A few steps back to the glorious original series, and a few more steps to the left apparently. Changes are abundant in this game, mostly for the better but sometimes they leave a great deal up for question as to what direction they want to take their game and what future they have planned for it. Dawn of War III has changed a lot.
Spoiler, I predict plenty of DLCs. The potential for DLC farming is incredibly worrying, I feel that there is going to be perhaps a little too much in terms of cosmetic items being sold for cold hard cash.
However, I am not here to talk about could be’s, should be’s and maybe’s. No, I am here to discuss the game itself. So for those that have read my work in the past you will know that I like to try and keep things nice and compact with plenty of detail in order to show you the facts of the game rather than drown my article in fluff. Today? This is going to be an exception.
First off, the game serves itself well by throwing an optional tutorial in your face, one that is actually extremely helpful and detailed. It presents all of the information and features, be they new or old, in a concise and easy to understand manner. Gently leading you by the hand into the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, where there is only war. The tutorial, whilst properly executed, lacks a narrative. This is merely me being incredibly picky but I found that I was forcing myself to play the tutorial rather than breezing through it and enjoying my time.
As time went on I decided to try my hand at multiplayer, boy oh boy is this a whole new kettle of fish! For starters, they have forsaken that dully and rather lackluster squad-focus they had in the DoW2 series. They have, for the most part, returned to their original plan. Base building and fairly-large scale combat that allows for you to field more than only a couple of squads of units. The rush of watching large squads charge into combat, shoulder to shoulder and blasting away at your opponent's units is fantastic.
For me? Something soured this feeling though and that was the addition of elite units. Units that are more like heroes or extra strong squads over anything else. These single units can turn the entire tide of a battle and cause entire armies to be wiped out in a mere instant. For each faction there is a variety to select from. From damage dealers like Gabriel Angelos to walking monstrosities like the Eldar Wraithknight. For some people these will be a welcome addition.
I bloody well hate them. They seem like a huge crutch to me, where players whom are bad at the game can still win matches merely by fielding these units and in some cases abusing their abilities. One such abusable ability is God-Splitter, which enables Gabriel Angelos to leap into melee combat and perform an AoE damage that stuns all nearby units.
Your once tactically placed units are now helpless, standing there and unable to do anything. All whilst the enemy team rips the survivors to shreds in a hail of bolter shells. For me this entirely ruins and defaces the large-scale potential of the game. Forcing you to worry about single units that could potentially wipe out your entire army. I am unsure about anyone else but to me it felt as if I were fielding the basic units to be nothing more than leaving shields for my elite units who did the majority, if not all, the work mid to late game.
Another gripe of mine is what appears to be a more moba-centric style of gameplay. Rather than merely wiping out your opponents from the face of the map you are instead restricted to eliminating three primary objectives. A shield generator, a turret and then a powercore. In that specific order as well, with the enemy base also being located behind the power core. To me this robs the game of a few tactics and strategies. You are forced to play certain objectives and hit certain requirements in order to win and triumph.
The cherry on top of all of this? You and your opponent can recall all of your units to your home base as long as they are not being shot at. So that amazing little sneak-run you were about to attempt on the enemy base? Not worth it, before long you could be facing down a wall of green as the orcs teleport back to their base before overrunning the little strike-force you so carefully prepared.
A great feature to multiplayer, is most certainly the escalation system. Every ten minutes the conflict “escalates” bringing with it a few changes to the battlefield. At every escalation the refund from the destruction of one of your units is reduced, structure health is increased and you produce more resources. A strangely well balanced attempt at ensuring that the multiplayer progresses at a decent pace and the intensity only increases over time, rather than simply dies and dulls out.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
A fairly solid attempt, the changes to multiplayer bring out a large mix of good and bad responses from me. In the end I believe that they have pushed away from the original DoWs a bit too much. They still need to return to their roots! I am sure they will do it eventually.