First up, those that aren’t sure what the Dawn of War series is all about, here is a quick run down. The Dawn of War series follows the RTS template of building, amassing and attacking. You’ll be required to build the perfect army to then send them off on different tasks such as capturing strategic points, destroy enemy units and ultimately demolish their infrastructure.
The world within Dawn of War 3 is based on the Warhammer 40K space age tabletop/fantasy universe and is broken up into two parts. The first part being the single player campaign which takes players through 17 story based missions. The big difference this time around, instead of being limited to only one faction, you play as three 40K factions, Humans, Orks and the Eldar. This is done by the game jumping around between each faction playing a mission or two as one clan, then jump to another to play the next few missions.
I found experimenting with each faction was a lot of fun. I like the idea of not being forced to stick with the one side. While they all have the same kind of roster, they all still feel vastly different from each other. The Space Marines are what we’ve known them to be, big, straight to business all while wielding swords and guns which are a good mix of melee, range and mechanical units. Then there’s The Eldar, a elf-like race which are angelic and magical. These guys are quick and tend dash around the battlefield equipped with rechargeable shields and stick to their run in, strike and run out tactics. Then there’s the Orks. These guys you need to watch out for. They can upgrade themselves from scrap found from ruined buildings around the map.
Unlike previous Dawn of War games, the single-player campaign in Dawn of War 3 is long and comprehensive, as mentioned earlier, it does require you to play all three factions. Once you’ve worked it all out and understand how each faction handles themselves, you’ll start to enjoy yourself, though things can get tough and pretty intense. The interface is pretty user friendly too. There is a little square at the bottom of the screen which makes it easy to keep track of which units are taking some heavy fire or to indicate who requires a health boost.
The second part on offer is the game's Multiplayer. Just like most RTS games out there, this is where the real replay value comes into play. Dawn of War 3’s multiplayer offers 3v3, 2v2 and 1v1 action which is played out on a single space station map. Just like in previous Dawn of War games, resource gathering is semi-automatic. It’s just a matter of capturing territory and building resource points. No need to worry about having units run around collecting resources. This is still the case with Dawn of War 3. Conquer and hold resource points, and the resources are all yours.
Buildings make their return, but not as many this time around. For example, there’s standard barracks, one for specialized mid-tier units, a building for your upgrades and typically one for vehicles and advanced machines. I guess this kind of simplifies things a little. And like the last game, units still have RPG-elements such as upgrades and secondary abilities. Also, pre-game selectable buffs can be selected which affect favored types of units. This allows the player to focus on particular strategies. As for Elites, they have cooldown moves that dish out some major destruction against enemies. The functionality of Elites is set apart by two things. First is the element of pre-match planning, as each of the different Elites cost different amounts. Secondly, they have active abilities. Elites can stomp a medium sized group till they are no more, and it takes many normal units to take out one Elite making it pretty hard for an Elite to die.
The voice acting is top notch, from the smallest of Gretchin to a huge Wraithknight. This game has some of the best voice acting in video games to date. In between missions you’ll have the pleasure of sitting through Relic's iconic 2D cutscenes that are absolutely beautifully rendered illustrations that give you a much more detailed look at the characters.
Dawn of War 3 does a good job of moving forward the genre that in previous years has struggled a little. With a lengthy single player campaign that gets you hooked, along with an intense, fast paced multiplayer that will keep you coming back time and time again, Dawn of War 3 is a must have for any RTS fan.