Lost amongst the ruins of a levelled city lies an Emperor Class Titan, a war vessel of untold power forged in the planet-wide furnaces of Mars, and revered by billions as the epitome of Imperial dominance. The one who controls it will command the power to destroy, or defend, an entire world. The Imperials will summon it to overcome great evil, as opposed to a band called Chaos who will corrupt it for their own designs. The Orks will destroy it in their bloodlust and the Eldar will disregard it in their arrogance.
All of this will sound familiar to Warhammer fans and this new expansion pack, Winter Assault adds new units, mission scenarios and maps to the original strategy title, Dawn of War. The most obvious addition to the game is the all-new playable faction, the Imperial Guard. The expansion is a product of nearly a year of player feedback and Relic has taken great care to listen to player comments and incorporate them into the new game. To that end, the new faction doesn’t specialise in heavy melee like the Ork race, or in highly versatile units and tactics like the Space Marines. Instead, the Imperial Guard, also known as “the Hammer of the Emperor,” focuses on attacking in numbers. What makes the Imperial Guard stand out from the rest is their focus on defensive tactics. In early head-to-head battles, these guys would be dead meat but in order to compensate, you can hide the soldiers inside buildings and have them fire at enemies from within. Also, every guard structure is automatically connected through a series of hidden underground tunnels. The offensive advantage of this ability becomes clear when you consider what would happen if you built a structure near an enemy encampment and sent an invisible underground armada to wipe them out for good. As you can assume with the name, Winter Assault, the map designs head in a chilly, arctic direction. In addition to snow covered maps, fans will also find fair weather urban battle fields and lightning-filled rain storms.
The “good versus evil” dynamic is split up into two different Order and Disorder campaigns with each of the four races having their own distinct ending to the game. New leader classes in Winter Assault will do a lot to spice up your squads. Assigning a Priest to a certain squad, for example, will boost their melee attack skills. The Commissar increases troop morale through a variety of questionable ways. One particularly gruesome method is the execute command, where he will kill a soldier in front of the rest of the squad to force extreme co-operation. Winter Assault looks to satisfy the Dawn of War faithful with its expanded campaigns and promised improved AI tactics. Those who missed out on the original can pick-up the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Double Pack which includes both the original and the Winter Assault expansion for a very respectable price-tag.