Review by darkaeons

Reviewed: 12/26/05

The best game I have played. Ever.

Possibly the best RTS of all time. Well, the expansion to the best RTS of all time. This is the first review I have ever done, so I apoligize in advance for any mistakes/flaws I have with this review =)

Graphics and animation: 10/10
Godly. The amount of detail is huge, ranging from tiny cracks in the road to the rivers in-between bases. The units are perfectly modeled, and replicate the Table Top (TT) models almost exactly, with a few changes here and there. During fights, you have "kill animations", which are a few seconds of invunerablilty when one unit kills another, usually in close combat (CC). Each unit has about 5 different kill animations. Overall, a great job, and best viewed with high settings.

Fits perfectly with everything that happens. Space Marines screaming as they die, bolters with their 'Ratatatatatat' as they fire, voice overs when you select a squad and commnd it to do something. Remember to turn on 'random sounds' at the options menu, especially when you play as Orks. Their sayingz arez hilarioz!

Where the game truly shines. Easy to use and to understand. The tutorial in 'skirmish mode' is a great help to those new players to DoW or WA. The game may be a little confusing at first, due to all the different units and buildings that produce the units and over things, but you will soak that up in the first few games that you play.

Each race has a standard unit which you can build right at the very beginning - Scouts for Space Marines, Guardians for Eldar, Slugga boyz for Orks, Cultists for Chaos and Inperial Guardsmen for the Imperial Guard. You use these units to capture Strategic Points, which increase the rate of which you bring in Requisition (which is the standard resource of the game - EVERYTHING will cost some req, as it is widely called). You use this req to purchase buildings, units, upgrades and power generators (which generate power, suprisingly). You then build up your army to defend yourself, allies and to annhilate your enemy.

There are different aims of the game, which you can toggle when creating a game online or in the skirmish (the campaign is pre-made). You have to destroy all unit-producing buildings, destroy the HQ, capture and hold at least 66% of strategic points etc. you can also mix and match - I usually have take and hold (capture and hold at least 66% of strategic points) and annihilate (destroy all unit-producing buildings).You can also have up to 8 players playing, though the main competative ladder is the '1v1 automatch'.
I hope that was of help, as you really have to play it yourself to know how good the gameplay is.

The expansion offers one new unit for each race, several new maps and the Imperial Guard! The Imperial Guard (IG) are supposed to be a mainly defensive race, but a well known tactic until recently was to attack your opponent straight away with three squads, and this sincerly cripples the enemy. Not very defensive eh? This is rare in itself, as most expansions only offer additional units and maps. The IG just add to the fun. THe new units are Mega Armoured Nobz (MANz) for Orks, Fire Dragons (FDs) for Eldar, the Chaplain for Space Marines, and Khorn bezerkers for Chaos. However, more vehicles should be added for Chaos, because they only have 3 (but I have never ever seen one of them in play by pros and n00bs alike).

Why not a 10/10?
Balance. This is, in a nut shell, how fair the game is for each race. At the moment, the Orks seem to be the weakest, with the IG just above them, and the Space Marines at the top. This ruins the game, because at the end, most Eldar only produce Fire Prisms, which are arguably the best vehicle in the game. In the middle, Chaos produce Khorn Bezerkers which can out number and over power most early-middle troops in the game. There are also many things, but the list is too long to put here. However, Dawn of War:Winter Assualt is the most balanced game of it's kind.

Campaign is short and sweet. Skirmishes aren't too great either, as the computers aren't that superb, and rarely play like a human.

Although a small online community (around 500 playing at the same time at peak times, including those waiting for a game to start and those who are in one), it is a very nice one, apart from the occasional spammers and droppers. There is a freinds list, to keep track of your most favoured players, a good easy to use interface, and the abilities to either join a game that is all ready made or to create your own if there isn't one to fit your tastes. The only bad thing about Online is Gamespy, which has many flaws and bugs.

Each battle is different. You may start with the same start every game, eventually the game will span out, opening many posiiblities, e.g. Build anti-vehicle, whether to tech or not etc. I have been playing DoW since...september of 2004, and I still love it as much as I did back then

If the game was more balanced, it would be perfect, aside from Gamespy (oh how I hate thee). However, this is the best game I have ever played in a long, long time, and I hope this review has convinced you all to buy it

Hope to see you online,

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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