REVIEW : Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III (PC/ Steam)
What makes an ideal Real time strategy game? Plan-prepare-build-attack-defend-repeat. Now take this process and add a background scenery of heavy artillery, spacecraft flying around, big burning buildings and a wide array of buffed-up characters each with their unique skillsets and attributes. Add a pinch of multiplayer action and Voila! These are the ingredients that prepare an exciting RTS game. And this is exactly what Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3, has been able to pull off innovatively and that too with near perfection.
The game does not feel shy of flashing gruesome and bloody battles and the blood spattering scenes are in abundance across the game. The beefy orcs and Space Marines clash together with the heavy weapons and the result is a bloodshed you might have missed in Dawn of War 2. The most noticeable change is that this time the game has taken the liberty (and rightly so) to let the user play as characters taken from all three factions – Orcs, Eldars and Space Marines, instead of just limiting the gameplay to Space Marines.
The Space Marines, as in the predecessor, are loaded with their fancy swords and guns, stomping on the field like a bull in a china shop, scattering the Orcs and Eldars and spilling their blood all around. Their leader, Gabriel Angelos, wields a hammer (No he is not THOR!) which he uses to smash the orcs like they were made of plastic. Gabriel is a true warrior with his mech suit and the big hammer, he feels like the commander he has been portrayed and does become an important aspect of the story line.
Next in line are the Eldars or Space Elves as I like to call them. The reason is very obvious, they are lean and tall and extremely quick on their feet, mesmerizing you by their speed and wits. They have rechargeable shields and can teleport their bases across the battlefield. The Eldars take pride in their strategy of the go for the kill when the time is right and then run away from enemy’s clutches just like a pack of raptors.
The Orcs are a brand apart as they steal the thunder with their vicious mean and ugly looks. They remind me of the scavengers from the Star Wars series, building new upgrades from nothing but the scrap of destroyed objects and buildings in the battlefield. They are proud masters of the towers that intensify the gameplay. They give serious boost to the attack and speed attribute of orcs upon activation and the orcs pack a serious punch once the towers come into play. There are 17 campaign missions that make up the game and they are distributed across the three factions and lets you explore each of the band in great depth and that hits right on the sweet spot and lends a seriously satisfying building to an RTS game.
The game play is difficult to manage when there is a lot happening on the screen and here the icons and intuitiveness comes into play. This has been well thought of and the developers take care of the irritating too much info problem very nicely. They show various pointers and icons and that make it fairly easy to keep track of the troop and the upgrades in the top-down board game fashion. The single-player game is detailed and comprehensive if not exhausting and lets you get familiar to the gameplay, tactics and strategies, and the various classes of characters as you progress through the game. The single player mode tries to refrain from being monotonous and repetitive but fails at one few many occasions. However, to give the brownie points to the developers I would overlook such minor scenarios and rate the mode to follow an exciting note. However, the real show stopper is the multiplayer game mode with its 3vs3, 2vs2 and 1vs1 battles on single table-top fashion battles on single station maps.
The game does enjoy the standard RTS and RPG elements like buildings, resource gathering and managing, upgrades to various elements and buffs, tactical strategies, and managing your troops decisively. The downside of such a setting in a game that has abundant bloodshed is that the soldiers die rather too quickly. At times, you will find yourself screaming at them to just stop dying! This is because it is fairly hard to see your investments die in the battlefield. The troops which you upgraded and invested in, just die at a fairly high rate. This is a point on which the developers must take a look at and release a patch to make it feel more realistic. Another point that comes up is lack of areas which allow to take cover while fighting and as a result most of the battles take place in open areas creating a vacuum on the front of tactical battles.
The game does follow the aggressive attacker policy and playing defensive becomes boring after a while and requires a lot of patience. However, let’s face it who wants to play a game the boring way when you have the option to slash and burn. The attack, attack and rampage attack mode may seem repetitive but thankfully it does offer a lot variety in form of upgrades, combos and finding weak points of the enemy forces.