Company of Heroes 3 set to release soon

After several years in development, Relic Entertainment unveiled Company of Heroes 3 on July 14, and you can join up to play a pre-Alpha sample build of the game here.

This is the third installment of one of the most acclaimed real-time strategy series of all time. Company of Heroes was released in 2006 to near-universal acclaim and many accolades, including PC Gamer's 2006 Game of the Year. It was followed by two expansions—Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valor—before a full sequel, Company of Heroes 2, was released in 2013.

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Company of Heroes 3 is a turn-based strategy game set in Italy and North Africa that includes customized real-time missions and clashes. It appears to be massive—online PCG's editor Fraser Brown couldn't get enough of it during his hands-on time, and explains why it's a World War 2 RTS on the scale of a Total War game in his thorough essay.

In multiplayer, you'll be able to play as the German, British, and American armies, but in the campaign, you'll only be playing as the Allies. The campaign is turn-based and takes place on a large area with separate goals that you may explore and conquer in your own way.


As seen by the above, Company of Heroes 3 has more than quadrupled the series' usual destructive power. All props may be destroyed, from buildings to flora, and they don't only have two states. Buildings may be chipped away, vehicle components can be blasted off, and maps can be hardly recognized after battles.

The best part is that you can play it right now. Signing up for Relic's Games2Gether program, which is run by fellow Sega company Amplitude, means you'll get sneak peaks, updates, and playable builds. Right now, a pre-alpha demo is accessible on Steam, and you may use flamethrowers to blow up tanks and assault buildings until 7 p.m. PDT on August 2/3 a.m. BST on August 3.

About
Relic's strategic experts have announced a return to World War 2. Company of Heroes 3 is on the way, with a slew of new features that are both surprising and thrilling. The series is one of the greatest RTS affairs out there, having managed to carve out a comfy niche for itself even when the genre fell out of favor. And, with so few real-time strategy games on the market these days, a new Company of Heroes is more than welcome.

Company of Heroes 3 will be released in 2022, although Relic hasn't specified a particular date yet.

What Company of Heroes 3 factions will be playable?
You'll be able to play as the German, UK and US forces, though on the campaign you'll just be playing the Allies. Importantly, you will actually be able to command both at the same time, giving you a very large toy box to play with. The cooperation and tension between the Allies is a big part of the campaigns, so you'll need to juggle the desires of your subcommanders, who include an Italian partisan liaison.

The partisans are a special faction in that you won't be commanding them like a normal army. Instead, you'll use them on the campaign map to create traps and snatch up enemy intel. I had to liberate some partisan forces first, and then by making choices that favoured them, I unlocked a bunch of convenient perks.

What theatre is Company of Heroes 3 set in?
After fighting through the Western and Eastern Fronts, Company of Heroes is now heading to the Mediterranean. You'll duke it out in a campaign set across Italy, and North Africa has been teased as well, where you'll conquer territory, get into skirmishes and fight bespoke battles.

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How do Company of Heroes 3's campaigns work?
Company of Heroes 3's campaigns are turn-based and take place on huge maps evocative of Total War. You'll have discrete objectives, but otherwise you can explore and conquer these maps however you want, letting you make your own route to victory.

Relic has created a 'holistic loop' that keeps the campaigns feeling inextricably linked to the RTS battles. Everything you can do in a real-time fight, you can do on the turn-based map, whether it's using your air force to scout an area, your engineers to remove mines or your artillery to demolish enemy units. When you engage with an enemy on the map, you get to exchange fire before jumping into an RTS battle, and if you do enough damage you can wipe them out before the main fight. Even if you don't, the impact of that turn-based confrontation will still change things.

As you take more territory, you get more resources that can be spent on your troops. Each bit of territory gives you something, though taking advantage of it means you'll need to keep your supply lines open, and a broken link will mean your units will suffer. Some locations also give you access to naval and air power, turning Company of Heroes 3 into a proper combined arms game.

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With an airbase under your command, you can send planes on scouting missions, bombing runs and drop troops behind enemy lines. Ships, meanwhile, can transport troops far afield, or bombard enemies from the safety of the coast. All of this will be a boon on the campaign map, but you'll be able to use them all in missions too.

What's new in the real-time battles?
As well as having this strong connection to the campaign map, the RTS engagements have a few more tricks up their sleeves.

The tactical pause system is one of the most notable new additions. Essentially, you can play the entirety of Company of Heroes 3's single player with your finger never drifting far from the pause button. When you freeze the action, you can still command your troops, queueing up orders to allow them to pull off elaborate attacks the moment you return to the fray. Relic hopes it will help new players make sense of the complex fights, but it's also just a really enjoyable way to play, especially if you've spent more time with turn-based tactics lately.

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Destruction is a series mainstay, and Company of Heroes 3 has dialed up the system considerably. All of its props, from buildings to foliage, can be damaged, and they don't just have a couple of states. Buildings can be chipped away at over time, vehicles can have parts blown off and the destruction system tells you the story of the fight. The system dramatically transforms the battlefield, aided by striking lighting and the bombastic audio. Looking at maps after a fight, they're barely recognizable.

New to the destruction system is the persistence of things like fallen masonry, which can be used for cover. Destruction doesn't mean all the cover vanishes, it just changes the kind of cover. There might be fewer buildings to hide in, but that doesn't mean everyone's fighting in the open. Debris can also be a risk, too, as it can fall on troops and crush them.

You can also choose to breach a building instead of toppling it. You can command your infantry to breach, at which point they'll toss in a grenade and then wipe out the enemies hiding inside. Some of them might flee out the back, but you can catch them if you position other troops behind the building. If you use upgraded engineers, you can even use your flamethrower to breach, which is a lot of fun.
 

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