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Dawn of War: Soulstorm Review

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I did the same thing for DC about 18 mos. ago on a wawrhammer site I frequent...


DOW SS: I give it about a 7/8


Soulstorm is an interesting, enjoyable game if you like the Warhammer Dawn of War series by relic/thq that has held its own and dominated as to decent RTS PC gaming over the past 4 years. Whereas many games take to WW2 primarily, or some alt. reality of the modern or near modern future, DOW takes the player to the WH40K universe, which makes those of us that frequent this forum likely interested in the game and willing to shell out money for a game that lets us play with multiple armies that cost MANY times more than the one time purchase of the game.


DOW has provided me with hours of endless entertainment, with all the khorne influenced catchphrases I could hope for short of a games-day size tourney devoid of players under the age of 21 and filled with Kegs of beer, bottles of Vat69 Scotch, pecan pie, and strippers... This was then followed up somewhat well by the Imperial guard being added into the game in WA.


WA continued the DOW franchise tastefully and in my opinion the guard were a likely, and enjoyable addition to the present races, however it left me needing more. WA skimped in the "Add another army department, and choked out by not really adding a WHOLE other army, but rather taking the models available, slapping some xtra stuff to it and sending the old girl out on stage like a drunken pitbull in an encore fight at michael vick's house.


Regardless, I still liked, bought, played, obsessed, and defiled the game, not in that order.... until DC rumors came about.



DC had alot of the same issues I had with WA, once again, an army was pieced together from available models (crons)... but here, we had a whole new army added, and say what you want of the tau, they were a welcome relief in the game that made "stealth" actual worthwhile in the game. DC is probably one of the better RTS titles/expansions I've played short of company of heroes and starcraft. Even then, the games cannot be truly compared, and for my own enjoyment, they rank about equal.


When I heard about SS coming out, I was honestly angry at first, because I had just gotten a new rig and was hoping they would go along to DOW 2 or its equivalent, and finally add the nids. As soon as I heard that the game would not be changing the engine at all, I felt it was highly unlikely GW or relic bothered to engineer nids for the game, so I was not really all that pissy about that. I will say however, that compared to the additions and improvements of the other expansions, these additions are actually a fresh breath of air in a rather stale room.


The sisters and DE, like them or hate them are rather different from the rest of the armies, and paint/swapped marines aside, I think the addition of a "witchhunter" army was not a horrid idea in the end.



The sisters of battle SOB are pretty much a nuns with guns with a great big dose of catholic guilt... if you are catholic, you will actually crack up at the catholic inspired droning recant prayer type comments the units give (emperor deliver us from the tempeeeeeeeest). The models look good.... its basically the majority of the SOB tabletop line up, minus a few things, and is themed on a fire based army... almost every unit can upgrade to a flamer, or carries one..... this army would be the most likely to be modded into a "gay army" if anyone was to do that. It feels different than the marines because there is less emphasis on the supercharacters, as the actual units are able to hold their own to a great degree without the attached leadership... the fact that they mostly all u pgrade to flame weapons meansx that armies with low leadership/morale like the orks or the guard prior to upgrades will be running like armenian civilians from turkey in 1915.



The DE are more or less as I imagined them, although I would have liked more warp-teleporting around from them on the boards rather than just skirting around. The DE have more staying power t han the regular eldar imho, the regular troops are able to fight hand to hand and at a distance respectably for the better part of the game after the first upgrades to the units. The army relies on poisons, psych effects, and a shitload of passive/active effect charge powers that can level enemy units rather quickly if the player is half decent at placing his units to allow for the most damage possible. The army gets a good variety of units as well, allowing players that actually play table top some degree of variety in their army composition in game.




Flying units basically work like over-hyped skimmers, and are not all that amazing to me... I would have preferred fighter/air unit SUPPORT in the manner company of heroes does this thing, where it is a chargeable power rather than a unit per se. To be honest, the fliers remind me quite a bit of the flying units in the old "age of empires-like" starwars galactic battlegrounds, which tends to make the units behave more like permanently floating skimmers rather than actual flying units. They are well armed however to hit and run on infantry, and can take a decent beating before cracking. Also, in the defense of the fliers, the developers at least tried to give SOME natural motion to the air units, wings dip and the unit wobbles when it fires, etc.


My beef is that we could have more easily benefited from one of the multitudes of vehicles in these armies rather than fliers... I would have preferred a new kind of chaos marine, maybe noise or plague marines, or perhaps some spawns, demons.... my point is that there were a LOT of options they could have gone with, and adding in a random flying unit, while not a complete FAIL, just seems to smack of "copout" on a game series that I have really come to expect the best from.


The campaign is basically an expanded version of the DC campaign... and sadly, no matter how you dress it, the campaign essentially consists of repeated skirmishes with the occasional base boss fights. This doesnt really surprise me, however as I didnt expect the campaign to move up much, and barring very few RTS's its not as if the plot gets much deeper than amateur armenian-turkish porn circa 1915 anyhow. I'll play through it once, with one race, to get used to the new race's units, then go play online


My point is, that its just not all that much of an addition, but at the same time, I was aware of that coming into the game.


The multiplayer has improved in that the game has a SHITLOAD of Maps, many of which are larger and more filled with cap points and resource nodes... Alot of these maps have corridored areas, forcing fights with the opponent rather than heavy turtle-favoring maps.... this is a good thing, and with 9 races now in, many of which with units capable of teleporting/jumping over areas, this will be fun to watch. After a few maps/games, I think the multiplayer is still as good as it was the initial time I played DOW online 4 years ago...


At $40USD for a "Standalone expansion" (Read: way to get you to pay 80% of the orig game price for less than 1/2 the functionality of the original at initial release) it is basically a "booster pack" to the DOW series, adding some multiplayer fun, maps, and two characterful, new races. If you like the series, and you want two new races that are both dissimilar and entertaining to play as... I suggest getting the game and getting online with it.


DOW's draw has been its involvement with 40K and its variety of game factions... as such, Im not mad at all at the limited scope of changes in the expansion.


Graphics, etc are equal to DC, and I was able to run the game on high on my OLD 3 year old laptop (it runs flawlessly on the new rig). In the game's defense, I ask: why fix what works? The game still looks good, despite its engine's age, and is reliable as an RTS can be.. While I have contant issues with EA games, I can honestly say that I can count on one hand the times that DOW has actually given me a non-connection/internet based problem...even in large games, even with crazyness going full tilt. I much rather prefer the game stick to its premise/look/etc. for now since this is the (god i hope) final expansion...


If and When DOW returns, hopefully, it will be under different engine, graphic, appearance, and with tyranids. For now though, its basically Rocky III... good to watch, mess with, own... but dont expect an Oscar.




If you like the series, go get it... and lets get online for a game.


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