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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm is the 3rd expansion to the PC-based RTS game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War series developed by Iron Lore Entertainment. Like its predecessors, Soulstorm is based on Games Workshop's popular tabletop wargame, Warhammer 40,000, and introduces a multitude of new features to the Dawn of War series. It can be used in a stand alone and so does not need the original Dawn of war disc to play, but you must have the prior games installed and valid cd-keys in order to play as anything but the two new races online.
Gameplay features real time strategy interaction. Game operation is similar to previous Warhammer titles, except for the new aerial units that do not follow these rules, and new campaign gameplay features.
Each race is given a new aerial unit which does not obey the normal rule of engagement in the Dawn of War series.
- Chaos Space Marines gain the Hell Talon, though the White Dwarf issue stated it was a Hellblade
- Eldar gain the Nightwing
- Imperial Guard gain the Marauder Bomber
- Necron Tomb Spyder's Attack Scarabs have been granted flight ability and Necron Lord receives the C'tan Deceiver entity.
- Orks gain the Fighta Bomba
- Space Marines gain the Land Speeder Tempest
- Tau gain the Barracuda
- Dark Eldar gain the Raven
- Sisters of Battle gain the Lightning Attack Fighter
- Chaos also have access to pink horrors from the chaos daemons army, as well as space marines having access to the grey knights from the deamonhunters army.
The Kaurava conflict began after a sudden appearance of a Warp Storm near Kaurava IV. The nine races were drawn to investigate the system with their own fleets and conflicting intentions. However, the Warp Storm wreaked havoc on their navigation interfaces, stranding them on the four planets and three moons of the system. The nine factions are then forced to battle between planets to ultimately conquer the planetary system and discover the reason for the warp storm.
The reason for the Warp Storm, as explained after the conquest of Chaos Forces, began with an ignorant Imperial Guardsman with latent psyker genes who was whispered to by the Chaos Gods, telling him to prepare a ritual. His actions unknowingly summoned the Alpha Legion to the Kaurava System, thus starting the conflict.
As with its predecessor Dark Crusade, Soulstorm features a "meta-campaign" featuring 31 territories spread over four planets and three moons.
One difference however, is that unlike Dark Crusade, there are no persistent bases. Once the player conquers a province, the base structures the player has built up will not be present in future conflicts. This can be remedied by reinforcing provinces with buildings and units in between battles, or by establishing a forward base using the Sisters of Battle army ability.
Relic mentions that the Blood Ravens fared poorly in Soulstorm, as it was mentioned in Dawn of War 2 that the Space Marines had to start defending their recruiting worlds or they would not recover. Scout Sergeant Cyrus (a playable character in Dawn of War 2) states, "The Kaurava campaign did not go well. Boreale and many others were killed, along with most of my scouts." While it is known 5 whole companies were lost under Indrick Boreale's command (including Boreale himself), By order of elimanation, and due to the fact that the first, second, third and fourth companies appear in Dawn of war 2 [II], we can deduce [as there are only 10 companies in a chapter] that the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth company were wiped out. [although four of these are considered support companies, specialised with heavy weapon and fast attack squads] although the first, second, third, and fourth companies can be excluded as they were under the command of other captains at the time. Who specifically won in Soulstorm, however, is not made clear, and it is unlikely Relic will make an attempt to declare a winner, as Cyrus states, "The Kaurava campaign was a huge mistake. I will not speak of it again."
Multiplayer remains the same as in previous titles, with players given the ability to either play via LAN or on the Gamespy network. A new 'medal' system has been added that provides rewards for certain player milestones (5-to-1 kill ratio, etc.), but there is no means of viewing the complete collection of medals a player has earned. It is assumed this problem will be addressed when an official patch is released along with other various bug fixes and corrections to the game, such as the current issue restricting certain masses of players from joining online multiplayer games.
On January 13, 2008, Relic released a 1.12GB demo of Soulstorm on several gaming websites. The demo allows players to play a tutorial, as well as one skirmish and one scenario map as the Dark Eldar. The demo's loading screens also show the new additional flying units added in the expansion. The Demo scenario simulates an assault on the Space Marine stronghold if one were playing the Dark Eldar in the campaign game.
The game received mixed to positive reviews from critics. As of March 19, 2008 on the review aggregator Game Rankings, the game had an average score of 72% based on 11 reviews. On Metacritic, the game had an average score of 71 out of 100, based on 15 reviews — indicating mixed or average reviews.
IGN gave the game a score of 7 out of 10, citing solid gameplay but lack of anything innovative.
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