Review by darkaeons
A great addition to the DoW Franchise - gj Relic!
I have been playing the Dawn of War franchise since autumn 2004 - I know my stuff. And in those two years, I've never had more fun in a game. I've played with the best and played with the worst. I've tried all the races, played the campaigns, watched pro replays, argued and I've loved every bit of it
Could this be a contestant for the biggest expansion pack to date?
Two huge, spectacular new races, new units for old races, an epic campaign, what else could you want (relic may also replace Gamespy with RelicOnline, their own online multiplayer service. This is currently what Company of Heroes uses).
First off, you can play every single race in the game in Skirmish, single player and LAN games. However, you must purchase Winter Assualt or Dawn of War to play any other race other than T'au or Necrons.
The T'au are masters of range and technology, which means they do insane damage at huge distances. Of course, they need some sort of weakness; they die like flies, especially to CC units. So what do you do? Get the kroot of course, who are a race which joined T'au with the greater good, who are experts with close combat. There are also other units called Vespids. They are T'au's fast attack unit.
Necrons are robots of death. They are very strong, and look bloody cool. They have one building which produces units and servs the role of the HQ (the Monolith), which can be upgraded to be used as a 10k Hit point killing machine, though that comes later on in the game. Necrons have a special trait, which is of course ressurrection. If they die, there is a 50% chance they will put themselves back together, and become a new unit for free again (but with 50% or less health). The Necron Lord, Necron's only commander, has a spell which ressurects all dead necrons in the area. Necrons have few vehicles, but they have more than Chaos :D
As for new units, Space Marines get grey knights, insane advocates of the emporer, who have glowing swords and psychic spells; Chaos Space Marines get the Daemon Prince, which the Chaos Lord can turn into, which has 5000 HP and has an ability which demorolizes enemies in the area; Eldar get the harlequins, cheap, clown-like, fragile commanders, which come in 3 different styles and are equipeed with a couple of funky abilities; IG get heavy weapons teams, which are unit with huge range, and they can be upgraded to better and more specialised weapons to boot; and Orks get Flash Gitz, insane orks who love shooting things, they do really good damage but have weak HP (nothing that the Dok can't sort out).
Unfortunately, no new upgrades were made for existing units, but Chaos got their Plasma back (it comes at T3, and does very good damage)
DC also introduced hard caps. Back in Winter Assualt, a popular, stupid tactic was to get to the highest tier as soon as possible and spam the best units. In Dark Crusade, the tech tree has been modified (for example, Space Marines only need a barracks or an armoury to go to Tier 2, rather than both). Although it makes teching alot more open and faster, units like Terminators, whirlwinds, Obliterators etc, who are the elite units of an army, are capped to one squad each. This is a great change, in my opinion, because armies in earlier tiers can now be viably used!
Single Player: 8/10
A huge, very long single player campaign, where you have to capture a whole planet. It is very fun, but most of the maps are huge maps designed for 8 players, not 1v1s with the computer, which is a bit annoying. Good potential though, and most new players would love being able to get higher tier units and large battles.
Fits perfectly with everything that happens. Space Marines screaming as they die, bolters with their 'Ratatatatatat' as they fire, voice overs when you select a squad and commnd it to do something. Remember to turn on 'random sounds' at the options menu, especially when you play as Orks. Their sayingz arez hilarioz!
Graphics and animation: 10/10
Godly. The amount of detail is huge, ranging from tiny cracks in the road to the rivers in-between bases. The units are perfectly modeled, and replicate the Table Top (TT) models almost exactly, with a few changes here and there. During fights, you have "kill animations", which are a few seconds of invunerablilty when one unit kills another, usually in close combat (CC). Each unit has about 5 different kill animations. Overall, a great job, and best viewed with high settings.
Where the game truly shines. Easy to use and to understand. The tutorial in 'skirmish mode' is a great help to those new players to Dark Crusade. The game may be a little confusing at first, due to all the different units and buildings that produce the units and over things, but you will soak that up in the first few games that you play.
Each race has a standard unit which you can build right at the very beginning - Scouts for Space Marines, Guardians for Eldar, Slugga boyz for Orks, Cultists for Chaos and Imperial Guardsmen for the Imperial Guard. For the two new races, Tau have Stealthsuits and Necrons have builder scarabs (which are the only necron units which can capture points) You use these units to capture Strategic Points, which increase the rate of which you bring in Requisition (which is the standard resource of the game - EVERYTHING will cost some req, as it is widely called). You use this req to purchase buildings, units, upgrades and power generators (which generate power, suprisingly). You then build up your army to defend yourself, allies and to annhilate your enemy.
For necrons, the economy is a little different. Capturing strategic points and building obelisks boosts the speed of unit production and increases the pop cap. They get their cash by building gens (which get more expensive and longer to build as you get more of them, by 20 power a gen), which means that although they can have a strong eco without map control, it's better to get the map than lose it to the enemy.
There are different aims of the game, which you can toggle when creating a game online or in the skirmish (the campaign is pre-made). You have to destroy all unit-producing buildings, destroy the HQ, capture and hold at least 66% of strategic points etc. you can also mix and match - I usually have take and hold (capture and hold at least 66% of strategic points) and annihilate (destroy all unit-producing buildings).You can also have up to 8 players playing, though the main competative ladder is the '1v1 automatch'.
I hope that was of help, as you really have to play it yourself to know how good the gameplay is, though if you want you can try out some of the T'au units by playing the demo.
Game of the Year. No doubt. No other game will EVER keep me playing it for as long as Dawn of War, and although it has it's ups and downs (more ups than downs, thank God), it is absolutely amazing.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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