We take one last hands-on look at Company of Heroes 3 ahead of its February 23 release date now that its narrative has finally merged with its gameplay in the stretch run of development. Previewed by Leana Hafer.
Having been there since the Public Announcement I've had lots of chances to Put Company of Heroes 3 through its Paces We even did a whole month of exclusive IGN first coverage on it and chances are With how open the development has been You've played a slicer to yourself Already but all of that felt like Running my fingers along various gears And armor plates that hadn't been Assembled into a full tank yet but now That I've gotten to see both the Italian And North African campaigns in something Closer to a finished State the bigger Picture is starting to come together [Music] Dear Maggie It's been a while I know Sorry I've never been as good with words As you what was missing from all the Earlier builds I checked out more than Anything was a sense of cohesion and Storytelling both campaigns are now Introduced with these sort of personal Narrative framing this series is known For you're thrust into a moment in time And get a sense of the various Characters from Individual grunts all The way up to the top brass as more than Just a face on a menu I was glad to be Away from the Heat Not so glad to be wandering around the Mediterranean hoping the German Subs
Wouldn't find us I feel like I Understand what kind of people the Allied commanders the hot-headed American buckram and his rival the stoic Brit Norton are meant to be and how they Play off each other all of this framing Puts me in the mindset of the time Period adding much needed context to the Trials ahead well I guess it's nearly Time to leave so I'd better go find Somewhere to sit Try to write more I can Love always Joe the linear North African campaign Seems to really be leaning into the idea Of presenting the war in terms of the Impact it had on the local Non-combatants Which is probably about as responsible Or retelling as you could hope for in a Real-time strategy with playable access Forces these days I can't show any of the cut scenes that Set this up since they were still being Worked on but I was impressed with the Level of nuance and spotlighting of an Aspect of World War II most games like This would gloss over It doesn't boil the conflict down to Black and white either the indigenous Narrator points out how British bombing Raids against German positions near her Village were far from The Herald of
Their Liberation they simply represented Further destruction it really hammers Home how sometimes there are ironically Given the franchise's name no true Heroes in war no matter who wins here Civilians will still lose their homes And their loved ones The dynamic Italian campaign has also Seen significant tweaks even since I Last got to play it a couple months ago While I've compared it to Total War in The past what has emerged from The Crucible of iteration and player Feedback is something that feels more Focused and perhaps a bit more guided And overall I think that's for the Better you can still move companies Around wherever you like call in air Support and leverage your Navy for Strategic and tactical advantages it's a Complex multi-layered affair But it's also tightered in scope and More directly narrative driven than my Previous Impressions would have Suggested This isn't to say you'll be railroaded Italy just happens to be a fairly narrow Peninsula and the ultimate objective of Breaking through the winter line to Rome Is always the same so the decisions you Make are more about how to get where You're meant to go rather than setting Your own goals entirely optional Missions are plentiful earning little
Bonuses here and there and you'll face Regular decisions that require you to Prioritize the approach of one of your Commanders over the others Aside from just unlocking perks which We've seen already you'll have to Progress each of their loyalty tracks to A certain point to secure their support In the final battle I didn't actually get to see how this Scenario plays out with or without the Help of each specific character though On the battlefields not much has changed Since I last had a look at Company of Heroes 3 and that is to say I don't have Much to complain about it feels like Good old coh tactical action with a Wider roster of units than ever before And a good variety of unorthodox Objectives to break up the more Traditional Maps Tactical pause has become a trusty tool That I especially appreciate when I need To quickly change gears from attacking To defending or react quickly to an Unexpected enemy move campaign has gone Through a lot of iterations but it seems Like they more or less got this battle Stuff right the first time I still have a fair few unanswered Questions about how the campaign will Play out across dozens of turns certain Strategic elements still lacking tool Tips and leaving it unclear what kind of
Role they'll play it's also difficult to Get a full picture of just how the Strategic side ticks in terms of Resources Logistics and progression but Now that the story woven around it is Better fleshed out I can definitely say It presents a compelling excuse to get You into those exciting tactical battles If nothing else We'll finally be hitting the beaches and In it for the long haul when Company of Heroes 3 arrives at last on February 23rd for more on Company of Heroes 3 Don't miss our campaign map deep dive And our look at special missions and for Everything else in the world of games Stick with IGN