Monday, September 26, 2005
The Staff returns from being AWOL
Since Fearless leader's a little lax when it comes to disciplinary actions, We, the Staff (TM) find it rather easy to go AWOL every once in a while.
Anywho, We thought We'd return to let you, the readers(-TM) know what we'd been up to. We bought Warhammer 40,000: Winter Assault for the PC. This is the expansion to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, which was released a year ago. The original Dawn of War, or DoW, as it is known, is a real-time strategy game. It is in We, the Staff (TM)'s opinion, among the few titles that can match Blizzard's RTSes (Starcraft, Warcraft series) in terms of balance and quality.
With Winter Assault now out, and ourselves having had some time with it, we have a few comments, both positive and negative.
Firstly, Winter Assault (WA) adds a great deal of depth to this RTS series, especially given that it is just an expansion and not a full-blown sequel. It offers a fully-realized new race/faction, the Imperial Guard. The Imperial Guard are a bunch of average Joe-Shmoe Humans in space, fighting against mankind's enemies in a far-flung future. They join the four races from the original DoW, the Space Marines (Uber-human soldiers), Chaos (Corrupted, evil Uber-human soldiers), Orks (Green-skinned cockney brits in space) and Eldar (Elves in space). The developers, Relic Entertainment, have implemented this new race quite well, and while it is sure the game will be continually tweaked for balance (much as have Starcraft and Warcraft III), it is impressive that they included as much new content as they did for the expansion.
The Single-player campaign (something very important to We, as We're antisocial and don't play multiplayer) for WA is much improved over DoW. DoW had you playing strictly as the Space Marines, but you faced each of the other races through the course of the campaign. The other races were available only in multiplayer and skirmish (Player vs CPU) modes. WA has two campaigns, Order and Disorder. Order has you switching (sometimes mid-mission) between Imperial Guard and the Eldar, while Disorder follows the Orks and Chaos. Your choices affect how each campaign will end, which adds replay value.
Our biggest complaint with WA is audio presentation. Audio is generally good as was DoW's, but the two aural components where Relic really stumbled were music and voice acting. These two elements are rather critical in any game, in our opinion. But sadly there is no comparison between DoW's exemplary music and voice acting and WA's shoddy attempts.
All things said, it is a welcome expansion, and it also signifies the first PC game We, the Staff have purchased since we gots our X-Box. The last PC game we bought was Half-Life 2. Stupid Steam. We hates Steam. Stab Gabe Newell in the eye. With a rusty fork. Grr.
Anyway, we recommend anyone with a 1.6-1.8 GHz PC system or greater download the DoW demo, and if you like it, the Dawn of War: Game of the Year edition and the expansion Winter Assault are now available.