The Review: Warhammer 40K Dawn of War III

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After six long years of waiting, Dawn of War III is finally here in all its bloodthirsty glory.

After the previous title, which focused more heavily on squad-based combat, Dawn of War III returns elements of base building and micromanagement. While on the outside it may seem a little linear in its mechanics, Dawn of War III surprises players with a gameplay system that is both in-depth, challenging and incredibly fun to play.

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While the Inquisitor may not please, Gabriel is looking pretty annoyed himself. Source: Sega

From small forces to epic battles, Dawn of War III provides big changes for the series.

In Dawn of War III, players will manage through an army of units alongside several Elite troops in battle. In addition to your ground forces, players will also work towards defending their bases and managing resource points to produce more infantry.

With three primary races to choose from, players can select from Imperial forces (humans), Eldar (space elves), and Orks. Each race offers players a variety of different abilities in how they can approach combat and provide their own unique system in managing their forces. For instance, Imperial forces are slow to build up but are very effective in combat once they are established. Eldar forces are ones that players must always place on the move, as they’re more useful in delivering quick mobile attacks. Ork forces are fairly strong once they have their war cries activated, and are even more powerful if they’re able to collect scrap to built up some armor.

The Elite units themselves are special forces/heroes that players can activate to help throughout the game. Similar to Warcraft 3‘s hero system, these units are much stronger than regular forces and are able to perform unique attacks against enemy forces. While there’s an advantage to activating these special units, it’s highly encouraged that players utilize the Elites in a timely and strategic manner.

While there’s an advantage to activating these special units, it’s highly encouraged that players utilize the Elites in a timely and strategic manner. Using some of the more weaker Elite units can be effective in pushing back a majority of the fight. Though with that said, if you’re able to wait out the fight, summoning a more powerful Elite can easily shift the tide of the battle.

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Though comically written, Orks are probably one the best classes in my opinion. Source: Sega

Much like any other RTS title, multiplayer serves as the main backbone for Dawn of War III.

While there is only one mode so far, Dawn of War III’s multiplayer is a well-designed experience that tests players tactics and approach to battle. Similar to a League of Legends, players are pit inside an MOBA-style arena and forced to battle against each other. Their objective is simple, gather resources, build up an infantry and destroy the enemy’s main generator. Once their generator is destroyed, the team left with their remaining generator is declared the winner.

As someone who is never really been big on MOBA’s I did find this mode to be rather enjoyable. With Dawn of War III’s unique classes and Elite units, I feel that Relics approach in designing this mode is enough to distinguish itself as more than trying to emulate League of Legends and DOTA 2.

While this mode does have some good value and is able to provide hours of fun, I feel that there a couple of letdowns that greatly hinder this modes potential. First, the standard maps in this are greatly limited, and I can sense that this will get tiring to look at after a while. Secondly, I feel that with this one mode, many fans will perceive this as Dawn of War III’s poor attempt in getting into the MOBA scene. Hopefully, later DLCs and expansions down the track bring out more variety in both the environments, units, races and game modes.

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Even if this was a cosplayer, if I saw this charging at me I’d probably shit myself. Source: Sega

While there is a lot of fun to be had with multiplayer, Dawn of War III also provides a single-player campaign!

Much like its predecessors, Dawn of War III has around 17 missions within the campaign, with each one lasting between 20 to 50 minutes in duration. In summary, players should be able to complete the main story in about 14 to 20 hours (depending, whether or not, they’re as bad as me….).

Within the campaign, the story alternates between each of the three races, instead of providing a separate one for each one of them. While I did enjoy my time with the campaign, the were some elements about it that I didn’t enjoy as much. For instance, the gameplay mechanics. While I did eventually grow to like these mechanics, I felt as if the campaign and earlier tutorial levels did a rather poor job in explaining the bulk of the tools. While the core of the game is summed up perfectly, simple things like how specific troops operate, which troops work best against others, and the Elite leveling up system was more-or-less skimmed over abruptly.

Much like the gameplay, Dawn of War III’s story also doesn’t do a good job in establishing itself for newcomers to the series. Unless you’ve been following the series to date, prior knowledge of the prior campaigns is highly expected.

However, despite these flaws, I did very much enjoy my time with Dawn of War III’s campaign. Though it may not do a good job of introducing a lot of the elements or encourage players to develop some new strategies, it remains a fun story with lots of neat tools at the players’ disposal.

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Picking out the squad before battle – hell yeah! Source: Sega

While Dawn of War III might not be the best title in the series, it is exceptional in several areas.

Gameplay is fun and balanced, with each faction providing unique abilities as to how they can approach the battle. Elite troops are a joy to deploy, which can ultimately turn the tides of battle when used effectively. Players coming into Dawn of War III for a strong campaign will come out short. But for those looking for a fun, new RTS to play with their mates, Dawn of War III does it service.

My Rating: 7/10

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