Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III Game Poster Image
Difficult yet rewarding RTS tailor-made for 40K experts.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This is a story of intergalactic war. Different factions each have their own motivation for fighting, but it all boils down to wanting to dominate the universe, impose their own will.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Single-player campaign takes players through all three factions, viewing war through their eyes. Plot is pretty thin; not much character development to create any positive role models.

Ease of Play

Lots to learn, memorize; tracking best use of all unit abilities, weapons, while tracking rest of battlefield can be overwhelming. Also a pretty heavy assumption that players should already know Warhammer 40,000 series, be instantly familiar with units.

Violence

Filled with violence, as units destroy hundreds of each other. There's plenty of blood, gore left on battlefield, though its impact is slightly reduced by scope, scale of battles, which makes it difficult to see carnage without zooming in.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Set within Games Workshop's popular Warhammer 40,000 universe, which includes tabletop games, books, video games, many other tie-ins. Also the third game in popular Dawn of War franchise; will expand with paid DLC.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III is a downloadable real-time strategy game set within Games Workshop's popular Warhammer 40,000 sci-fi fantasy universe. There's no shortage of violence, with players directing armies in large-scale battles using a variety of futuristic weapons. There's plenty of blood and gore in the battles, though the large scale reduces its impact unless players zoom in close on the action. Dawn of War III is not an easy game to pick up and play, and it also presumes a prior familiarity with the Warhammer 40,000 setting and units.

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What's it about?

WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR III is the latest chapter in the epic space-faring war between the human Space Marines, the psionic Eldar, and the bloodthirsty Orks. An ancient Eldar artifact known as the Spear of Khaine is discovered on the mysterious planet Acheron, and its immense power could tip the balance and decide the ultimate victor of the war. With such high stakes, Acheron becomes the staging ground for a brutal race to recover the Spear between the forces of Space Marine commander Gabriel Angelos, the Eldar seer Macha, and the Ork warlord Gorgutz. Dawn of War III's story plays out over a 17-mission single-player campaign and features online multiplayer support for up to six players. Choose your faction, choose your armies, and battle it out in massive-scale epic battles, where no less than the fate of the universe is on the line.

Is it any good?

This real-time strategy game is incredibly deep and challenging, but its learning curve could keep many newcomers at bay. They say that war is hell, and that's rarely more true than in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which has been raging for 30 years now and has set the stage for science-fantasy warfare. In Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III, the epic interstellar war among Space Marines, Eldar, and Orks makes its return to the PC battlefield. Taking the reins of these powerful and diverse armies is no easy task, though. For starters, Dawn of War III takes for granted that players are already somewhat intimately familiar with the inner workings both of the Dawn of War series and Warhammer 40,000 as a whole. If you don't already know the difference between a Farseer and a Blood Raven, the game isn't going to spend a lot of time explaining it to you. It's not only the lore that you're expected to understand but also the various troop types and what they're capable of. Sure, the game breaks down some of the basics of the gameplay over the course of the single-player campaign, but it's still going to take a while for anyone new to the franchise to make heads or tails out of what they're up against and what's at their disposal. That's not to say the game isn't worth climbing its steep learning curve. In fact, if you're willing to tough it out, you'll earn a phenomenal real-time strategy experience.

For starters, Dawn of War III has a superb presentation. For fans of the popular tabletop game, this is as close as they'll get to having the game they love brought to life before their eyes, complete with carnage, explosions, and destruction. It's also a solid test of strategy and resource management. Whether you're trying to do a hard push to secure a map's resources points, charge forward with one of your faction's Elite troops, or play catchup after getting caught in an early ambush, there's a surprising balance to the game. It's rare to ever have a match where one side or the other feels like it's impossible to pull out a victory. And holding true to the game's tabletop roots, you can even customize the look of your army with new paint jobs and color schemes to make sure you stand out on the battlefield. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III is unquestionably a great extension of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, tailor-made for veterans of the tabletop battlefield. Unfortunately, because it is tailor-made for 40K and real-time strategy veterans, newcomers will have to put in a lot of time, patience, and frustration before they feel at home in the elite club the game seems to cater to.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in gaming. What are some of the ways that video games portray large-scale violence? Does it lessen the impact when you see large numbers of nameless characters are fighting on-screen versus a closer one-on-one fight?

  • Talk about conflict. What are some of the reasons and rationales used to justify combat? What are some of the consequences of war?

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