Review – Company of Heroes Collection (Switch)

Company of Heroes Collection

Disclaimer, I actually really enjoy and respect Company of Heroes. The squad based gameplay, use of terrain during gameplay, and blend of MOBA and RTS mechanics were genuinely revolutionary. Though I feel Dawn of War perfected it, Company of Heroes paved the way. This console Switch port though? This is not the way to experience this modern RTS classic. I can respect the ambition behind the Company of Heroes Collection, but sometime ambition is just not enough. Though it’s not just the usual controls issue, as this port also has some strange performance restrictions, missing features, and some confusingly implemented ones. In some ways it’s a greatest hits of bad Switch port “features”. 

D-Day, the single most adapted wartime event ever.

Company of Heroes is a hardcore fast-paced PC RTS. There’s always been a stigma against this genre coming to console. A belief that controllers fundamentally cannot keep up with a keyboard and mouse. That the lack of buttons and cursor accuracy makes even mid level play genuinely impossible. And in my opinion, that’s absolutely accurate. We’ve seen plenty of attempts to bring the genre over to console successfully. And at the very best we’ve seen games that can proudly state they’re not total disasters. What we’ve never gotten is a game that breaks the stigma and proves equally capable as the PC version. And this Company of Heroes Collection continues the trend of not being that, but instead another example of wondering why you’d even bother trying. 

To be fair, I’m not saying that an attempt wasn’t made. Feral Interactive tried their best, using all the usual tricks. Radial menus, ability select slowdown, awkward controller cursor for last minute use, the works. And also to be fair, the Baldur’s Gate console ports used these to absolutely shocking effect. Possibly the greatest impossible port ever that ended up being. But it doesn’t pan out that way here. It does hold up well at the start, tutorials play fine, as do the first missions. But as the game ramps up, the controls fall apart. And this is on easy. If you decide to up the difficulty, the only thing you’ll be doing is shortening your lifespan due to stress. The feeling of seeing the moves you need to make, but being unable to pull them off is maddening. You’re not playing a game anymore, you’re fighting it. And losing.

Radial menus, they’re either incredibly helpful or incredibly cluttered and intrusive.

While the control issues were a death knell for me personally, they weren’t the only issues with this port. For one, there’s no multiplayer. Although Feral has said that this will be added in a post-launch update, like with GRID Autosport. However, I personally wonder if the game will make enough to make back its original investment let alone additional updates. It wouldn’t be the first time free updates were reneged on, just ask Knights of the Old Republic II. The game is also locked to 30 FPS, despite the age of the game. Not a dealbreaker sure, but 60 FPS always feels so nice. Finally, while menus have touchscreen controls, for some reason the game has none whatsoever. Despite how much that would have helped the game play smoother. Once again, the Switch’s touchscreen taking a massive L. 

Sometimes there’s just too much going on and the screen gets way too cluttered.

Sometimes something comes along that really makes me wonder why it was ever greenlit. The Company of Heroes Collection for Nintendo Switch is one of those projects. It’s such an old game, and the genre to console conversion comes burdened with so much implied work. And even if it was ported over successfully, the RTS audience on Switch is hardly overwhelming. And this definitely wasn’t a case of a successful port, with the missing multiplayer, control issues, and puzzling performance decisions. While I believe that you simply can’t enjoy a proper RTS to the fullest with a controller, I don’t deny I could be wrong. However it’s going to take much more than this to convince me of that. 

Graphics: 5.0

It’s an RTS from 2006 that’s locked at 30 fps for no discernable reason, that’s all you need to know.

Gameplay: 3.0

Company of Heroes‘ squad RTS gameplay was revolutionary in 2006, and although Dawn of War 1 and 2 perfected it, it would still play wonderfully if not for the weaknesses of a controller control scheme.

Sound: 9.0

The voice-acting is fantastic across all factions, and the soundtrack is pretty good too.

Fun Factor: 3.0

StarCraft 64 taught us a lesson that, 25 years later, we still haven’t learned: controllers just can’t keep up with the micromanagement, map control, and lightning fast pace of a hardcore PC RTS.

Final Verdict: 4.0

Company of Heroes Collection is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Company of Heroes Collection was provided by the publisher.