As we played through Company of Heroes 3, the more we’re starting to believe that consoles might be ready to take on more RTS games. Ever since we saw Command and Conquer and the original Warcraft RTS release on the first PlayStation, we always felt that there was something missing from the genre that PC gamers have monopolized for so long. Was it maybe the combination of mouse and keyboard and all the hotkeys that create exciting campaigns that promote frenetic micromanagement and quick thinking?
For a genre that relies heavily on multiple key inputs and fast action, RTS games have always shied away from consoles due to the restrictions of a controller. Technological and design advancements have slowly chipped away at this deficit, and with the trickle of strategy-based titles being released over the years, RTS games are ready to make a console splash once again, with Company of Heroes 3 at the frontlines.
Here are some reasons why Company of Heroes 3 Could Usher in an RTS Resurgence on Consoles.
Dynamic Campaign Keeps The Action Going
When we think of RTS games, we think of a mission-based paradigm that requires players to complete specific objectives in order to progress, consisting mostly of either neutralizing an enemy base, capturing a specific enemy unit, or surviving a siege. While Company of Heroes 3 has those in the form of Skirmish Missions, it’s the Dynamic Campaign that provides that connecting tissue that envelopes the whole experience.
In this turn-based mode for Company of Heroes 3, you have a grand objective of capturing specific territories that are beneficial to your campaign. Be it a specific city or enemy targets, success will be dependent on how you utilize your units, defend your bases, and call on the resources required to achieve such a feat.
The Map Feature is uniquely designed so that you can develop units, and each specific squad can learn skills such as artillery-focused or urban warfare-focused which specializes them to suit your strategy. When the Germans either attack you with their panzer unit or trap you in a long siege, you could be ready for them with some preparation.
As detailed in our Company of Heroes 3 review, the action doesn’t stop by just completing the mini-objectives, which may require completing several skirmishes either as an auto-complete or a do-or-die last stand. Winning this battle boils down to a combination of several elements that keeps the action free-flowing.
The Dynamic Campaign is the grand stage of this theater that unites every mission until either Italy or the North African campaign has emerged victorious.
Skirmish Missions Brings the RTS Action On Consoles to Life
While the Dynamic Campaign oversees the entire world as the macro component, the Skirmish Missions of Company of Heroes 3 are the micro component that allows you to weigh in on all the small battles that will be crucial to lead your company to victory.
The Skirmish Mission is an integral factor of the Company of Heroes 3 experience, where you can build specific units such as Engineers, Infantry, and Riflemen, and even deploy Captains and Tanks to complete your bidding. Each unit can be commanded as an entire company or in smaller squads to either capture territory, defeat enemy units, or destroy specific buildings.
Compared to the Dynamic Campaign, which oversees the entire war from a bird’s eye perspective, the Skirmish Missions goes live to the heart of the battle. The entire war comes to life – from the detailed animations and also from the immersive sound design. The realistic gun sounds, your commanding officer’s desperate commands, and the impressive voice acting heard from the fighting troops contribute to the boots-on-the-ground approach of this realistic World War II battlefield experience.
The Power of Tactical Pause
Company of Heroes 3 offers players a highly powerful feature called the Tactical Pause, which enhances the strategic gameplay and enables consoles to be RTS-ready in their own right. As Skirmish missions become more intense, micromanaging multiple companies becomes an arduous task. You have a myriad amount of specialized units, each ready to do massive damage when called upon.
The tactical pause option allows you to queue multiple commands. Players can move specific units to different areas to concentrate on a specific objective while also giving time to retreat and queue a building in order to allow for backup reinforcements. The complex becomes simple all of a sudden as you get the time to think things through before placing an action.
While this could mean too much power in the hands of the players, one thing not possible during tactical pause are hunkering your units down into specific buildings and moving them away from buildings. Players will still have to deal with a certain level of execution to win battles but rest assured, assistance is there in the form of the Tactical Pause.
Proper Use of Environments and Terrain Spell Victory
The proper use of terrain can definitely work to your advantage should you choose to utilize it wisely. Well-placed infantry in specific buildings can create unique kill boxes to decimate your enemy’s forces, but a strategically placed sniper by the enemy can do the same to you. The same goes for mortar and artillery that could take down a panzer brigade or lay waste to your last tank.
Verticality also plays a massive role in Company of Heroes 3, adding another height dimension to this RTS experience. If you have the high ground, victory will almost surely sway in your direction. Yet, don’t be too cocky, as a well-placed strategic flank by your enemy can almost find you being caught dead if you get too comfortable with your strategy.
The realism seen in Skirmish missions are also highlighted by the destructible environments from buildings, various debris, and even key infrastructure such as bridges. You can take out actual terrain to get a specific flank or redirect all enemy units into a bottleneck to secure victory or force them into a siege. Mixed with the realistic sound design, it’ll surely get you into the middle of the action!
Unique Factions and Squads
Achieving specific objectives can curry favor with a specific chain of command, allowing you use to special squads from either the American, British, and Italian militias. The British are partial to preparation and maritime warfare, so by completing objectives that allow for ports, you will be able to use the Indian tank regiment in your command. The American special forces are more specialized for quick and forceful tactics, so there is that if that’s more up your alley.
It is not only the allied forces under your command in Company of Heroes 3. You can also take the role of the German and Afrikan Korps in other campaigns. With explosive Panzer and Blitzkrieg strategies, the German forces are no slouch in keeping their territories intact.
Company of Heroes 3 is certainly something that RTS fans have been looking for. With multiple modes of play and a revamped control scheme that is tailor-fit for console players, players can take up the battle in every platform front.
Company of Heroes 3 is currently out on PC and consoles.