Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor Review

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.


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