Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III Preview

None shall find us wanting!

Many of us thought we'd never see another Dawn of War game after THQ went down the tubes in 2013, even after Relic was allowed to keep the IP post-bankruptcy sale. The excitement for both Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) and real-time strategy (RTS) fans jumped over 9,000 when Sega and Relic teased Dawn of War III right before E3. After seeing the game for myself, I can assure you that the hype is real, and you definitely will not be wanting.

Chapter Master Gabriel Angelos is back (if you got the bad ending to Retribution, just pretend that didn't happen) with his Blood Ravens to explore the planet Acheron and, in this particular hands-off demo, take it back from them pesky Eldar who dare to think they own the place. Lady Solaria is also with them, driving her 14-foot mech that barely towers over Angelos. All Blood Ravens are big boys, like all the other factions of the Space Marines, but Solaria's Imperial Knight is damn near a giant.

Gabriel Angelos is one of the heroes available in the Hero class, and only one hero can go into battle at a time. Each hero has a unique ability, and Gabriel's is jumping through his warhammer ;Godsplitter move, whether it's jumping over chasms or jumping into the middle of the battlefield. Elites are also available for your army, and up to three Elites can be brought into every match.

Base-building has returned from the very first Dawn of War& game, a fact that made everyone in the meeting room light up with five-year-old grins. Now wherever Gabriel initially lands in the mission, he can take over a resource point and/or an enemy base and build a base of his very own. He will need one to harvest the various resource points scattered across Acheron as well as to replenish his troops that he sends to their deaths. Of course they're being sent to their deaths; they die today to serve the Emperor tomorrow.

The last half of the demo showed off several powerful additions. Units can enter a ring of heavy cover that can protect them from all ranged damage, for as long as the ring remains intact. The Space Marines can call drop pods from above to slam into the battlefield to provide reinforcements and crush anything beneath them at 12,000 km/h, according to the demo presenter. Against the Eldar's Fire Prism tanks, the Space Marines can send out laser-cannon devastators whose lasers deal more damage the longer they're focused on an opponent. If that weren't enough, near the end of the battle an Orbital Bombardment (aka Laser Beam Deaht From Above) wiped out the remaining Eldar forces in one fell swoop.

You can't imagine my relief when the game producer leading the demonstration told all of us that this particular mission they were showing happens about two-thirds into the main campaign, which has you flip control between all three factions in the game. The amount of chaos on the field, even without the Chaos soldiers, was overwhelming. I couldn't imagine how to keep track of all these units with all of their abilities, and of course this happens so quickly, all within seconds. I was starting to sweat in panic until the producer came to my rescue. I think I audibly sighed with relief. So much going on, and so many brightly colored explosions.

After seeing this game in person, I cannot express how much I want to build a new PC and buy a 4K monitor, just for this game. I have only recently gotten back into RTS games, and I think I've chosen the best time to do so. Since it releases in 2017, I'll have some time to save up that cash for that sweet, sweet new machine that I'll buy simply for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III. Don't judge.