Release Date: 9/20/2004
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Translates the board game nicely to an RTS, great story and voice acting, simple design, and game play mechanics makes RTS fun, fun multiplayer
The Bad: Camera and AI issues, can’t kill off units, may not be deep enough for RTS buffs, cliffhanger ending
I love RTS games but when they try to be too deep (i.e. Civilization) they can sometimes be either boring or too hard. Dawn of War tries to remedy this with a simple design. If you don’t know what Warhammer is then I wouldn’t be surprised. Warhammer is a board game where you buy and collect outrageously priced figurines too build your army(s) and battle with other people. The models come in plain die cast metal so you can even paint them yourselves. Dawn of War does a perfect job of making that into an easy to access (and cheaper) form. The game has a great story with great voice acting as well and this is also a surprise.
You play as the Space Marines who are trying to stop the Chaos and Orks from destroying the world Tartarus and unleashing an ancient evil. Through the 11 campaign missions, you’ll play you’ll slowly unlock new things to use. Unlike most RTS games the squad cap is at 20 and the vehicle cap is at 17. Don’t think this is kiddied up at all. You can select each unit and “add soldiers” and even upgrade new weapons and abilities for them at your armory. Each “squad” can hold up to a certain amount of soldiers so choose wisely. You have four different powerful squads which are the Scout Marines (the weakest yet the fastest), the Space Marines (your main squad you’ll be using), your Assault Marines (they have jet packs and are more powerful), and your Terminators which are massive mechs that are practically unstoppable. You can’t unlock these until the last few missions. Your vehicles are the same you have tanks, powerful tanks, super powerful tanks, tanks that transport troops etc. To build all of these you do need resources, but unlike other RTS games, you don’t need a ton of different things. All you need is Requisition Resource and Power Resource.
You get PR by building power generators and you get RR by capturing Strategic Points throughout the maps. You then can build Listening Posts on these and upgrade them with turrets and armored housing. You also can’t get the better units until you upgrade your Stronghold (think: Eras in Age of Empires and Civilization). While there are only three different upgrades (remember they keep everything simple) you have to build certain structures before upgrading again. Most of the game play comes into play when you attack enemies. While you attack enemies you can use upgrades that you researched such as frag grenades, smite, rally etc. You can also attach your main characters to units to add attributes and you can even add commanders. While this is really fun and simple and easy the game has some flaws. First off the graphics look somewhat dated, especially up close. Second, you can’t kill units so if you accidentally created a Space Marine instead of an Assault Marine because you have to jet pack over a ravine you’re screwed. You can, however, rally the Space Marines to an Orbital Station and that they dropped over, but you need the third add on your Stronghold for this. Another pain is you can’t zoom out far enough. This makes finding squads tedious and annoying. The final thing is the cliffhanger ending. It leaves an opening for the expansion packs, but you aren’t satisfied at all.
There are also AI issues where units will pile on top of each other and get confused on where to go. This can make moving large amounts of units a pain since some will be further ahead than others. If you can overlook all of this Dawn of War is one of the best RTS games ever made. With its simple design and easy pickup and play mechanics, you’re going to have a blast with this game.