Short Review: Dawn of War: Winter Assault

Just when I was so bored to death, I was pleasantly surprised with a new way to spend my time: a new expansion pack to one of my favourite real-time strategy games: Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War. The expansion pack, as the title of this post states, is Winter Assault. This is actually the theme of the planet where the single player campaign plays out, where it's snowing everywhere. So what's new in this expansion pack? Well, I think the promise of an entirely new 'race' which an entirely new tech tree and special abilities should suffice. How many expansion packs actually add an entirely new race to the roster? Of course, Winter Assault's best addition is not really the new race, but the single player campaign. The original Dawn of War's single player left much to be desired, as it was relatively short and relatively simple.

I'm not going to bore you with what you should already know about Dawn of War with the squads and what not, that's why this is only a short review of Winter Assault. If you loved Dawn of War, there should be nothing short of lack of funds or stock stopping you from getting this expansion pack. The new race is fun to play, but I believe it is pretty difficult to play it in the campaign. In the single player campaign, the first few missions restrict you to mostly infantry, which is the WEAKEST point of the new Imperial Guard. This actually makes the Order side of the campaign a big pain in the ass to play since your men lose morale quickly and start dying like flies. Despite this, the new race is still pretty fun to play, but you'll find (or at least I found) that they just take longer to do certain killing activities.

However, their vehicles make up for their weaknesses, and unfortunately, these vehicles are few in the first few missions. This means long long campaign games compared to the first few Disorder missions, where charging through or expanding your forces will generally win you the game. :P One thing to note about the Imperial Guard is that they will allow for possible 'rush' tactics in multiplayer (which are conveniently useless in the campaigns). You can build their basic military squad straight off the bat from your Field Command. The other races generally need you to build a Barracks equivalent to get access to the basic military squad.

One thing I did have to complain about was Winter Assault patching up Dawn of War. Sure, it was convenient to have one megaupdater with all the separate update files, but I find is a tad annoying that the developers didn't put together a large cumulative patch that could patch anything and everything between 1.00 and 1.30 to 1.40 instead of the incremental updating. It's not a pretty sight seeing the same files being patched over and over again. I think they are eventually going to have to do it, why not at this most important expansion pack stage?

The good news is that it got the job done, and it's otherwise pretty good. No score because there is no need for one. If you like Dawn of War, buy this expansion pack. Adds loads of maps to your multiplayer life. LOL