Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III (2017, PC)

By Sarblade / May 1, 2017

I loved the first Dawn of War. I played it semi-competitively and I've spent years on it since day one, clocking in more than 1,400 hours before the Steam release. I didn't like DoW2 like the first one but I admit the campaign was amazing, one of the most entertaining I've ever played in the genre.

   What can I say about DoW3? I don't know. I was really hyped about it and I may be biased towards Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, but it's a disappointment.
   The campaign is linear, very StarCraft-like; the story — except for few fragments which I'm not gonna spoil — is kinda boring. Most of the missions are slow and seem made just to introduce people to the multiplayer. Still, even if you can't customize a thing, it's Warhammer 40,000. Not counting the backflipping Space Marines and the death-spinning goofy Orks.
   And the multiplayer? Woah. They clearly forced it to be an eSports game, by limiting themselves and limiting the fun of the game.
   There is only one single mode, which is inspired by Dota: a core for every faction and few towers defending it. To destroy the towers — and the core — you need to destroy a shield generator first.
   The maps also have lanes (two-three lanes depending on the number of players) and bushes, and are ALL mirrored and VERY small. Eldar can't stealth their structures, you can't relocate your HQ or build another one, you can't rush (who remembers the Tau Rush?)
   It's not a strategy game, I admit it's supposed to be "different". But "different" doesn't always mean "better". Every game ends in being slow and repetitive.
   Sure, you can customize your army with three Elite units and six doctrines. Too bad that also the most characteristic units of a faction are Elite units. And you can't have more than one of them. This way tactics are very limited and armies feel pretty much the same. Yeah they have an exclusive gimmick, like the Orks being able to power-up and the speed buff of the Eldars, but that's all. The core roster of units is pretty much the same, with respect to roles. I miss being able to launch a bunch of Terminators in the enemy formations or doing skirmish strategies with 40+ warp spiders. Heck, even Stormboyz are considered Elite.
   Of course you have to slowly grind to get all the Elites. They cost 200-300 each and you get 2040 skulls for completing the campaign (on Hard).
   And when Escalation II starts?
   "Welcome to the Blob Wars!"
   You can still build some structures (no defenses though) but it's pretty much everything dumbed down. There is no cover system, heroes have fewer abilities, UI is a mess.
   And If you're looking into this game because you loved doing skirmish annihilations with friends against the AI, stop. There is none. The skirmish is the same MOBA-like mode, with the same limits about Elites and a stupid-as-fuck AI.
   It's really a shame to see that the new Relic tried to make a game for a different fanbase from what they gathered in the past years. Probably — in its simplicity — it will be enjoyable for the new fanbase, but for me it's just depressing to see my favorite series stripped down of its most interesting features.
   I'll probably enjoy it more when they add some classic RTT modes (or when I — or any other modder — will be able to create a LARGE map without towers and other bullshit).
   This game is not total crap, it's just a new, simplistic — and dull — approach to the RTT genre. Maybe it's a good starting point for someone who's doesn't know how to play RTT and is new to the genre or to Warhammer lore, but to me it's just too stupid.
   It's like a cross between Dota and StarCraft. I'm too old for this shit.
   I don't want the game to fail but I do want to let the new devs know that Dawn of War was more than this. That there is a need of other modes and of a true skirmish co-op capped at eight players, with more than two teams (you can't do 2v2v2). Yes, if something is different it doesn't mean it's necessarily bad, but this isn't innovating, this is removing features from an established series. That's why I can't recommend it (it also has no content).
   Reminder to the devs: Counter-Strike and StarCraft are the most played eSports ever and they weren't built with eSports in mind. Don't force eSports mechanics in a game by making it dull.