07
Mar
08

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm

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eveloper:
Relic Entertainment
Publisher:
THQ

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm is set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe – a dark, futuristic, fantasy setting where armies of technologically advanced warriors, fighting machines and hordes of implacable aliens wage constant war – and is played by millions worldwide. Executive produced and co-developed by Relic Entertainment in association with Iron Lore Entertainment, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm is a complete standalone title and will feature two all-new armies, including the malicious Dark Eldar, for an unprecedented total of nine playable races. In addition to new units across each of the seven existing races, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm will incorporate air units for the first time and introduce multiplayer medals, adding a whole new level of depth to online battles. The revolutionary meta-game introduced in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Dark Crusade is further expanded to an interplanetary scale in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm, allowing players to battle across an entire star system.

The Warhammer franchise has had a few very successful years on the PC and is looking destined to have a similarly great one this year. The success is largely as a result of Relic’s Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War, a gritty, bloody, very good Real-Time Strategy which threw you head first into the universe of Warhammer 40K. Since the original game was released there have been two expansion packs (Winter Assault and Dark Crusade) which have added new races and changed the way the campaign works. Soon, the third expansion is due to land; Soulstorm.
Soulstorm looks set to take Dawn of War and crank up the intensity another notch with the introduction of two new races and a third dimension of gameplay. We have The Sisters of Battle and the Dark Eldar. The Sisters of Battle have a unique resource in the shape of ‘Faith’ which can be used to gain excellent abilities such as raising the dead as ghosts. Their ultimate unit is the Living Saint, an angel brought down to wreak havoc on the battlefield, and to fly. This is where the new dimension of gameplay comes in as rather than just fighting on the ground you now fight in the air too.

“Not the whip!”

The Dark Eldar take a different approach and require ‘Souls’ to complete their dirty work which you can send your worker units to the battlefield to scavenge, or build a Torture Chamber to harvest them quickly. The units take on a very dark look and their naming follows suit with the Tortured Slave being the basic constructor unit. With cries of “No, not the whip!” you really get a sense of evil and doom with the Dark Eldar. The Dark Eldar units focus on power, speed and agility, on the downside however they are fairly fragile in battle.

The Dark Eldar units focus on power, speed and agility, on the downside however they are fairly fragile in battle.

A unique bonus for the Dark Eldar in Soulstorm is that while building structures you do not need to keep a Tortured Slave working on the construction allowing you to quickly move him on to building another structure. In this way you can be sure to build up a good sized base within a short space of time with only a handful of Slaves. Their units also receive an advantage in cover as unlike other races they can move at normal speed while maintaining all the defensive bonuses cover provides. The Dark Eldar command unit, the Archon, is able to call upon Incubii who act as loyal defenders of their commander. The Archon also possesses the ‘Animus Vitae’ ability which allows them to lock an enemy in place while stealing its health, a deadly manoeuvre.

“I’ve conquered worlds!”

If the new flying units and new races in Soulstorm don’t get you excited then a massive new campaign structure should. Following on from the style of the Dark Crusade expansion, Soulstorm allows you to conquer an entire galaxy with seven planets on your path to conquest and 31 total territories to dominate. While the new flying units add a new dimension to the gameplay, the core gameplay mechanics of the Dawn of War franchise remain so any veterans will be able to pick up Soulstorm, and after a couple of hours getting used to the new races and units get right into the action.

While some Warhammer die-hards may still be clamouring for Tyranids to make their appearance in the Dawn of War games, the forthcoming Soulstorm Expansion is shaping up to provide more than enough gameplay and excitement to keep you busy for a long time.

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