To strategy gamers, the words "expansion pack" mean new units, maps, and
campaign coupled with a tweaking of the original game that works out some of the
original game's rough spots without changing the core experience. If you
generally agree with that statement, then Tales of Valor has a surprise in store
for you. The expansion gives you the expected new campaigns, albeit short
ones in three three-mission campaigns, but they don't play in the same way as
the missions in the original Company of Heroes. The missions in Tales of
Valor have a strong action-RPG feel to them as you make your way through each
campaign with the same unit or small group of units. This is where the
"tales of valor" come in - each campaign is the story of a small group of men
during one of the war's more notable operations. I really liked what
Company of Heroes did with the World War 2 RTS, but I also have a soft spot for
enjoyable action-RPGs and so I had fun with the campaigns in Tales of Valor,
although I wish that they were longer. Don't get me wrong - Tales of Valor
is still a strategy game in that you need to employ sound small unit tactics to
succeed. It's just not quite the same game as Company of Heroes and I know
that some people won't be happy about that.
The multiplayer side of the coin introduces three new gameplay modes, all of
which are enjoyable but like the new campaigns stray towards more
action-oriented gameplay than a traditional RTS. The first mode is Assault
which puts you in control of a single 'hero' unit who must 'lead' a force of
AI-controlled units against other players' hero-led AI forces. Panzerkrieg
gives each player a single tank and sends them after each other in a
free-for-all Atari' Combat updated for the new millennium?
Well it's a little more sophisticated than that given that each tank commander
is a 'hero' unit with access to unique special abilities. The final mode
is Stonewall, which in a way also derives its inspiration from arcade games.
This is a co-op mode in which players must work together to fight off a series
of attack waves. These multiplayer modes are a bit of a departure from
those in the original game to say the least. They're certainly fun to
play, but whether they are 'different good' or 'different bad' is probably a
matter of personal preference.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated:
78%. These tales are not traditional Company of
Heroes stories, but they can make for some fun stories while they last.