Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor Review

Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor

ToV‘s stories of a German Tiger tank’s efforts to stop the British advance on a French village, the U.S. paratroopers’ D-day attempt to take a German-controlled causeway, and the German defense of the Falaise Pocket are all woven seamlessly into the action via voice-overed radio communications, scripted battle sequences, and finely hand-painted cutscenes, which makes for a very intense experience that drives home the unpredictable and mostly uncontrollable nature of the war from the soldiers’ perspectives. The game can, however, be a jarring departure from what fans of the series have grown accustomed to, as it takes on more of an action flavor than previous titles. And though they are quite engaging, players will find that the nine new missions are over very quickly, leaving multiplayer matches as the only remaining option for novel engagements.

Multiplayer, too, takes a detour from the norm in Tales of Valor. Like the first of the new single-player campaigns, Operation Panzerkrieg puts players in control of a single tank, but this time in a victory point match (capture and hold strategic points across the map) against other players. This may seem very bland, but with the variety of tanks and commander skills available, things still remain interesting.

Operation Assault, while the least involved, is arguably the most enjoyable of the new modes. It casts up to six players as individual hero units on either side of a large-scale battle over open ground, the goal being to have enough influence over the deeply entrenched AI forces to sway the outcome of the war. As a sniper, commando, medic, engineer, etc., players can affect the proceedings of the engagement in a variety of ways, leveling up abilities as they successfully defeat enemies and complete objectives. After falling at the hands of the enemy, players respawn as a new hero of any desired type. It’s like a fast-paced RTS version of the Battlefield series, except that the majority of the soldiers involved are relatively weak and expendable, and the player characters are undeniably badass.

Lastly, Operation Stonewall is basically a co-op skirmish match against the CPU, in which players must work together to build their forces and manage resources as they defend a small town from the attacking German soldiers. Although these new operations offer a good change of pace from CoH‘s existing multiplayer, they suffer from the fact that each is limited to only one map, so get used to them.

Tales of Valor may not be what longtime Company of Heroes fans were expecting from Relic’s expansion, but the game still delivers a great experience from start to finish. The problem with that, though, is that “start to finish” is not a very long time, because ToV is comparatively light on content, overall. It’s a great game, but at $30, gamers should expect more.

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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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