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The Outerhaven’s Company of Heroes 3 Preview

Back in November 2022, I was invited to a digital Company of Heroes 3 event, and during that event, I was able to speak with a few members of that was on hand, and even had a chance to get some hands-on time with a preview build of the game.

While I appreciated the opportunity, I did mention to the PR person who invited me that I didn’t have any experience with any of the Company of Heroes titles. Sure, I knew of them, and I’ve heard several of my peers talk about the third game, but if you asked me anything, I’d give you that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

Despite that, I found myself enjoying the passion of the team, which is always good to see from anyone developing any sort of media. And while I had no experience with the previous titles, I was impressed with what I saw and later played.

What Company of Heroes fans have been asking for

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During the event, several things were made apparently clear. Fans of the series wanted more from the series, and Relic Entertainment was up to the challenge. In fact, the developer had stated that Company of Heroes 3 was going to be “the biggest COH game they’ve ever released.” That wasn’t an understatement either, and throughout the event, they show just what is in store for COH fans.

The number of campaigns available at the start of COH 3 has been doubled, while the number of total maps (both single and multiplayer) was doubled, and then some. Players will find themselves playing through 40-plus campaign missions, 120 different playable missions, with over 40 hours of gameplay. While COH 2 had two factions at the start, the Soviet and Wehrmacht Ostheer, COH 3 consists of four.  The USA, British, Deutsches Afrikakorps, and the returning Wehrmacht Ostheer. It’s as if Relic is determined to make Company of Heroes 3 the best of the series.

But it doesn’t end there.

Relic wanted to focus on the WWII North African campaign, as it typically doesn’t get as much coverage as other campaigns when it comes to games. To which they are correct. While some video games, with titles such as Call of Duty 2, and Sniper Elite 3 being the only ones I can recall that featured a few missions based in the North African campaign, that’s pretty much it.

New to COH 3 will be several systems,  one of which is called Tactical Pause, which will allow players to pause the game, and let them plan the best way to go about a mission. There are several other systems, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. However, there’s also something new to the game, which again, despite my limited time with COH, is pretty damned impressive — the Dynamic Campaign. This newly implemented campaign is sort of like a pick-your-own adventure, as every decision you make throughout the war will affect everything — characters, relationships, and even the narrative.

What about the modding support?

Relic learned the hard way that fans of Company of Heroes 2 weren’t happy that it took so long to get modding enabled for the game, and they aren’t about to repeat the same mistake. With COH 3, modding support will be available at launch. Fans were passionate about the mods they created for the previous games, and with the latest game, they’ll be able to jump into modding, which should make the community very happy.

Impressed with the Company of Heroes 3 Preview

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I usually get early access to games that perhaps needed more time in the oven, the same couldn’t be said about the Company of Heroes 3 preview that I’ve played.  Even in this preview form, I was impressed with how well Company of Heroes 3 played. This preview provided access to two different campaigns, one based in the North African theater and took the form of a typical Company of Heroes gameplay style, and the Italian theater, which implemented the newly added dynamic campaign. There was also a multiplayer mode component that I sadly wasn’t able to participate in due to the lack of time on my part.

It did take me some time to get used to the controls and how to utilize the units. But once I did, and everything started to click, I was having a blast. Being able to call in units best suited for the situation at hand was more fun than I expected it to be. Tactical Pause was every bit as useful as Relic Entertainment claimed it would be, and it allowed me to survey the battlefield and plan the best course of action. I can see this being useful for newcomers and veterans of the Company of Heroes titles when the third game drops in 2023.

While I haven’t played the first two Company of Heroes games in the past, I’ve already started to rectify that by playing Company of Heroes 2. By the time Company of Heroes 3 is released, I should be better acquainted with the series, and ready to take on the 2023 follow-up.

Company of Heroes 3 releases on February 23, 2023, for PC (Steam).