Company of Heroes is usually a name which is given some much deserved respect from the RTS crowd, but Tales of Valour definitely isn’t able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the main game in some respects. Tales of Valour is one of those add-on packs, which doesn’t require the person to have Company of Heroes on their computer to play this little addition. In this one we follow 3 stories in 9 larger missions across WW2, the story is presented in what I thought was a very cool way, a mix between a comic book and basic picture movements. For reference if you ever watched the Dead Space comic that they released online you’ll have a good idea of how this works.
Visually the game is still a treat for the eyes; there is a lot of detail in the environments and the units, and the little extras that Relic has put into the game shows the level of production value that they put into just a standalone expansion pack. When you play the German tank team, you feel like a badass when you move down a street crushing cars and demolishing buildings.
Game play wise Tales has some hit and miss elements, on one side it’s nice to see them take the single player in a different direction, this time focusing more on one or just a few units, ala Dawn of War 2. One example is the German Tank, which is dropped into a battlefield with a list of objectives to complete. On the other hand, the reason I loved the first Company of Heroes was because it went from feeling like Band of Brothers to full scale fighting, all the while allowing me a ton of control over every unit. The shrink in scope for Tales is new, but I would have liked at least a couple of missions where I felt like I was once again spear heading the front lines.
However unlike the last Standalone expansion pack I reviewed, this one comes with a fully feature multiplayer, something that I think all of these expansion packs need. I was even lucky enough to get a couple of new modes, and easily my favourite was Relics takes on the stupidly popular DOTA. (Defence of the Ancients) The mode works pretty much the same as DOTA, you get to choose a single hero and help your team push the enemy back to their base so you can blow it to the high heavens. I have to say using a Tiger Tank was definitely more fun than using a super sized troll, there was nothing funnier than just unloading a massive cannon shot into some poor little riflemen trying to run past.
In addition we get a whole new group of units, a collection that included, a speedy little tank, and a nasty German bike that can fire while going in reverse, meaning if you’re trying to be all fancy and use your engineers to wipe these guys out, you better hope to god the other player isn’t paying attention because if he is, he’ll throw that bike in R, and mow you down as he gets away laughing.
Now before I talk about my biggest pet peeve with the whole package, I have to just say one thing, and that is, Big Thumbs up to Relic for the main menu and the interface there. Every time you get into the game you have this menu sitting there with all the other expansion packs and the original game locked, meaning that you’ll be tempted to start buying them off Steam every time you play the game, brilliant if you ask me, I was trying to justify re-buying the original Company of Heroes even though I know I have the disc around here somewhere.
Now onto my biggest problem with this game, and that’s the fact that in multiplayer I have to give up two units if I want to use the news ones, this just baffles me, I’ve played god knows how many RTS games, and never has an expansion pack ever made me trade old units for new units, and I can’t frankly figure out why they did this.
Overall though Tales of Valour was a fun experience, I would have liked a single player that was more like the first game, but I still had fun with the content that I was given. The Multiplayer was overall a blast to play except for the mind boggling decision to force me to trade units. What this game did do right on all accounts is make me wish Relic would hurry up and release a Company of Heroes 2….and Homeworld 3, like this year…
P.S. Seriously Relic- HomeWorld 3, get on it!