We all know that feeling when you’ve been a fan of something since the very beginning since that first fledgeling title saw the IP spread its wings and become something amazing.
You felt proud, didn’t you? When it grew and grew and grew. More and more people came to bask in the radiance and you all felt connected by your shared love of this game regardless of faction or playstyle.
But then the inevitable. The failure. The rapture. The sundering of a community thought so strong by a steaming pile of casual focussed trashed.
In fairness, if I didn’t state it in the title you’d think I was referring to well… a million possible games. It could be Fallout 4, it could be half the Call of Duty titles, it could be more games than I can possibly think of and put those on the backburner for now because we’ll focus on Sega’s latest murder.
Fresh from butchering Total War Warhammer with its Day ONE Chaos DLC, Sega is back with known and trusted developer, Relic Studios, to massacre an IP beloved by fans the world over. Relic has held the keys to the Dawn of War kingdom since its inception, primarily known as the developer behind the massively successful Company of Heroes, the studio has done a brilliant job in the past.
Now as to why there was this shift from hero to zero well it’s arguably the death of THQ played some part. With Sega in full control they were free to say, “Here are all the things people loved about the first two games, let’s get rid of them.” Of course, intricate and effective cover system DLC will likely be on the horizon for $4.99.
Dawn of War was always a real-time strategy game, unit composition mattered, abilities mattered, special/heavy weapons absolutely mattered, morale mattered, cover mattered. In Dawn of War III, all that matters is who can spam basic units to keep the opponent on the back foot while working to drop their elite.
So, it’s every other strategy game, right? It’s been (and I shudder to use this term) mainstreamed. It’s not pretty but it’s true. Dawn of War has gone the way of Fallout 4, cutting down the elements that made it what it was in order to appeal to a wider audience.
Frankly, it shows. Looking at the mixed reviews on steam with only 56% positive and the Metacritic user score sitting at 4.9 it paints a pretty clear picture. Long term fans have been alienated in favour of those who see this as a Starcraft ripoff and if we can’t agree on how bad this game is we can all agree that those people have a special level of hell reserved for them.
You’ve no doubt noticed that I have some strong feelings about this and well I do. I’m a huge fan of the series and of the wider universe, I play the tabletop game and am currently working my way through the Horus Heresy. But this isn’t rage coming from some sense of entitlement because of my investment, it’s disappointment.
Like so many others I’ve watched this series go from arguably one of the best Sci-Fi RTSs to date, to well… rubbish. I really can’t, without repeating myself, describe DOWIII as anything else anymore. It’s sad and depressing but it’s ultimately true. The IP has been carved up – no doubt mainly into DLC – to create something that is a shadow of previous titles.
At the end of the day the damage is done, the executives are cheering with their fat stacks of cash that will no doubt grow larger, the common man celebrates for he too can now enjoy this series and the lone, basement dwelling diehard fan is left with nothing but bitter resentment and dreams of a bygone age and nothing to do but tell people on the internet how awful this game is.