Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Winter Assault - game review

Date: 2005-11-14 11:19:00
The review was based on the PC version.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, released about a year ago, was (and still is) an excellent real-time strategy. Apart from the ridiculous number of single-player missions and not using the potential of the W40K universe on this plane - there are no drawbacks. Thanks to the brilliant and incredibly playable multiplayer, players from all over the world play dozens of battles every day, and it's hard to be surprised. Dawn of War is just a great game. From the very beginning it was obvious to release the expansion pack. Well, we live to see - Winter Assault has seen the light of day. An add-on as an add-on - it should improve what has already been, add as much new as possible and at the same time cost little. How did Relic manage these three things? Look for the answers in the review below.

First of all, let's start with probably the most important, or at least the most interesting for everyone - what's new in Winter Assault ? First of all - the fifth race, the Imperial Guard. In fact, here you could turn your nose that only one and not more (well ... let's say ... but I don't want to reveal anything), but what can I do? So let's take a closer look at what the imperial soldiers have to offer us.

The backbone of the Imperial Guard are small and weak units of Guardsmen. If we let them into battle right after production, we might as well kill them ourselves using the Delete key. The Guardians are extremely weak at the beginning and have low morale, but this can be remedied. It is enough to maximize the composition, add a sergeant, equip with weapons (plasma rifles or grenade launchers), and finally - add a commander or a hero. And the choice of the latter is large: Commissars (battle-hardened commanders, raising the morale of the unit by killing fleeing soldiers from the battlefield), Psykers (heroes endowed with psionic energy), Priests (increasing the strength of the unit and infecting other soldiers with fanaticism, thanks to which they fight more enthusiasm). The last hero is an assassin - a sniper of amazing range and immense strength. Unfortunately, you can only have one in your army, and you cannot join troops.

In addition to the Guardians, there are also other infantry units available - Command Squad (a group of heroes [up to three] led by an Imperial General), Kasrkin (a group of better trained soldiers) and Ogryni (big, blunt, strong and durable ogres). The Techno-Priest Engineers are responsible for the construction of buildings and the repair of machines. And the machines? They are, and it's quite interesting. The mossy Sentinel is indispensable for quick reconnaissance and attacking vehicles and buildings. The Chimera-class APC takes up to three infantry units on board, and interestingly - the units placed inside the carrier can respond with fire to the enemy's attack. Hellhounds are heavy vehicles, armed with flamethrowers that are deadly for enemy infantry, while Basilisks act as artillery (I recommend trying their special, shocking ability). Leman Russ-class tanks are good both on foot and on vehicles, as well as the powerful, huge and full of all-round weapons of Baneblade. The latter is the equivalent of the Avatar of the Eldar or of the "Ripper" of the Orcs.

The Imperial Guard is a race that focuses primarily on defense in the early stages of the game. Each building can be manned with infantry units, thanks to which it defends itself. Added to this is the ability to quickly transport infantry from one building to another through a network of underground tunnels. Only later do we have better heroes or medium-class vehicles. When it comes to buildings, nothing specific can be said - they are just like buildings of other races. Their appearance is similar to the buildings known from the base, so - simply - it's still very good.

Other races were also polished, adding one unit to each. And so, Space Marines got a new hero - Chaplain (Chaplain), excellent in hand-to-hand combat, able to scream by half to slow the movement speed of enemy units. The Orcs now have a Mega Armored Nobz squad, a group of huge, iron-clad orcs ready for any fight. Chaos received Khorne's Berserkers, a swift and deadly unit in close combat, designed to eliminate the enemy's regular and heavy infantry. By contrast, the Eldar now boast the Fire Dragons - an elite vehicle destroyer equipped with stabilizers to resist any explosions and shocks that could knock down the squad.

The units are all new, but not the only new items in Winter Assault. The etymology of the add-on's name is simple - related to the new scenery Relic has added to its creation. The entire single-player campaign takes place on the icy, cold and snow-covered planet Lorn V. Admittedly, despite the fact that the same scenery appears throughout all missions, you cannot complain about underdevelopment or lack of details. Snow-white ravines and hills, ruins and remains of buildings, still snowing, as well as a few new models related to the story, such as the powerful energy gate or the Titan Dominatus - all make the missions visually very interesting.

Exactly, what about these missions? In addition, we have two campaigns of five missions each for the forces of order (Imperial Guard and Eldar) and confusion (Orcs and Forces of Chaos). The main disadvantage is a small number of them, a smaller number - no introductory videos and a new intro (before the missions there are only pictures showing one or more armies and text). But that's all that can be accused of the addition. The missions are constructed brilliantly. First of all, there is no room for boredom here - very rarely events will allow us to calmly expand and attack. New tasks are falling all the time, you have to hurry all the time and be in several places at the same time. Whether, playing as Eldars, we will flee the bloodthirsty Orcs, teleporting the base to new places, or, as Chaos, we will receive an order to recruit a unit of the Imperial Guard and escort it to the altar to sacrifice the soldiers - I assure you that the campaign simply draws you in. It should be added that sometimes you have to think hard - some situations require in-depth knowledge of the race that we are currently in command of.

Secondly, an interesting structure - in virtually every mission, at some point we take command of the second race (depending on the campaign), and the fourth mission can be completed in two ways, winning with one or the other race. Whoever wins goes to the last mission. In summary, you can count that there are twelve missions, because the ending of the game is different for each race. If you used to approach the game not to complete it as quickly as possible, but to discover and savor each of its ingredients - you will definitely have more fun. And the final mission is amazing, no matter who you play - you will surely be in for a surprise. :) It is worth mentioning that the plot has nothing to do with the one from the base. Those who were waiting for the fate of the already known heroes may feel slightly disappointed.

The luminaire still maintains a high level. The new breed also has nice animations for the construction of buildings or the production of vehicles, and all models of its units have been made with commendable care. The number of details has been increased, the appearance of some things has been improved, etc. A lot of good music has also been added, tuned to the fight through each mission - be it in singleplayer, skirmish or multiplayer. All races have been balanced, making multiplay even better and more interesting.

In Poland, the publisher is CD Projekt, and we get the add-on at an affordable price and good, cinematic polonization. Irreproachable.

Unfortunately, if someone does not have permanent access to the network, he will not have much fun with the expansion - completing the single-player mission will provide great fun, but not for long. And skirmishes can get boring quickly. So who is Winter Assault for? To invest in the blind, you must meet at least one of the following conditions: a) you are a Warhammer 40,000 geek, b) you are a network RTS freak, c) you are a single player RTS freak and you don't complain about a lack of cash. Of course - the more points you complete, the more fun Winter Assault will bring you.

Piotr "Ziuziek" Deja