The DeanBeat: Take Company of Heroes 3 Multiplayer for a Round


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Humans are still much smarter than computer AI, as I relearned playing the Company of Heroes 3 pre-alpha multiplayer demo.

Sega and Relic Entertainment launched a demo of the Italian WWII campaign game on Steam on Tuesday.

The high-profile real-time strategy game will debut in 2022, but developer Relic has said it has a pre-alpha slice of gameplay ready for multiplayer players ready to try. I downloaded it from CompanyOfHeroes.com and I started playing it yesterday. And the humans who jumped into the game early gave me their heads.

Part of a series that has been around since 2006, Company of Heroes games test your ability to control both real-time 3D tactical battles and turn-based strategic 2D campaigns. And this one takes place in Italy, as American and British forces attempt to dislodge the German army entrenched in places such as the Monte Cassino monastery on top of a mountain.

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Above: Company of Heroes 3 has a Steam demo.

Image Credit: Sega / Relic

I played the single-player campaign installment that focused on the early summer invasion of Naples. I played about 10 hours of campaigning and enjoyed battles like taking Pomigliano Airfield from the Wehrmacht using a combined British and American force. But that wasn’t enough practice for multiplayer combat, where I played both 1v1 and 2v2 modes.

So far I’ve only played on the American side, and that’s part of the problem. The Germans beat the Americans at the tactical level, both with veteran soldiers and with better equipment like Panzerfausts and MG42 machine guns. When a typical German team faces an American team in the game, the Germans usually win. My strategy was to try to produce a lot of rifle squads in my headquarters and then send them out to capture as many victory points, ammo dots, and fuel depots as possible early on.

But inevitably, I ran into German squads who cut my infantry to shreds. Then I had to retreat and concentrate my forces in places like buildings that overlooked the victory points. It is always quite difficult to judge the size of the enemy forces, as they are hidden by the “fog of war” which means that you can only see your own troops until the beginning of the firefight.

Beautiful Mediterranean environments are destroyed in Company of Heroes 3.

Above: Beautiful Mediterranean environments are destroyed in Company of Heroes 3.

Image Credit: Sega / Relic

At this point, whether you’re playing solo or with a partner, it becomes a race. You need to take and hold enough positions to start earning more resources. Then you use those resources to upgrade the infantry that you can produce, such as allowing HQ to deploy Browning machine gun squads. I continued to produce the base squads and pump them up, but since enemies generally grabbed more territory than me or just pushed me back, I didn’t generate as much firepower.

I tried to produce armor, but was only able to get half-tracks with 75mm guns. These took care of the machine gunners, but they did not do well against the infantry with Panzerfausts or German tanks. So inevitably my team went into a long, slow decline, and I was ultimately defeated. I’m going to keep playing and trying to level up, but this pre-alpha won’t last forever.

The studio has received feedback on the single player demo released earlier this year and looks forward to hearing from their community again on the upcoming multiplayer pre-alpha. I’ve noticed that when you have a mismatched team in a firefight, that fight ends very quickly. You can’t find yourself at a dead end in these tactical battles, so you need to make sure you have overwhelming strength and cover in every skirmish.

It was a nice diversion in a week where I had a rare break from stories to cover or interviews to do. I can’t wait to spend a lot of time with this game when it releases next year.

It’s been over eight years since Company of Heroes 2 debuted in 2013 with a setting on the Russian front. I loved playing the original Relic / THQ title, Company of Heroes, when it came out in 2006 with a Normandy / Cobra Battleground. Talk about pent-up demand. I can’t wait to relive history or rewrite it.

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