Tip Of The Spear: An Early Look at 'Dawn Of War III'

A few weeks ago, Sega and Relic Entertainment invited us to a special sneak peek at Dawn of War III. After watching the game’s reveal trailer, the developers had a hands-off demo to showcase a part of the campaign. This one mission in particular featured the Space Marines and the Eldar factions.

The First Wave

But first, a little bit of back story. The setting for Dawn of War III is on the planet Acheron, which contains a powerful weapon. The discovery of the weapon prompts the Space Marine, Eldar and Ork factions to travel to the planet and retrieve it. With these three warring factions on the same planet, it's bound to be a chaotic war before the victors get their hands on the mysterious weapon.

Regardless of the faction you choose, your units are in one of three categories. There’s the simple line units, which are the backbone of any army, and then there are the elite soldiers that have unique abilities. The strongest soldiers in the game are the appropriately-named "super units."

For the demo, the developers chose the Space Marines faction. The level began, and there was just one soldier on the map--the elite unit named Gabriel Angelos. With his God-Splitter attack, he jumped and then struck his hammer into the ground, killing any unfortunate souls around him. However, Angelos can’t go through the entire level alone. He eventually meets up with Imperial Knight Solaria, the largest unit in the entire game. Seated inside a mechanical behemoth, Solaria can use her Gatling barrage attack to turn foes into mincemeat. Along with a few frontline units, Angelos and Solaria take out a small number of Eldar units before reaching a large clearing on the map.

Quick Camp

It’s in this clearing that the Space Marines constructed their base. After being absent from Dawn of War II, the base-building feature is back. Space Marines can call down orbital dropships to deliver troops and building supplies. You'll also need to collect resources to build special units, such as the dreadnought, which was the largest unit in past games.

After the short reinforcement break, the small army was on the move again towards the main objective: Destroy the portal that brings in Eldar reinforcements.

As the Space Marines encountered more foes, we saw more of the group’s varying attacks. Remember those dropships? You can have them land on enemies to get some easy kills. There are also multiple areas of cover that temporarily shield your units from attacks. However, the enemy can flush your soldiers out of hiding and claim the cover area for themselves.

As the soldiers neared the Eldar portal, the developers showed one last feature. The super-ability for the Space Marines is called the Orbital Bombardment, a giant laser shot from a ship in Acheron’s orbit. As it vaporizes more enemies, its area of effect increases, but its overall movement slows down. It’s a powerful weapon, and the Space Marines used it to obliterate the last of the Eldar as well as the portal.

Winner Takes All

The mission was just a taste of what’s to come in Dawn of War III, but it shows promise. The battles are intense, and it’s quite a sight to see something like Imperial Knight Solaria and her devastating Gatling barrage attack.

It’s one thing to play Warhammer 40,000 (the source material for Dawn of War III) in a tabletop setting, but it’s another to control these sci-fi units in a game. The Space Marines have the smallest number of units of the three factions, but each one packs some heavy firepower. In a few months, Relic Entertainment is bound to show off the Orks and Eldar. So far, the Space Marines have an impressive show of force, so the other factions will need to step up their game to win the battle on Acheron.

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NameDawn of War III
TypeReal time strategy
DeveloperRelic Entertainment

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