Published on May 8th, 2017 | by Chris O'Connor
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 PC Game Review
Summary: Possibly not for the purists but a bit of fun.
I haven’t really followed the Dawn of War games, I want to get that out there to start with because I have no doubt it will impact how I review this. I think I may have dabbled with number one but only the demo so I’ve not played through one completely. With that out of the way… I enjoyed Dawn of War 3. I have heard that those who have played the series since the start may be disappointed that this has taken a different approach to both the first and second games, not having much experience with them I can’t verify that but perhaps keep that in mind if you are a long time fan and were hoping for something similar.
The most obvious comparisons in terms of the game play are to say it’s a cross between the standard RTS games such as Command and Conquer and more recent variations on the theme such as DOTA… upon thinking about it… it actually reminded me a lot of LOTR The Battle for Middle Earth specifically in the restricted base building and elite unit department. This isn’t a bad thing either (in my mind at least). You grab your elite unit, figure out which support units are best to complement it and off you go. There is a bit of variety in the elite units too, not a lot but enough to give a bit of variety though they are predominantly jump with knockback or throw with similar and then area damage around the unit or the thrown weapon.
The game follows the three factions, Space Marines, Eldars and Orks. Each faction has it’s own story that runs parallel and then clashes with each other. As you play you will jump between each faction, a mission per faction, this no doubt helps with the concurrent story telling but also gives a bit of variety in the play style as you go along. As you play through the missions the Elite units build up experience points which are used at the end of each mission to level up and reward you for your efforts (again reminding me of The Battle for Middle Earth). The standard progression is here… the first few missions let you dip your toes in the bloodied water before suddenly dunking your head under that water and forcing you to fight your way back to a position of strength. To help with this task, as is the typical way, you will be able to unlock more powerful units as you play and some of these units are definitely more impressive.
The scale of the battles and the units can be quite impressive as well. Maps may start small as you are given a small task, but once that is complete you may find the borders expand suddenly and the need to capture some resource points and increase your army before proceeding becomes paramount. There is quite a satisfaction in going from the standard grunts to suddenly churning out some massive Tanks or Mechs or other death bringing machines of war. You could argue that these units allow the “traditional” tank rush to be deployed… and you would be correct (to some extent at least)… I for one, however, like this fact. I’ve never been opposed to a good tank rush and Dawn of War 3 gives me that lovely satisfying feeling of building a squad of ludicrously powered vehicles and storming an enemy fortress, tearing it down as I go.
There is a tip of the hat to the old table top gaming in the form of the unit painter… it’s not super extensive (you can’t quite paint your own images onto them)… but it gives you the flexibility to make your own colour schemes and select your own decals… it’s a nice touch and certainly gives me a sense of nostalgia (I always loved the Warhammer figures but for some reason only ever ended up with the D&D style characters in my collection.
There are other little treats in the game to give the completionists something to work on for a while after completing the main mission. Overall I was very happy with it. My last Warhammer experience was with Eternal Crusade which really didn’t hit the spot for me… so Dawn Of War 3 is a pleasant scratch to that itch for some space melodrama. As mentioned, if you are a long time fan, don’t expect to get the same game you’ve played before… or even a mix of the two, it would seem they have taken a slightly different approach. On the other hand if you like a bit of RTS action, some fun storytelling, it’s a great bit of fun and visually quite pretty (epic opening movie especially). If in doubt, wait for a good sale… but there’s a lot of fun to be had here.