Review by Wing Man 001

"Quite possibly one of the most underrated RTS of '04"

The Warhammer 40k universe is a dark, grim place that is constantly on the verge of war and annihilation. When I first heard that there was a new 40k game being released, I was worried. Worried that THQ would again make a horrid game and slap on the 40k name hoping it would sell, whilst being far off in portraying the 40k universe correctly. Luckily, Dawn of War is the one 40k game that follows the 40k universe fluff. From your tabletop to your PC comes the action packed RTS that is, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War.

Gameplay - Dawn of War's game style is the same as other RTS games, you build a base, you build an army and then go slaughter your opponent. Well this is where Dawn of War takes on its' individuality. Before I begin, just let me put it in short, the gameplay is extremely fun. First off, there are many aspects that can affect the battle. For example, terrain now plays an important role, the better cover you're in, the better your chances of surviving a small melee are and vise-versa. Another unique trait that Dawn of War brings is the ability to reinforce squads on the fly, rather than having to go back and build fresh, new squads. There is also a various array of weaponry that you can kit your squads out with. The game can be ridiculously easy if you put it on the Very Easy, which is ideal for new RTS players. However, you better be at the top of your game if you decide to go and play on the highest difficulty. In between the high and low, you're getting a good challenge. Dawn of War's controls are relatively smooth, from micro-managing to single-key shortcuts.

Story - A basic storyline is presented to you in Dawn of War. The world is war torn world full of strife, deceit, betrayal, 'heroes' winning, etc. Dawn of War's storyline is simple and progresses at a rate that won't lose you. Sadly, you can easily figure out what will happen next. There are some nice cut-scenes for those who want a short summary of what just happened at the beginning and end of the missions.

Graphics/Sound - How a game looks and sounds. These should always be compared to the system's capabilities, not to games on other more advanced systems. Dawn of War looks exceptionally well. Graphics are smooth and highly detailed. In this RTS, the image of war has been beautifully captured and portrayed. You'll be in awe with the landscape, and love the detailed units.

Sound isn't really a major factor to me when I play a RTS, but it is nice to hear in this RTS. Whether it be the echo of bolter rounds screeching through the air, the explosions or just your units speaking, they all excel.

Play Time/Replayability - How long does it take to complete the game, and is it worth playing again once you've done it?
The playing time in multi-player mode is endless really, you'll find new opponents and challenges each time you play. The campaign on the other hand is very short and doesn't last more than 12-14 hours. While the story playing time was short, the multi-player and replayability value are nearly limitless.

Final Recommendation - Dawn of War is a great RTS title that is worth the cash to shell out. Truly this game is one of it not the best and most highly underrated RTS of '04.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/22/05

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