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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Exclusive inside look at the beta

Ben Zackheim

Thanks go out to "Pete" for an insightful and thorough peek at Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. His hands-on look at the beta has yielded a good post that should get all you fans excited.

Heads up for RTS fans, this game has great potential for anyone interested in a good RTS. The graphics are reminiscant of Warcraft 3 but also has style similar to Starcraft. Using Relic's new graphics engine that was also used in Homeworld 2, this game looks great. Also the strategy implemented in Dawn of War is astonishing. Almost every unit can be upgraded to be used for somthing else (i.e. Space Marine Dreadnaughts can be upgraded for either anti-infantry or anti-tank purposes). Also, squad based infantry makes for interesting strategies. For example, if artillery rains down upon a squad of Marines not much damage will be inflicted on them - but it might as well have. It throws the Space Marines into the air and separates them, greatly diminishing the squad's effectiveness and rendering them almost entirely useless. At least, until the squad gets a chance to regroup, which can be deadly in a large scale battle.

Another great feature is the addition of hero units (Warcraft 3 fans will like this). Each side has 2 hero units and each one has very different (upgradable) abilities, and can turn the tide of a battle if used correctly. Although the heroes do not have battle experience points (like in Warcraft 3) you can spend money on upgrades as you go up the tech tree. Each of the four sides is very well balanced. The Space Marines are versatile and almost every unit can be used for something different. The Orcs are very specialized and use a variety of infantry units (which have hilarious names such as �Shoota Boyz� and �Killa Kanz�) to muscle through most forces. The Chaos Marines rely on sheer numbers (similar to the Zerg in Starcraft), but they also have an insane artillery tank which can rip through infantry with it�s twin flame throwers and autocannons � and then ravage tanks with its massive claws. The Eldars are in the middle of it all with decent everything.

All in all, this game is great and when you get into a good battle it�s fun to just sit back and watch the pure chaotic carnage. Watching a Space Marine squad hold off a large force of bloodthirsty Orcs, and then whip out their swords when the Orcs get too close, causing a bloody moshpit of death, never felt so good. The hand-to-hand combat is awesome and very satisfying. Once, I saw an Eldar Walker wind up and kick an Orc in the face. The resource collecting system is very original and is similar to Ground Control 2, in which you go around the map capturing strategic locations and getting money for it.

Right now, in its beta state, the title has some pretty serious bugs. But I�m confident they will be fixed, and it will end up being a superb game. I could go on and on about Warhammer, but if your interested and want to play it, it will be on shelves sometime in September.

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