Company of Heroes 3 marches forward onto consoles, bringing with it a wealth of content and heart-pounding gameplay. Developed by Relic Entertainment, this WWII real-time strategy game sets out to capture the essence of war while delivering an engaging experience for players. Even though the campaigns have their flaws, the multiplayer matches and skirmishes shine brightly, making Company of Heroes 3 a must-play for strategy enthusiasts.
A War on Two Fronts
Players can engage in two distinct campaigns; North African and Italian. The North African campaign offers a series of guided missions, each presenting unique challenges that test strategic thinking. However, this narrative approach feels disjointed at times. You play as the Nazi Afrikakorp, as the story is presented from the perspective of Jewish Berbers fighting in the resistance. It presents an odd mixture by depicting the horrors of war, only to allow players to take control of their army to commit those aforementioned atrocities. Despite the narrative misstep, the mission design in the African campaign is outstanding from a gameplay perspective, with well-crafted objectives that demand meticulous planning and strategy.
On the other hand, the Italian campaign takes a grander approach, allowing you to command Allied Forces in their quest to liberate Italy. The campaign plays out on a massive world map, reminiscent of the Total War series, with advisors guiding you through the narrative. While the mechanics of the campaign mode could have been better explained for newcomers, the real-time battles are a highlight.
The Italian maps are brimming with strategic opportunities, from narrow city streets to wider fields for flanking possibilities, making both unit placement and positioning crucial. The mission design truly shines here, with challenging objectives that consistently keep you on your toes. The blend of tactical combat and map mechanics creates an engaging and exciting experience.
Battles of Intensity
The core gameplay of Company of Heroes 3 keeps in line with the previous games. You’ll construct your base, capture strategic points, and manage resources are all key elements. However, the game introduces a more robust destruction system, forcing players to carefully consider various unit covers and adapt on the fly.
While the campaigns offer substantial content, they do leave things feeling a little lopsided. The narrative execution in the North African campaign lacks coherence, creating a tonal dissonance that fails to hit the mark. The Italian campaign’s mechanics suffer from poor explanations, leaving players to piece together how everything works. However, the exceptional mission design and the thrill of the real-time battles overshadow these campaign shortcomings. With future updates and patches, there is hope for improvement and streamlining of the campaign experience.
The chaos of multiplayer matches and skirmishes is where things flourish. Engaging in full-scale warfare with multiple players, racing to secure valuable objectives, creates an exhilarating and strategic experience. The game’s visual and audio design enhances the intensity, immersing players in the atmosphere of World War II battles.
Relic Entertainment has made commendable efforts to adapt the RTS gameplay to console controls, allowing for smooth camera scrolling and intuitive unit management. Although there is an initial learning curve, players will quickly become accustomed to the well-implemented control system. The game offers a wealth of strategic options and team-based gameplay. Whether engaging in chaotic PvP battles or cooperative skirmishes, the multiplayer component ensures hours of fun and provide the most longevity.
Company of Heroes 3 emerges as a solid entry in the series, catering to both fans and newcomers to the RTS genre. While the campaigns may falter in certain aspects, the engaging combat and strategic depth make up for these shortcomings.
The detailed world shines on next-gen platforms, showcasing just how incredibly intricate the small details in this game are, it is no surprise that fans of the series will enjoy the leap to consoles in general and the care Relic has taken to ensure it looks as good as it does. With its intense battles, engaging multiplayer, and potential for future improvements, Company of Heroes 3 proves itself a worthy addition to the series and RTS games alike.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Detailed environment, Addictive gameplay
Lowlights: Conflicting narrative
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: Relic Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows PC
Review conducted on PlayStation 5 with a release code provided by the publisher.