Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor Review

Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor

The Company of Heroes franchise is not the typical real-time strategy experience that many gamers are familiar with. Relic’s latest standalone expansion, Tales of Valor, takes the gameplay standard set forth in the first two entries in the series and runs with it, though not exactly in the same direction as the originals, but still a unique one.

Tales of Valor adds three new single-player campaigns and three new multiplayer modes, along with new unit types and maps to do battle on. As expected, the content is all of standard CoH caliber, but compared to the two additional armies (each with full campaigns of their own) that the Opposing Fronts expansion introduced, ToV feels quite small, especially as a standalone product.

For those unfamiliar with the Company of Heroes style of RTS play, a primer: Company of Heroes differs from the by-the-numbers RTS formula primarily in the way players acquire the resources necessary to fuel their war machine. Rather than setting up and relying on continuous, semi-passive background harvesting and generation, players must actively capture supply points scattered throughout the map to boost the three resources — manpower, munitions, and fuel — that are required for building new structures and producing additional units. This system makes players have to work to improve their army alongside their combat efforts, and feels like a more realistic match for the game’s setting than in many other RTS games.

As a result of the less exploitable resource system, unit production is also toned down a bit; players won’t be leading thousands of units across the battlefield in a tsunami of camouflage, but will have to be a bit more selective and strategic in their efforts to put together an effective force. HQs, barracks, motor pools, and other analogs to what one would expect to find in an RTS exist in CoH, but the speed at which the gears of war turn is less rapid than some may be used to.

Unlike earlier CoH games and multiplayer, however, the new single-player missions in Tales of Valor do not ask much of the player in terms of base-building and unit management at all, save for the final campaign, which only lightly dabbles in the more traditional type of RTS play. The expansion instead chooses to focus on the exploits of small groups of units through the heavily — and impressively — narrated campaigns, mostly without the luxury of any sort of home base to fall back on. Players are given more direct and fine-tuned control over a wealth of specific squad actions, including the new, aptly-named direct fire ability, which is available for some unit types.

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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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