Game review by Tomethy
Developer: Relic Entertainment
I have been waiting a very long time for this new Dawn of War game and after roughly 3 hours of playing Dawn of War 3 (after 30 minutes of unpacking, but I’ll get onto that) I have to admit, it’s a solid game but as a successor, I truly believe it could have been better. Let me explain…
Firstly, for those unfamiliar with them, let’s have a quick glimpse at what Relic Entertainment has brought us. Relic entertainment has welcomed 2 brilliant franchises – Dawn of War and Company of Heroes. I loved the original CoH so much, an RTS game based on WW2 which allowed players to control all types of units and factions and not forgetting that highly effective cover system which stood CoH amongst the rest. They then brought that to a different franchise, the Warhammer 40k universe of which I am a huge fan! I’ve been a Warhammer fan for quite some years now and Dawn of War allowed me to transfer my imagination from the table top to a video game which I, and many others I know who are fans of the franchise, loved.
So does DoW 3 live up to what I know and love from past games made by Relic? Yes and no (I know, not a straight answer).
So I pre-loaded this game awaiting to play it at 15:00 BST on 27th April 2017 however I didn’t get to play it at 15:00 BST. Why? Because of this.
Unpacking. Why, after pre-loading, does the game need to be unpacked? Surely this should have been done during, oh I don’t know, the pre-loading of the game?
Anyway, after 39 minutes and 22 seconds of unpacking I finally got to play the game and after playing 3 missions of the campaign I am impressed by the game. But please, keep reading before you make a decision to buy it.
The graphics in this game are very bold and clear which, I believe, is quite effective. The units, the vehicles, the buildings, the environment are all beautifully crafted. Just look at that gun!
Furthermore, the detail on special effects are beautiful. For example, when you summon your elite units (I’ll explain those a bit later), the particle effects, the animations are so well crafted it really takes a step forward from DoW 2.
For me, the gameplay was acceptable, both good and bad but let me explain. It’s true, they have reformed the old cover system which stood Relic’s games amongst the rest (pause here for the boos). By reformed, I mean they have changed how the cover system works entirely, don’t threat, there is still one, though restrictive.
So, this is the new cover system. Allow me to briefly explain how it works.
There are dedicated covers, which are easily identifiable, which need to be captured in order for them to work. Once captured, it makes a dome and any units within the dome are protected from any incoming fire. There are 2 ways to overcome this barrier. Firstly, you shoot it until the shield drops. Secondly, you charge into the dome with specific units to kill enemy units and claim the cover for yourself. That’s it. That’s the reformed cover system. I personally believe that Relic has taken a step back with this cover system but that’s not to say that it isn’t a perfectly solid game mechanic that they have introduced.
As mentioned, the old cover system has gone which unfortunately allows for this.
For those who haven’t noticed, here, let me zoom in for you.
That’s right, shooting through walls. Call me fussy, call me attention to detail but this is 2017, I expect my games to have, at least, the basics of physics within a game especially from a AAA title such as Dawn of War.
Despite these few negative gameplay highlights, there are plenty of features I really enjoyed whilst playing. The game itself is so easy to pick up and play, it isn’t overly complicated and it does have a very solid feel to the game. Not once did it glitch, bug out, crash or anything that recent games tend to do (Mass Effect, yes, you). I paid £30 for this game and I have to say, I don’t feel ripped off, not yet anyway. The units are easy to understand, there are a good variety of units which are upgradable, some more than others. For example, Ork units can use scrap to improve their stats or give them extra weapons in the game. It demonstrates a uniqueness to each faction which I welcome. Bushes in which you can hide have also made an appearance which allows units to hide within them and perform an ambush on unsuspecting foes. Furthermore, if you hover over a unit, enemy or otherwise, it allows you to look at all of the details about that unit, even down to how much population the unit costs.
The campaign, by the looks of it, allows you to play 3 factions from the Warhammer 40k universe – Space Marines, Orks and Eldar. Each faction has an elite unit, a hero if you will, each with their own unique abilities, advantages and disadvantages. I managed to play a mission of each of these factions so allow me to break them down.
Classic faction to play and by far the easiest to get to grips with. They’re definitely the faction for the all-rounder. Gabriel Angelos is the elite unit within the Space Marines. He is a melee specialist who destroys enemies with his two-handed hammer who can leap into battle and knock back foes. It’s quite difficult to kill the guy. The units which accompany Gabriel are ranged, melee and stealth/scout units. They all have their own unique abilities i.e. plasma rifles for the tactical marine squads. Vehicles also make an appearance, utilising the classic Dreadnaught that we all know and love.
Of all of the factions, Orks were the most enjoyable. Their elite unit, Gorgutz, was incredibly fun. He, like Gabriel, is a melee unit with 2 abilities – grapplin’ Klaw and Spinnin’ Klaw. Grapplin’ Klaw allows Gorgutz to drag himself to a target location with Spinnin’ Klaw causes Gorgutz to spin his claw, creating protective shield around him blocking any incoming fire. You can tactically place other units behind him to protect them from fire. The other units include Shoota Boyz and Boyz, ranged and melee respectively. As mentioned before however, these, along with Gorgutz, can be upgrade using scrap. The iconic Waaaagh! Of the Ork units has remained and does make up for the Orkz lack of defence.
Eldar, I have to admit, aren’t my favourite. I didn’t like playing them on the table-top version of Warhammer and they don’t appeal to me now either. Their elite unit is ranged of which she has 3 abilities. Her first ability allows her to throw a spear in a straight line which damages and knocks back all enemies it hits. A psyker blast which damages nearby enemies and Temporal Weave which puts any enemy within the radius of the blast to be put into stasis. The units consist of Howling banshees, Dire Avengers, Dark Reapers and Vypers which are melee, ranged, heavy and vehicle respectively. For me, I had the most fun and dealt the most damage with the Vypers and Howling banshees.
These units are not the only units within the game, these are the units I managed to play in the first 3 missions of the game. Which brings me onto the story.
From what I gather, each faction has been tasked to find the “Speak of Khaine” on one planet which naturally pits each faction against each other. The story itself cycles through each of the factions one after the other (Space Marine, Ork, Eldar). Personally, I would have preferred that each faction have their own unique story line of which you could play. Having a faction-cycling story line can throw you off slightly but it seems to be seamless and well connected so far.
I didn’t get chance to play the online multiplayer but I did, however, manage to complete the tutorial on multiplayer games (yes, it has a tutorial for online play). It’s rare you come across games which give you a tutorial on how the online aspect of their game works but I went with it and I was surprised. By the looks of it, Relic has introduced a hybrid of RTS and MOBA. In order to win a multipayer game, a team has to destroy a shield generator which then exposes a turret which, once destroyed, allows you to take down the enemy power core – sound similar? Pretty much any MOBA game to date? But you’re not restricted to just one champ/hero, you have an entire army you can build up and attack with.
Overall, I am impressed with this game. Though the old cover system has gone, Relic has tried to replace it with new types of cover systems. With the introduction of super units, I don’t think cover would help much. The graphics are clear and bold but you can make your own decisions based on the screenshots above. The gameplay is solid and each faction has their own unique characteristics which sets each faction apart from the rest. The story has me gripped and I would love to see what happens with it.
If you enjoyed Dawn of War 2 and can’t get past the cover system being changed, you may want to wait a little longer to buy this. If, however, you’re like me and love Warhammer 40k, you like the unique hero with a unique faction to play with, I’d buy this game.
A multi-ethnic, racially confused hermaphrodite commonly referred to by his online alias "A Bad Password" - real name Kevin - slightly selfishly and completely uncreatively named the gaming news and related content website ABadPassword.com after himself.