Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Company of Heroes 3 is coming – and it feels like the original, but bigger

Of all the things to like about Company of Heroes, I’m especially a fan of the conversations. Like any good RTS, these are games about make-believe, about moving little men around a battlefield, role-playing as one of those retired, amateur history enthusiasts with too much spare time, who are themselves role-playing as a Second World War commander. It’s about doing the voices, making the sounds of the guns, living out your twilight years with no-one but the model army in your basement.

I am not selling this! But still, the point is when the Americans parachute in all chipper like, or one of my little Russian comrades complains to another that “stealing my biscuits is not the Soviet way!”, Company of Heroes is doing its job better than any RTS like it. And so, when Relic tells me that “humanising the battlefield” with more of these occasional barks is one of the “core pillars” of Company of Heroes 3, I’m delighted to hear it, probably even more than I am to hear about the fancy dynamic campaign or the wonderful southern-Med setting. It’s early days – honestly, very early days, from what I played – but this, above all, seems to be the theme with CoH 3: it’s all about recognising what was good about the last two games, and just doing more of it.

Much of this is likely down to the approach Relic has taken this time around. The studio has some cracking history with RTS games – alongside the lastingly popular Company of Heroes ones, the first two Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War games and their expansions are glorious, bigger-than-cult hits – but Dawn of War 3’s reception in 2017 was mixed. It crossed the traditional RTS fare with a very light sprinkling of MOBA elements, like more impactful character abilities and more defined “lanes” to the maps, and, for better or worse, it wasn’t really what fans were after.

Read more

Of all the things to like about Company of Heroes, I’m especially a fan of the conversations. Like any good RTS, these are games about make-believe, about moving little men around a battlefield, role-playing as one of those retired, amateur history enthusiasts with too much spare time, who are themselves role-playing as a Second World War commander. It’s about doing the voices, making the sounds of the guns, living out your twilight years with no-one but the model army in your basement.

I am not selling this! But still, the point is when the Americans parachute in all chipper like, or one of my little Russian comrades complains to another that “stealing my biscuits is not the Soviet way!”, Company of Heroes is doing its job better than any RTS like it. And so, when Relic tells me that “humanising the battlefield” with more of these occasional barks is one of the “core pillars” of Company of Heroes 3, I’m delighted to hear it, probably even more than I am to hear about the fancy dynamic campaign or the wonderful southern-Med setting. It’s early days – honestly, very early days, from what I played – but this, above all, seems to be the theme with CoH 3: it’s all about recognising what was good about the last two games, and just doing more of it.

Much of this is likely down to the approach Relic has taken this time around. The studio has some cracking history with RTS games – alongside the lastingly popular Company of Heroes ones, the first two Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War games and their expansions are glorious, bigger-than-cult hits – but Dawn of War 3’s reception in 2017 was mixed. It crossed the traditional RTS fare with a very light sprinkling of MOBA elements, like more impactful character abilities and more defined “lanes” to the maps, and, for better or worse, it wasn’t really what fans were after.

Read more

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