Another magnificent RTS title falls to the whims of the millennials
Dawn of War has been a great series and having played all previous titles and their expansions, we felt that Relic had taken its own sweet time to come out with the third instalment in the series. We’re talking eight goddamn years between Dawn of War II and Dawn of War III, so we had great expectations. Here’s a studio that’s been known for making great video games such as Home World and Company of Heroes, and it’s had enough time on its hands to build a decent title. And what does it do? Drop a sandwich, a turd sandwich. Ahh, well. Maybe we’re growing old or maybe things have started sucking a lot more. Here’s how Dawn of War III crushed this author’s expectations.
Dawn of War III: A brief history
The Dawn of War series is set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe where three factions have been at each other’s’ throats for ages. There’s ‘The Imperium of Man’, a fascist totalitarian regime that is fuelled by staunch principles of theocracy with an absolute blind devotion to the Emperor. Given the current political scenario, it looks like humanity is heading that way. Then there are the ‘Orks’ who are at a constant state of war with the Imperium, or as they like to call it in their grunt-infused cockney accent – “Humies!”. And lastly, there’s the ‘Eldar’ who are in a way like the Protoss from StarCraft or the Vulcans from Star Trek. Ancient learned race with psychic abilities and a penchant for long ranged combat. There are a lot many alien races and even factions within the three main races we’ve outlined here but for that, you need to play Dawn of War and Dawn of War II.
The Dawn of War series has been characterised with long campaign missions that chart out a pretty well-written story, albeit a mostly linear story. The video games in the series have followed the StarCraft path, each game would focus on the campaign for one particular race and each expansion would delve into the other races individually.
The races get better
It’s not all bad. Dawn of War III got its races right. The Imperium, the Orks and the Eldars all have specialised units, unique skills and different levels of complexity which provide a uniqueness to them. However, one can’t simply ignore how much the three races seem similar to those from the StarCraft universe. No wonder they got better.
The Imperium of Man is the most versatile, they have bolters to whittle down the enemy from afar but have no qualms with drawing out their chainswords and cutting deep into their enemies in close quarters. Each race has heroes and the human heroes are pious giants wielding humongous hammers that’d give Thor an inferiority complex. They are quick to close the gap and dish out knock backs like an 80-year old tractor running on high octane. You can queue up drop pods to land reinforcements right in the middle of a sticky situation.
The Orks retain their humorous quips and their unique way of describing armament and structures. You have the WAAAAGH! Towers, Shoota Boyz, Nobz, Trukk, Killa Kan, Bomb Squigs and Gretchins. And all of this is spoken in the all too familiar cockney accent which makes them so … orkish? They can salvage scrap to upgrade themselves or even hide a few units underneath the scrap to gain vision around the map. The orks rely on numbers to overwhelm their enemies. Typical Zerg fashion but sufficiently different.
And the Eldars depend on speed and ranged combat to clear the battlefield in the shortest period of time. Should they ever get up and close, they wilt away faster than a dandelion. However, they can litter the map with hidden teleporters to move massive armies and even building across the map. To simplify things, we’d say the Eldars through their many eons of existence have mastered the art of pussyfooting.
The Heroes, or Elites as they’re called now, have a vast array of unlockable abilities. They’re called Doctrines and you can unlock more doctrines as you complete missions and earn ‘Skulls’. The pace of earning Skulls becomes tedious as you progress through the storyline but in multiplayer, they’re earned much faster. Doctrines can give you a significant lead over your enemies, be it in single player campaign or in multiplayer.
The multiplayer is a MOBA
Everyone wants a piece of that MOBA action and Dawn of War III is no different. Rather than the typical RTS style where you have maps which are mostly asymmetrical, DoW III has very symmetrical looking maps and there’s the tiered tower approach which is the signature of MOBAs. You have to destroy the defence turret before landing upon the enemy’s power core. All while trying to defend your own turret and power core. Sound familiar? Very MOBAesque. On one hand, if they stuck to the old RTS formula, they risked being declared stale, and on the other hand, with the MOBA style of multiplayer, DoW III has evolved over other RTS titles.
We blame the millennials
Millennials and their miniscule attention spans have caused many a “focus group” studies to royally mess up many a great series. This pandering to the lowest denominator is something that’s bringing down the video game industry.
Dawn of War III attempts to squeeze in all three factions into just one game with 17 missions. There’s nothing wrong with that approach except for the fact that the number of missions pertinent to each race has reduced and you no longer enjoy the drawn out stories that the Warhammer 40,000 universe is known for. The multiplayer feels too fast paced as the units on either side are too squishy and don’t tend to survive prolonged combat.
|Platforms: Windows PC
Price: Rs. 1,999
Developers: Relic Entertainment
There are a few glitches that need to be ironed out as well. We played the game pre-launch as well as post launch and the very second mission has this tendency to mess up keyboard controls. You lose out on the ability key maps and the mouse can no longer move the screen. It goes away should you restart the game and hopefully will get ironed out. There’s also the fact that you lose unit control when you right-click on opponents sometimes. Silly little kinks which mess up a massive battle strategy do end up getting on your nerves. We’ll be revisiting the game in a month or so. Hopefully, things will have improved a lot more by then.
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