New Partnerships Bring New Games
If you asked me just over a year ago, I would have said that we probably won’t see any more installments in the Dawn of War series. However, the developers Relic Entertainment had signed a contract with Sega and the new Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 3 was recently published under its name. Although I had only a couple of days to test the game and it might be a bit early to say what I think of the game, let’s take a look at some first hands-on single player and multiplayer impressions. And if you want to learn more about the game then check out our Dawn of War 3 Review.
Single Player Campaign – A Joy to Behold
That probably won’t come as a big surprise if you played the first two sequels of the franchise. The single player campaign is long, and it will provide you days of fun and adequately prepare you for multiplayer battles that expect you online. In the single player mode of the new 40k game, you can choose between three factions – Eldar, Space Marines, and Orks. The plot does a great job of connecting all of these groups into a deep story and allows you to change factions you lead depending on the current mission.
For example, you can help Space Marines protect an Imperial outpost from their enemies Orks only to launch a counterattack in the next mission. The story steps it up a notch than only showing you the same events from different perspectives. Instead, each mission takes the story further while your angle and who you lead is what changes.
The basic premise of the Dawn of War 3 plot is that the three mentioned factions are at war to control the planet called Cyprus (that only accidentally has the same name like one European country). All this is occurring at the time when the prophecy states Acheron will return and bring the Spear of Khaine, which is a unique Eldar relic, with him. Aside from the conflict between each faction, we are also witnesses of several quarrels on a personal level. The characters should be familiar to those who played the first part of the 40k series, which only further draws you into the story.
As you could expect from a game like this, you shouldn’t expect amazing animations or cutscenes. Instead, Relic Entertainment decided to choose the safe path of offering mission briefings with illustrations, voiceover, and text on the screen. The player can see the briefing before and after every mission. The fact that you will have the opportunity to try playing with all factions means that you will learn how each of the groups works. The core mechanics might be similar, but there are notable differences with every faction, which shows us that the developers tried to deliver a great experience.
Almost Generic Missions
Each of the missions in the campaign is what you would expect from a game in the RTS genre. However, it’s much more than just going out and defeating your enemies. You will have a bunch of objectives related to the plot, as well as the chance to take out strategic targets and pick up reinforcements along the way. Missions are not that long, and most of them take around an hour. However, please note that there are no automatic saves or checkpoints, so make sure to the game often so that you don’t face starting the mission from scratch.
The maps you play on are fast, but not all sections are immediately available at once. Instead, you will gradually open the map as you advance through the mission. The developers probably did this to allow you to focus on the matter at hand, but this also sometimes causes you to feel restricted. Furthermore, it is what can prevent you to have a long-term strategy because the game only allows you to think about the current objective, and not the general mission goals.
The overall impression of the single player mode is excellent. The missions are not merely a way to advance the plot. They vary enough so that they can keep you interested and focused on what happens on the screen. The campaign is long, and it gives you the option to play as all factions present in the game, which additionally contributes to the variety.
Why Only One Mode for Multiplayer?
Online gaming is an important part of every real-time strategy nowadays, and Dawn of War 3 developers knew that they have to include a multiplayer mode in their game. However, I’m in a dilemma whether they tried with this section or not. You see, DOW3’s multiplayer has only one playing mode, but it overcomes that by offering varieties of playing 1 on 1, 2 on 2 or 3 on 3, which helps to mix things up. Before we dive into what online gaming looks like, let me say that it has only been a week or two since the release, so there might be a chance that new multiplayer modes will appear soon.
MOBA Like Gamestyle
The core mechanics of Dawn of War 3 don’t change when you go online to battle some of the real time players from around the world. You will still have the option to choose from three factions and as much elite characters and doctrines. Each player will begin with only a builder unit beside his Stronghold. Your goal will be to build a base and assemble an army, which is something you can do by acquiring resource points. However, the primary aim isn’t to crush your enemy and make their units burn, but to destroy a Power Core, a particular base structure. The trick is that you can only get to it by going past the Turrets, which you can damage only if you take out the Shield Generators that are protecting your base.
It might seem a bit complicated now, but the multiplayer concept is actually great. The developers wanted to diminish the possibility that one giant offensive can get you the victory. In most cases, you will need multiple attacks to secure a win, leaving enough space for other players to use your vulnerability to even things out or even turn the tide on the battlefield. Multiplayer games cannot last endlessly due to the escalation phases, which increase every ten minutes. They will boost the rates at which player gain resources, which leads to bigger armies and spectacular battles.
Buildings and Customizations
Not everything is in fighting when it comes to Dawn of War 3 multiplayer. You will also need to build and customize your army to maximize its strengths. You will have some fun along the way if you use the army painter feature, which enables you to make your custom colors and make an army that will truly feel like yours.
Although it only has one mode, it’s a nice change to see that an RTS game actually has strategic elements that can decide the outcome of a match. The main difference compared to the previous installments is the fact that you can simply take out the Power Core without destroying the adjacent base structures first. Aside from that, elite soldiers and super weapons also add variety to the formula and build the uncertainty during a match.
It’s up to you when you will use your arms and that decision may be the key. If you manage to deploy them at the right moment, you can watch your opponent fall apart, although it seemed that he had the upper hand just a couple of minutes ago. Advice that I can give you is that it is always a smart move to spend requisition points on upgrades and calling new soldiers. It doesn’t matter how big portion of your army you lose if you can summon new units to replace them.
Final Words on Dawn of War 3
With the single player campaign being brilliant and the multiplayer equally attractive despite offering only one mode, it’s hard not to like Dawn of War 3. It brings the needed dose of real strategy to an RTS game, and it makes your decisions during the battle matter more than the size of the army. There are some minor bugs that may have already been addressed with patches (keep in mind that it is a new game). However, that doesn’t prevent Warhammer 40,000K: Dawn of War 3 to be a must-try game for all the fans of the 40k and all the lovers of the RTS genre out there. And if you’re looking for more strategy games, then keep an eye out for the StarCraft Remastered edition.