Nearly ten years after the second game, Company of Heroes 3, developed by Relic Entertainment and published by Sega, is the third game in the franchise and is now available for PC.
I have always liked the Company of Heroes games. They always have a lot of replayability, attention to detail, and excellent damage models. The first game was great, and the second was good, if disappointing. It had no single-player campaign except sort of later on in DLC.
This one changes that by taking inspiration from Total War, the other Sega-published strategy game. Now there is an Italian campaign which is like someone saw Total War and tried to put World War II in it. You can plan, explore, and use abilities on the map before fighting tactical battles. These battles work similarly to how they did in the previous games. The campaign is a simple change but adds to the immersion of participating in an actual war.
It is disappointing that there aren’t multiple factions to choose to play as in the campaign. As such, it feels one-sided. I am not sure how many times people will play through it. Mostly likely will only play it through once.
So far, there are only four factions: US Forces, British Forces, Wehrmacht, and the new faction Deutsches Afrikakorps. Why they haven’t added an Italian army faction (there are Italian Partisans) is a mystery to me. It is interesting to see if they add any other playable factions later.
The two campaigns are different: The Italian campaign is like Total War, and the North African campaign is like the traditional Company of Heroes missions.
Some will not care about the campaigns and only play the multiplayer and skirmish mode. Both are back once again.
They could add a multiplayer campaign mode like in Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad. In that, teams decide to attack or defend sectors of a map and combat resources to determine advantages and disadvantages in the next battle. A battle happens, and once over, the process repeats until one side wins the most sectors or resources. Having that mode would be of great value and give a reason for other people to try multiplayer who probably wouldn’t.
It might all seem more of the same. At least the developers mixed it up with a new setting and mechanics. I would have liked to see what an Eastern or Western Front would have looked like in the campaign. Maybe mods will add it?
A console version of Company of Heroes 3 should come out sometime this year on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.