Thursday, August 05, 2004

Dawn of War

I've been playing the Beta version of the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War today, in between bouts of re-starting my PC.

(I wish I knew what the hell was causing the problems with my machine. The BSOD errors, and a lucky find on the net seem to point to my DSL modem drivers - of which I have the latest version. Bugger. If I had a boot disk, I'd just format and go back to WinME, cos I've had nothing but trouble since upgrading to XP. Of course, I'd also need to install a floppy drive...)

It's certainly the first videogame (that I've played) that's managed to capture the perceived atmosphere of the 40K universe. Chaos Cultists beg for mercy while you whip and lash them to work, Space Marine Commanders laconically reflect on the need to worship the Emperor and carry Big Guns, and the Orks shout a lot. The Gretchin sound a little too much like Serkis' Gollum, in my view. I still haven't played as the Eldar, but playing against them, they seem to follow the combat roles that one would expect from these future-Elves; martial arts, high speed and longevity of life.

The demo only allows one single player tutorial map, and only online multiplayer games. The tutorial is a skirmish mode game, using the Take and Hold rules: capture strategic points around the map, slowly advancing on the enemy. These points give resource points, allowing you to build facilities and vehicles, and recruit troops. So far, so C&C. Luckily enough, that's as far as resource collecting goes, apart from the ubiquituous power generators and their handy electricity. The three races I've tried so far seem to play pretty much the same, albeit the Orks need Waaaagh! power as a third resource.

It's fun, but far from revolutionary so far. I wish there were more game modes available, but, alas, not.

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