'Company of Heroes 3' Tries to Capture Some Total War Magic

In their day, the Company of Heroes games were best-in-class single-player and multiplayer real-time strategy games. The original Company of Heroes, when it debuted in 2006, hit all the familiar beats of mid-2000s World War 2 nostalgia in a long narrative campaign that called back to Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers as you led a hard-fighting company of GIs from France into Germany. It was slick and cinematic and had just about nothing to do with the multiplayer game, which was a mercilessly fast-paced tug-of-war across a map full of key strategic points, where the battle lines often shifted faster than you could think.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qj8evm/company-of-heroes-3-preview-strategic-mode
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I’m very excited about this game. I’ve always been fascinated with the North Africa campaign, the front lines were incredibly fluid and the terrain allowed for a lot of grand flanking thrusts that are really exciting to try to recreate in a wargame.

I’m surprised this did not come up in the podcast but the thing that absolutely ruined Company of Heroes 2 for me in terms of multiplayer was the bulletin system.

Yes there were skins and overall I think the idea of having some skins for your units to personalize them is a fun idea. You get a skin unlock after 2 or 3 matches or you can just straight up buy them. That’s cool and seems fair given a match can be easily 30-40 minutes.

What is not okay in your RTS you are trying to market and hold tournaments for is the idea of a random drop system that includes stat buffs to units AKA the bulletin system.

On top of this the ones you get are random and are of varying quality. Oh you like playing the British but got an American bulletin? That sucks maybe after 2 or 3 games RNG will be kinder to you. Did you just lose a match and see your opponent had high tier bulletins? Are you sure you got outplayed or was it the bulletins that gave them the edge they needed?

What a horrible idea from top to bottom.

On top of this they flooded the system with a billion different commanders you had to either buy or hope you rolled lucky on RNG and got. Does that commander seem interesting? Well that’s going to be $5 hope you like them and I hope they don’t get nerfed into the ground in the next patch. Also because there’s so many commanders now (the soviets have 22 alone) you need to be aware of what each of them can possibly do unlike say in the first game where each faction had I think 3 doctrines max.

Anyway I love the series and it’s easily my favorite singleplayer RTS but 2 was real rough in the microtransactions department I sure hope 3 doesn’t go down that road.

Also while writing this up I learned there’s a Company of Heroes Boardgame which I know nothing about but it has a 9.1 on board game geek and I loved playing with plastic army men as a kid and the idea of the two of these meeting in an overly complex war gaming board game sounds like a fun thing to keep on my shelf convince someone to play with me one time and never play again.

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