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Return to the Dawn of War

 

Platform

PC

 

Genre

Real Time Strategy

 

Developer

Relic

 

Publisher

THQ

 

ESRB

Mature

 

Released

Q3 2005

 

 

- Campaign for each race

- Different races really play differently

 

 

- Additional content not as satisfying as original

 

 

Review: Axis & Allies (PC)

Review: Red Alert 2 (PC)

Review: WarCraft III (PC)

Review: Rome - Total War (PC)

 

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Winter Assault

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

warhammer-winter-assault-4.jpg (92644 bytes) warhammer-winter-assault-5.jpg (73101 bytes) warhammer-winter-assault-6.jpg (77942 bytes)

 

With the addition of Winter Assault, players can now play as the Imperial Guard. They are a bit weaker than the other race types, but like the Eldar can also quickly transport troops around the map although on a more limited scale. They also have huge squad numbers to compensate for their inherently weaker units. One thing that factors more largely into play as the Imperial Guard is their propensity to have their squad morale broken. All squads for all race types have a morale bar and if a squad is being badly damaged in a battle, their morale will decrease. Once a morale bar is drained, the squad's performance and ability to inflict damage is greatly decreased. This is a great strategic element that factors in to the game very effectively. A vehicle can be badly outnumbered, however if it has the inherent ability to cause dread to its opponents, it can win the battle if its enemies morale is broken.

 

The Imperial Guard are more prone to having their morale broken, so its leader units are very important. Squads can have an inherent leader or sergeant that is created as an upgrade just like weapon upgrades, or just like adding a new squad member. However, leader units can be attached to squads as well. While attached 

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to a squad, these leaders provide special bonuses to your squad and also have abilities that can help turn the tide of a battle. Aside from the unique hero units that you have at your disposal during campaign play, you can create leaders that are unique to each race. The Imperial guard have a greater variety of leader units which is good, as a squad of Imperial Guard infantry are fairly useless without a leader, even after all the technology upgrades have been applied.

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The campaign in Winter Assault is divided into a good and evil campaign. In the good campaign, you play an interwoven storyline that involves both the Imperial Guard and the Eldar. In the evil campaign you play the same type of storyline except with the Orks and the Chaos Marines. Although the campaign in Winter Assault feels more complete in presenting what the game has to offer, I still preferred the original campaign playing as the Space Marines. Also, more as a matter of preference, I found the Imperial Guard somewhat distasteful to play as their unit types really have to be babysat to ensure that they are not routed in a battle even if you have overwhelming numbers. Although this is the nature of the race by design, it was hard to play as a race that can only be described as weenie after playing as the Space Marines who can only be described as butt whooping.

 

The game play all around is tight and the unit AI is good. The races are each unique in style and play and are each well balanced. There are no interface or camera issues, which is the way things should always be. The added content of Winter Assault though is well worth it, both if you have or haven't yet played the original. Picking up both and playing straight through all the campaigns is what I would prescribe for RTS gamers unimpressed by the current offerings from other studios.

 

- Mark Leung

(October 29, 2005)

 

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