|Title||Heroes Company 3|
|release day||November 17 2022|
The RTS genre seems to be undergoing a real revival. After re-release classics like Command & Conquer RemasteredThe Age of Empires DEseries, iron harvesting† Dune wars And of course Age of Empires IVNow it’s the hero’s turn. This is not a big surprise, because the game was released exactly one year ago announce for this year’s release and we also published the first time around preview Where some innovations are explained. After two short years Multiplayer public quizzes Players have been able to get a taste of the game for a while, but now both Relic and Sega have released a full game mission for the first time. We were able to start it for a day a couple of weeks ago, but everyone will be able to do it next week. In this preview you can read our findings.
A brief introduction to what to expect during this assignment. Photo: leftovers
We’ll start with a quick summary of what to expect from Company of Heroes 3 compared to its predecessors. After focusing on the Eastern Front and the Ardennes, it was now time for the brilliant battles in North Africa from 1941 onwards and then the amphibious landing in Italy in the fall of 1943, which heralded the landings in Normandy. This offers opportunities for a very diverse landscape: from the Sahara to the Mediterranean in Italy with rolling hills and slender cypresses. New to the game are some Italian units, such as the black-clad combat engineers and the L6/40 light tank.
Italian troops in black
Many current players
According to Relic, Company of Heroes Parts 1 and 2 are still widely played. They state that over ten million games have been sold and that there is still a high level of participation in recent years. There are also many mods with new maps and features. The game is one of the highest rated RTS games in recent years, according to Relic.
Moreover, in addition to enhanced graphics, new landscapes and a higher level of destruction, the game has a number of novelties compared to CoH 2. As with Age of Empires IV, Relic created a community council before CoH 3 actually started. That was about five years ago, in 2017, when this game was just an idea. Ten selected fans contributed ideas on all aspects of the game and 50,000 players gave feedback on Alpha Multiplayer.
You can read more about the renewed dynamic campaign, companies, detachments and battle plans in our website Expanded preview From July 2021, shortly after the game was announced in June of that year. In this preview, we focus mainly on the innovations we were able to try out during the first released mission, as can also be seen in the video in this article. Note that this video was shot in 1080p, which Relic thinks is the best spot at this point in the game. So the quality of the graphics is limited.
In Mission Alpha, you play German Afrika Korps, or DAK: German army units led by Rommel who are sent to North Africa to support demoralized Italian forces against the British Army. The fighting took place mainly in Libya and Egypt. This playable mission is set near Ajdabiya in western Libya in January 1942. The objective of the mission is to help Italian forces and chase the British away. It starts with producing troops and with recovery vehicle, Either repair the car to fix some defective tanks. The first thing you’ll encounter is the Panzer III with its flamethrower, which seems to be indispensable for later moments during this mission.
Screenshots of gameplay from the first mission
Repairing tanks and other vehicles with a repair vehicle is a great addition. Repairs have been possible for a longer time, among other things with the engineers, but it is now true that it is still possible to make the destroyed tank fit again. This is done in two stages: during the first stage, the defective car is completely unusable, but not completely destroyed. First bring it back to life: the vehicle can then drive again, but it is still badly damaged. Then one hit is enough to get him out again. Then it must be repaired again, so that it will be like new again. This can be done with the repair vehicle as well as with Troops and Panzergrenadiers can now also make repairs, albeit slower. These two repair stages look a bit artificial, especially since you have to double tap with the repair vehicle. We also encountered some errors during the mission. Some vehicles can’t be fixed even though we have enough points and the game also didn’t indicate that we were already at maximum troop capacity. The car can also really crash, for example after it explodes. In this case, the repair is meaningless.
We can now also try the tactical stop for the first time. This allows you to pause the game for a while, but instead of calling up the menu, you can instruct units to move, attack, or give other commands during this pause. This way you can take the time to position your forces well before launching an attack. It’s a nice addition, although it’s unclear to us how often we’ll be using it in practice, rather than making decisions in real time. It can come in handy during tough matches against AI.
In addition, there is now a vehicle that allows you to move heavy artillery, which in previous versions of the CoH could only be built in a stationary place, like a howitzer. So now you can move it and replay it somewhere else. Another new feature is the tank ride. Just like jeeps and trucks, you can now also ride a group of army units on a tank. This improves speed and looks nice. Once the tank is in combat, the units will be disassembled automatically and you will have to manually turn them on for cover or send them to a strategic position. Also new are waypoints, where you can send your units in a direction via a safe route. Furthermore, other factions also seem to be getting unique new units, such as the British Gurkhas, but we weren’t able to test that during this mission.
Assemble different parts during the mission. Photo: play and private recording
For experienced players of Company of Heroes, the RTS part of the game feels instantly familiar. The interface is a little different and the leaders are gone and replaced by Battlegroups, but you know right away what to do. In Part III, it’s still pretty old in terms of acquiring and holding parts of the battlefield. You can do this by picking up flags placed here and there at strategic points. This provides resources from which you can obtain and train units. But you only get these resources if you can keep the supply lines intact from the various tags you’ve picked up, which have a direct connection to your HQ. It’s also still about the same resources as in Part Two: manpower, munitions, and fuel. In addition, the number of units is of course important.
If we compare the interface with the second part, then the map is still in the familiar place at the bottom left. This also applies to the part at the bottom right, where you can produce units and vehicles and from which you can give your units certain tasks. There we also find tabs with different types of command centers, each of which gives you access to certain troops and upgrades, although now they have moved from top to bottom. Previously, the icons for your various units were displayed at the top right of the image, but now they are in the lower left next to the map, where they’ve also gotten a little smaller. Shortcuts have moved to specific actions or troops that you can instantly deploy in the field to the right side of the screen. Despite the changes, it looks familiar and we didn’t have to search.
On the left, the classic CoH 2 interface and on the right, the more modern and simple CoH 3 interface
The interface has become more compact. With CoH 1 and 2, it’s deliberately classically designed to fit the zeitgeist: metallic bezels with rust, gray-graded buttons and an antique radar with glass over it. The new interface is elegant. It takes a while to get used to, but it makes the game a little less sophisticated and more modern. The twelfth edition is almost twelve years old and the playful 3D buttons were still popular at the time; Now everything is flat and fairly simple.
Final version of Heroes Company 3 It will be released on November 17 this year, so we have to wait a little longer. However, like us, you can try out Mission Alpha for free between the evening of Tuesday 12th July and 19th July. Players who have participated in multiplayer pre-alpha games will automatically see an update in Steam. At the time of writing, it is not yet clear if a Mac version will also be released in November. Officially, only the PC version was mentioned, but the second version also appeared for Mac via Steam. More information on this may be announced at a later time.
The playing time was too short to give a good impression of the degree of destruction. According to their own words, buildings and other parts can now be completely destroyed. During the alpha phase, the opposite also happened and we drove a tank through a train without any visible damage. Graphics performance is also difficult to assess at the moment, in part because a maximum of 1080p is recommended and because the higher resolutions weren’t ready yet. We are definitely seeing progress, although CoH 2 is still quite detailed. Especially if you zoom in a lot, which unfortunately (yet) is not possible with CoH 3. At the moment the graphics are not shockingly beautiful for a game from 2022. The task was challenging enough, but not too difficult for experienced players. To defeat the enemy, it is important to attack with the right combination of forces. For beginners or less experienced CoH players, the tactical stop option can come in handy.
Moreover, it is now known that the game will feature four factions in November. We already know the first three, but the units, vehicles and speech are modified: they are the Americans, the British and the Wehrmacht. The above German Africa Corps is new. That means we should miss Obercommando West and the Russians, although that’s not surprising with this theme. It’s a shame, because this made the game more diverse because each army has unique characteristics and units. There may be factions added later, because there are now four instead of five from Company of Heroes 2, which has had three more expansions since its launch in 2013.
It is also possible that mods and maps were missing during the release. At least, we have not received a definitive answer to our question on this topic. Relic is focused on this alpha and final version for now. We’ve seen that with Age of Empires IV as well. It took about half a year before mods became available, including maps and mods made by players.
Of course, it is too early to judge. The mission was fun, but it was also very short and the two times we were involved in alpha multiplayer was also limited and it took a while. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a title we’re looking forward to with great interest this winter.
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