Developer: Vladimir Romanyuk
Link :Official site
The Warhammer franchise began as an incredibly intricate tabletop system. From there they have expanded to fantasy novels, video games and even hit the big screen. They produce epic and bloody content at a stunning pace. New games, expansions and books seem to come out every few months. With so much to check out from this brand it’s easy to lose track of old favorites. Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War was one of the first video games they released and it’s still relevant and epic.
From the well animated intro to the final showdown, the original Dawn of War stays true to the Warhammer canon and gives plenty of bang (and brutality) for your buck.
Plot (minimal spoilers)
The Orcs are running amok, destroying a world called Tartarus. The local defense force is overwhelmed. Naturally the Imperium sends aid in the form of the Blood Ravens 3rd company. After a quick and bloody rescue the survivors join the Ravens in hunting down the stragglers. The protagonist and his superior discuss past events, and he is reprimanded, told that he sees Chaos where there is none. A massive Warp Storm is on its way to swallow the planet and time is of the essence for the mission. Distraction may be deadly. Later an altar to Chaos is uncovered, validating the protagonists’ fears, and the existance of a dangerous relic is revealed. The player must battle through massive orc hordes, find the relic and save the planet, all before he arrival of the storm that could leave him stranded.
Each army has an unlockable tech tree that determines the specific, unique capabilities of it’s battle units. As a massive battle game that emplys units of troops, simply destroying huge hordes of enemies down to the last straggler would be enough. It is a wargame. There are some added elements of capture the flag-esque play where you have to hold targets of strategic value for a pre set amount of time (allowing others to escape or fight). The player also has resources that have to be wisely managed.
The play style isn’t as complex as some, but if you enjoy laying waste to your enemies and leaving a swath of corpses miles long behind you then you will find all the brutal satisfaction you need playing this game.
The multiplayer option gives players four armies to choose from. (Or as many as nine with the expansions, more on that later.) Each army has it’s own tech tree, strengths and weaknesses. They are surprisingly well balanced. No single army has any clear advantage over the other options.
The Space Marines are Imperial soldiers who are taken from their homes and rigorously trained from an extremely young age. They are genetically modified to have centuries of life and superhuman strength and endurance. This is the only playable faction in the single player mode.
The Chaos Space Marines are pretty much what they sound like. Once loyal Imperial men who turned against the Imperium of Man and now serve the Gods of Chaos.
The Orcs rely more on pure savagery and massive numbers than skill to get the job done. They are large, green, muscular and brutal. The Orc tech tree is the most unique of the factions.
The Eldar, as the name suggests, are a species far older than man. They are both faster and easier to kill than the other armies, but it is said that they have been fighting Chaos since before humanity existed. They boast some unique psychic powers and extremely advanced technology to help even the odds.
After it’s release three expansions were added to the original game.
Winter Assault(2005) the first expansion released added a new campaign and a new and unique playable faction to the game. This expnsion helps limit some aspects of the multiplayer mode, most of which effect how armies can use their vehicles. It’s a sensible adaptation given the army it brings to the field. The Imperial Guard are masters of vehicular warfare and have better defenses than other factions.
The second expansion to be released, Dark Crusade (2006), could be played as a standalone. It adds a huge metacampaign and introduces two more playable factions, the Tau and the Necrons. The new races are the only playable factions if you happen to choose to run it as a standalone. With the original game and Winter Assault expansion however, all seven playable factions become available in multiplayer mode.
The final expansion, Soulstorm (2008), much like Dark Crusade before it features a metacampaign, the ability to play it as a standalone and two more races. It introduces the player to the Dark Eldar and the all female army known as the Imperial Sisters of Battle.
Best and Worst
Bad news first. More than a few players had unkind things to say about the solo campaign. Complaints ranged from the length (too short) to those who said it wasn’t challenging enough.
Some said it lacked surprises, though others approved of the plot twists, so the storyline got a mixed review.
The good news is that the game as a whole was well recieved. It earned high marks on review sites after the initial release. It deserves high praise for the graphics and the balanced playable factions in multiplayer mode.
It was a great game when it came out and it’s still a great game. The single player mode is quick but the expansions help more than make up for it with value added contributions that can stand on their own. As a multiplayer all out war game, it is one of the best balanced games in the genre to this day. The Warhammer universe is massive in scope and intriguing in concept. Dawn of War is a good addition to any collection.
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