Pages: 1 2 3
Dawn of War is cut from the same cloth as Starcraft and Warcraft III: you build up armies with varying capabilities in order to crush the similarly constructed forces of your enemies. To do this you need to construct different buildings that give access to new upgrades and abilities, as well as new units. To do all of this requires supplies, and so you must balance resource availability with attack and defend feints. There are some minor differences between Dawn of War‘s approaches to the formula and the previously mentioned RTS heavy-hitters, though. For example, resource management is considerably simplified. There are only two things you need: requisition and power. The latter is self explanatory; build power generators to get more of it. The former is an abstraction of all raw materials you might need, and it trickles in all by itself. You don’t need to build worker units to harvest or collect requisition, however, to increase the rate it generates, you will need to capture and hold strategic points. This is essential, otherwise you’ll be sitting around while your opponent builds an army to wipe you out.
Infantry play a more significant role in Dawn of War than I have personally ever seen in an RTS. The wide variety of different weapons you can research and equip them with is a massive part of the strategies you’ll develop to ensure victory. Flamers destroy morale; use them and you’ll see enemy squads break and flee frequently. Bolters are exceptional armor piercing weapons; they chew through other infantry quickly. Plasma weapons are inaccurate on the move, but make excellent ordinance against mechanized walkers like the Eldar Wraithlord or Orkish Killa Kan. Finally, missile launchers are superb anti-vehicle and anti-building weapons; they’re slow to reload and area-of-effect damaging (don’t use them close to friendly units), but they eat heavy armor for breakfast.
Interestingly, there are no single units when it comes to infantry. All summoned troops come in squads, and can be reinforced up to a certain racial cap. For example, a squad of Space Marines comes in by default at four, and can be reinforced to a maximum of 10 (eight plus a sergeant and an attached special unit) after you’ve researched up the limit for the Marines. This is in contrast to the Orks limit of 17 units per squad. You can also research sergeant ranks, one per squad to increase morale. They have access to higher grade weapons like power-fists and chain swords that normal units don’t get, improving squad efficiency. Unique commander troops can also be summoned. These have access to the best weapons, enforce morale even more than sergeants, and usually have special abilities like Daemon Strength (for Chaos). Finally there are the special heavy units – walkers, tanks, and such. The armies of the Emperor have the widest variety of vehicles, as well as the most powerful. This is offset by certain massive creatures that the other races have access to. The Orks have the Squiggoth (a giant armored dinosaur), Chaos has the Bloodthirster Greater Daemon, and the Eldar have the Avatar of Khaine, their blood-handed god of war. All of these are rare on the battlefield, but deal frightening amounts of damage when called.
Dawn of War was certainly designed with multiplayer in mind, however, there is a lengthy single-player campaign as well, that follows the tale of the Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter and its pursuit of Chaos corruption and Orkish aggression. The missions that tie together the solo story are long and epic, each one feeling more or less the same as the final mission of Starcraft. One might think that a certain amount of burnout would occur with that much drama, but it just wouldn’t be Warhammer if every single battle didn’t feel like the war to end all wars. Sadly, you don’t have the option of playing any of the other races in the solo mode, just the Blood Ravens. This provides all that much more reason to register your GameSpy account for some brutal online matches. Other than a few unique mechanics, the game plays out almost completely in tune with real-time strategy traditions.
Pages: 1 2 3