling that promise it still feels incomplete; rather like early access version of a mode rather than a complete offering.
Relic has taken an aggressive approach with Company of Heroes 3, producing an expansive game that delivers on nearly all fronts. World War II enthusiasts should find plenty of entertainment here; just don’t expect any of its greatest moments here.
Company of Heroes 3 is one of the most beloved real-time strategy games out there, and this latest installment, Company of Heroes 3, returns to World War II and features numerous changes to gameplay compared to earlier titles in its franchise. Furthermore, this edition boasts two large campaigns, multiple multiplayer modes, and four unique factions – making this edition the biggest yet!
The new game in the series extends its immersive narrative into an entirely new theater of war – from Italy’s rolling hills to North African deserts and back again – providing players with authentic new tactics and deepened strategic choices, four distinct multiplayer/co-op factions, large skirmish battles, destructible environments, and destructible environments.
Company of Heroes 3 features an expansive arsenal of land, air and naval units to choose from as well as an intuitive system for controlling their deployment and control on the map. Players can quickly switch between units to quickly switch up tactics or assign orders across multiple units simultaneously for increased battle efficiency.
Company of Heroes 3 offers fast-paced action gameplay. Its visuals are truly impressive, making the maps feel real while weather effects such as rain or fog can affect gameplay. Sound design is equally impressive with an impressive soundtrack providing extra drama to proceedings.
Company of Heroes 2’s campaign missions may not offer as much excitement and challenge, but they still present plenty of excitement and suspense. Based on real events, its single-player campaign offers even greater replay value.
Inverse recently reviewed the PC version of this new release and found it an exciting continuation of its longstanding legacy. Console versions should follow suit this month for PS5 and Xbox Series X | S, making the multiplayer stress test free to try if you sign up on Steam.