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Dawn of War III - Open Beta ReviewReview


Dawn of War III
Game review on PC
Eamon Ward / Tue 25th Apr 2017
101 views / 1 bite

The Emperor smiles upon us today, for he has seen what we have done and he has deemed it worthy.

OVERVIEW Launching on the 27th of April, Dawn of War III isn't out just yet but the open beta is. I've played around with it, fiddled with the settings, the army painter and pushed it online as far as I could. What do I think? Read on to find out.

STORYLINE Unfortunately, there's not a whiff of the campaign here so there isn't much to say. It would have been nice to have the first level or two but it's hardly the worst thing that could happen.

GAMEPLAY There were fears but they were without foundation. There were worries but they were proven wrong. There is blood and steel. There is war and the flames of rage. Battle burns across the surface of the world as Ork, Eldar and Space Marine fight to the death in the name of their respective leaders. The armies are all unique, each having very specific playstyles as well differing heroes and doctrines.

As you play you gain Elite Points which can be spent on your three deployable heroes. Each hero unit has a different cost meaning you must choose when you bring them to the field. A hero that's less powerful late game can be brought in early to give a boost. Something like the Imperial Knight can be deployed only in the late game but as you save up for the points you put yourself at a disadvantage earlier in the fight.

While the bulk of the gameplay is very similar to Dawn of War I, the addition of these hero units helps to mix things up, as does the singular game mode. That's right, one mode, which is kind of disappointing but I'm hoping Relic releases more modes soon. However, if they charge for them, they won't succeed. What there is, however, is a simple target-and-destroy system. Each team must protect three points, a shield generator, a turret and a power core. They must also destroy the enemies points. To destroy the power core, thus winning the match, you must first destroy the generator and the turret. While it's a good system that encourages team play and objective focused deployment, it suffers from being a little one sided.

It should come as no surprise that almost everyone online plays as the Orks. The ability to deploy dozens of relatively tough units at a very rapid rate gives them an early game advantage that can snowball into an unstoppable green tide very quickly. Space Marines and Eldar, while powerful in their own right, simply cannot field units fast enough to remain competitive. 

The only other real issue is how squishy everything is. Super soldiers die in droves, tanks are rendered into burning husks almost as soon as they're deployed and even the heroes, units that should be feared by the enemy, quickly crumble under fire. It lacks any real punch and everything feels disposable. While it's obvious this setup is for an online focus, it lacks the more independent racial traits of earlier games. Dawn of War III feels more like a big game of paper scissors rock than it does three different species fighting an endless war.

GRAPHICS Dawn of War III is a good looking strategy game. While it isn't as detailed as the previous entry in the franchise, the effects, models and animations all look good, though some of the animations do seem a little floaty.

AUDIO It's Relic so yeah, it sounds great. Music, voice acting, guns, vehicles and warcries are all excellent but you really should have seen that coming.

VERDICT Without seeing any of the campaign, and with the option to fight AI disabled, I cannot recommend you purchase Dawn of War III on release, at least not at full price anyway. Unless the single player winds up being a 20-hour long epic and Relic announces more free content within weeks of release, there isn't enough here to justify $80. 

While it is fun and it is an undeniably good game and a worthy entry into the franchise, based on my beta experience there just isn't enough content to justify a purchase on release. As it stands, wait for a sale.


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