Company of Heroes is back and bigger than ever before! Company of Heroes 3 (CoH3) will see you immersing yourself in epic RTS combat spanning across Italy and North Africa. Utilize different factions and units in the biggest campaign in this franchises history, filled with "sandbox-style" gameplay to win the war. CoH3 includes army customization as well to bring in new levels of strategy into the mix. Along with gorgeous cinematic action and a new state-of-the-art engine to render special effects and physics, this is the definitive WW2 RTS experience.
Before I go into settings, yes this is a real-time strategy game. This game is best played with a Keyboard and Mouse, but it is able to be played with a gamepad. There are custom configurations, but none of them worked out enough to justify using it over the base version. I did try making my own, but I had the same issue where nothing I could do really enhanced the experience enough to justify. The game is coming out for consoles as well, so controller support may come to PC as well, but we won't know for sure until it releases.
Company of Heroes 3 started off running significantly better than I expected. The game defaults to the lowest setting and a 30 FPS lock. I was hitting 10W drain at this and immediately felt this could be better. This is where I came across my first hurdle...the in-game framerate cap. The game caps itself at 30 and actually locks the option due to the APU of the Deck having a quad-core CPU, meaning you can't make the framerate higher than 30. But, as I was rebooting the Deck to change graphics settings, the option to change the in-game cap unlocked and I was able to start running CoH3 at higher framerates. I couldn't replicate this on purpose, so I made a 30 and 40 FPS build incase you are able to push it higher.
The 30 FPS build is the recommended since I know everyone will be able to utilize it. It combines Medium, High, and Low settings with 100% render scale for a crisp and stable experience. You could push it higher, but the drain creeps up and drops are more noticeable. The 40 FPS build is mostly Medium and Low settings along with an 85% render scale. The drain is higher here than the 30 FPS, but the smoothness is fantastic.
I also noticed that no matter what, there were always some small stutters/drops in framerate at some parts in the game. This happened mostly during real-time cutscenes, which slowed the game's framerate down a bit, zooming out to the big map, or when a lot happened on screen at once. Though once the cutscene was done and the action passed, this quickly went back down. Through my playing, this didn't happen nearly as much and when it did, I didn't really notice.
Overall, I am happy with the performance and how the game plays on the Deck. Playing with a Keyboard and Mouse while docked would feel better, and full controller support would be EVEN better, but it is playable. With the console edition coming out later, it is possible this issue will be remedied in the future. If you like these kinds of games and don't mind using a gamepad to emulate the keyboard and mouse, or docking it and using an actual KB+M, get this game!
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Stellaris is a slow paced grand strategy game in space where you start with your own empire against various factions with many different ways to win. You mostly see space combat, while unit ground movement is just told to you through text if you click on the unit. Similar to Elder Scrolls or some other 4X grand strategy games, it requires mods to hit its true potential. But when all the stars align, this game is out of this world.
When it comes to graphics presets they all run around the same, but I found that medium works the best out of them all. For some reason, low settings had more issues late game though. The average temps throughout the game were in the mid 70s for both CPU and GPU, while slowly increasing as more factions were found.
Luckily, even all the way to the end of the game, the highest temps I was able to reach were 82C for CPU and 80C for GPU, but this would usually only be for 1-3 minutes thanks to multiple battles happening at the same time. The battery would last around 5 hours initially but depending on how many factions you have it can go down to 3.5 hours.
Capping wattage is pointless thanks to the late-game stutters so I would keep it on a TDP limit of 15W to prevent any battery spikes. Unfortunately, the game will stutter down to as low as 45 FPS. This happens even on desktop, so I wouldn’t limit the framerate to less than 60 because either way, the FPS drops/stuttering will happen. For example, if you are on a 30 FPS cap, it will drop to 14 FPS, but with a 60 FPS cap, it will drop to around 45 FPS.
I was also playing the game with 3 workshop mods, which actually helped the game run better with lower temps. This is quite unique since I tested without any mods and with specific performance enhancement mods, but these ones helped more than either of those tests. The link to all 3 of these mods will be below the review.
The Steam Deck itself handles this game perfectly since CPU and GPU don’t go over 40% usage, but the problem is the optimization of the original game itself. It bottlenecks late game, forcing stuttering. This is due to processing too many decisions being made in-game by other AI, which could be from too many enemies on the field or some that grew way too large on a huge map.
I was able to confirm this by doing a comparison on the AMD 5700u Onexplayer, and Windows 10 desktop, and came across the exact same stutters even though it is on Windows 10 & 11. If stuttering bothers you, then you should use small galaxies with no more than 5 factions in all.
Stellaris runs fine most of the time thankfully, though I once had the game crash on launch. I recommend lowering the UI scaling to either 90% or 80%. At 80%, you will not have to move anything and be able to click and close everything easily, while at 90%, there may be a few windows to move around, but everything will be easily clickable.
The only glitches I came across were some graphical issues that arose on locations the game calls “Suns” or in combat, but if I hadn’t tested it on a Onexplayer for comparisons, I’d have had no idea that wasn’t unoptimization due to the game itself.
In the end I was saddened that the stutters were a regular occurrence late-game, but I’m glad that the issue isn’t with the steam deck but instead the game itself. Personally, it ran well enough to play and satisfy my cravings for a grand strategy space game. I would recommend playing with a smaller amount of factions or a smaller map, especially if you are a more peaceful player, but be prepared for the late-game stuttering.
Need some help understanding how we got to our score? Check out our Guide to Steam Deck HQ.
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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