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August 2018

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Release Date: April 27, 2017

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


PC Preview - 'Dawn of War III'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on July 21, 2016 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Dawn of War III immerses players in the escalating brutality of galactic warfare, where they will lead elite hero units and colossal armies to victory, or oblivion.

If we've learned nothing else about the series, it is that Dawn of War has no qualms with reinventing itself. Dawn of War 3 is no exception to this rule, as it combines some of the elements of the second game while also returning to a lot of what was presented in the original. The resulting mix is a fresh take on the series, and at E3 2016, I sat down at a presentation with Development Manager Matt Kernachan to learn more about the new game.

The story once again involves the Blood Ravens chapter of the Space Marines. Gabriel Angelos is back as the main character, the charismatic leader of the Blood Ravens. During the course of the campaign, two other races will be playable in the form of the Orcs and the Eldar, and the narrative will cycle between them from mission to mission. For the presentation's sake, it all centered on the Space Marines, with Gabriel smashing Eldar across the snowy wastes of Akron.

Though Gabriel's status as a hero unit lets him take a beating and dish it out with special abilities, it wasn't long before he became outnumbered and overwhelmed. Coming to his rescue was Lady Solaria, a woman inside the towering Imperial Knight, which makes even the massive Dreadnoughts seem like tiny toys. This is a hero unit with significant firepower to match her stature on the battlefield, from raking the landscape with dual-chain gunfire to launching salvos of missiles.

You can have up to three such hero units available on the battlefield, and you can select them before starting a mission. These units can die, after which they're simply unavailable for a period of time. Base building and individual unit control is back, and gone is the tactical squad-based gameplay of the previous title. This is truer to the original game's army building, only now with hero units to bolster your army.

Also gone is the cover system, which was a staple of the previous game. In its place are hard cover points on the battlefield that can be captured, at which point any unit inside takes significantly less ranged damage until it leaves or the hard cover point is destroyed. This doesn't stop melee from entering the force field, which makes high-mobility melee units useful to clear such hard points. Gear is another aspect that is not included in the new game; it was previously used to upgrade hero units, but it allowed for too many heroes to be able to do anything. Another note involved subtle changes to the lascannons, which are effectively anti-armor lasers that now deal ramping damage depending on how long they remain fixed on their target.

Each race will have its own mechanic, and for the Space Marines, it's the ability to call in units via drop pods. These pods kill any enemies unlucky enough to be under them during their thunderous landing, and they allow you to essentially teleport units to the fight rather than draft them at base and have them walk. However, they still take time to create, and that pod (of the three) can only be used to deploy the chosen unit before entering a cooldown period.

As Gabriel and his army continued to crush the Eldar resistance, they finally found their target: an Eldar gate warping in an invasion force. To wipe the structure from the face of the planet, he called in an orbital laser from his ship. This powerful beam disintegrates any enemy found under it, and as it does so, it becomes an even bigger finger of god that can be controlled to scrub the surface clean of any opposition.

Other than the year 2017, we don't really know when Dawn of War 3 will be coming out. Details on the multiplayer were scarce, though it was noted that the Last Stand mode of Dawn of War 2 will not be shipping with the game. That seemed to leave it open that it might happen later, but further information was not to be had. The game is already taking a bold step in a new direction, and it will be very interesting to see how that gambit progresses as the game development continues.

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