Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tech & U: Dawn Of War 40,000: SoulStorm

I got to playing SoulStorm for over a week now and I must the say the expansion is more exciting than the last one: Dark Crusades. As you have read from my demo review of the game things are pretty much the same. You have two factions that have a third resource that they must harvest, I say 'must' because it is vital to their abilities. These two factions are the 'meaner' and 'badder' sibling of the main factions which is in this case the Space Marines and the Elder. Just a quick note, Dark Eldar are not Chaos worshippers. They are Elder that like to enjoy the extreme pleasures of life on both spectrum of the moral compass.

So let me recap briefly the Dark Eldar, the Dark Eldar are mostly pirates and can basically be said they are a faction that can't sit still. Their high mobility infantry and vehicle units can reach any point on even the largest maps in short time. Even their Relic Unit, the Dais of Destruction is amazingly fast. Dark Eldar's third resource, Soul Essence, powers their global abilities. That means that the Dark Eldar can support their units or ally units anywhere in their field of vision of. Add that to the fact they can race to re-enforce any areas on the map and that they can have fairly large number of squads on the ground makes them a force to be reckoned with. The only problem with the Dark Eldar is that they may have the most fragile infantry units in the game.

The Sisters Of Battle on the other hand follow the motto 'a few good women' and such are actually pretty bad on large maps since their infantry units are quite pricey in terms of unit cap requirements and the fact that their squads benefit a lot when adding a Missionary to them. Sisters Of Battle players will find themselves using spear thrust tactics because of this. Although, the Sisters Of Battle will find it hard to surround or out flank the other factions they do have huge advantages since their abilities are gears to enhance their survival and at the same punish any units that come within their range of fire. Sisters Of Battle rely a lot on their Faith abilities which they generate as their third resource from their Listening Posts after the Holy Icon upgrade. Much like the Dark Eldar with their Slave Chambers. To help combat the Sisters' lack of coverage in large maps they get Inferno Turrets that are effective against infantry units or can be upgraded to take out vehicles.

Air units have been improved since the demo, their no longer seem to get stuck on certain high terrain in some maps. Although, air units main function it seems is to just take out buildings which is a shame as I would have like to see different races use them differently. Like for instance, being able to build structures or carrying vehicles. Or air units designed specifically to fight only infantry or other air units.

The single player campaign in SoulStorm is just a large version of the one you find in Dark Crusades but just larger.

Multiplayer is the same as always, any game with a 600 ping and below you should be able to play with ease. And there always seems to be at least 100 players online playing or waiting to play.

Game graphics for SoulStorm is still the same high established since the franchise started. You got squads engaging in individual melee combat, units in squads flying high as some take hits from explosive damage and so on. And should you wish to see you guys close up you won't be disappointed in the detail has gone into each unit.

Sound effects are unique for each weapon, vehicle, building and unit. Dialogue for Sisters and Dark Eldar are as lively as ever which you would after a while like most veteran catch youself screaming "Thou shalt not! I shall!" or "They cower! We carve..."

Overall, SoulStorm never fails to deliver. Even though there is currently an exploit for the Sisters Of Battle and the Dark Eldar which will be fixed in the next patch, SoulStorm delivers a balanced and thoroughly enjoyable game to both the old and new fans.

Title: Dawn Of War: Soulstorm
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Relic
Availability: New Era Interactive Software Sdn Bhd
Suite 27-02B, 27th Floor Menara Keck Seng
203 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: (603) 2143 1332 Fax: (603) 2143 1330

Package: 1 Manual, Game DVD, Bonus DVD (contains 2 demos and behind the scenes video).


Windows® 2000/XP
DirectX® 9.0c
2.0 GHz Intel® Pentium 4 or equivalent AMD® Athlon XP processor
512 MB RAM (required for 8-player multiplayer games)
5.1 GB free hard drive space for installation
64 MB DirectX® 9.0c compatible AGP video card with Hardware Transform and Lighting
DirectX® 9.0c compatible 16-bit sound card

Our Verdict: 5
Documentation: 4
Graphics: 5
Sound: 5
Replay Value: 5
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