Dawn of War continues its epic conquest with Winter Assault. Fixing most of the unbalances of the original. Winter Assault even brings an additional kick by adding the Imperial Guard (my favorite team). The campaign offers two stories, the Forces of Order and the Campaign of Disorder. The Forces of Order has five missions and that switches between the Eldar and Imperial Guard. Unlike your traditional strategy campaign both the campaigns allow you to manipulate the story. On the fourth mission you can change the campaign by deciding which team makes it too the end. This is similar for the Campaign of Disorder, where you play as the Orcs and Chaos Marines.
The campaign is rather fun and delves into the issue of the fallen Imperator Class Imperial Titan. If you played 40,000k Space Marine you know have seen the Titan before and that it is known as a ultimate weapon. Each team has a different objective, but they all revolve around getting to the same final location. Interestingly, there are four endings there is one “correct” ending which the story picks up and continues with in Dark Crusade (do not read the next secion if you do not want any clues to the games campaign) the Eldar Ending. In the next game "Dark Crusade" the story continues where the Eldar left off, this is not obvious but notable from how the games dynamic is set up in the strategic map campaign.
The new team is the Imperial Guard. If you are unfamiliar with the series they essentially represent, in my opinion, a futuristic style army based around communist Russia. The army is initially based on sheer numbers and they even have units which execute soldiers in order to scare other units and make them hold the line. The game shows the Imperial Guardsmen surrounded by snow, which as we know is a strong environmental factor in Russia. Thus this team to me is like playing as the Russians. Similar to the orcs they fight in numbers, but unlike the orcs the strategies for the Imperial Guard early in the game lies in pairing up squads appropriately with commander units and working with your hero squad. While later the Imperial guard shift and play like other teams by using a few strong unit squads rather than keeping the weaker Imperial Guardsmen.
If you want to play online with friends I would recommend getting Dawn of War: Dark Crusade instead. As Dark Crusade fixes most of the glitches and unbalances of Dawn of War Winter Assault. These are not really game-breaking, but can be noticeable. Plus Dark Crusade offers the benefit of adding two new teams. One of which is featured in the Winter Assault campaign.
If you haven’t played the first Dawn of War then skip the next section:My major gripe about this game is that the story of Gabriel Angelos is not continued. Luckily for all those wondering the story of Gabriel Angelos and the reviving the Daemon of Khorne is covered in Dawn of War II: Retribution.
I loved this game and all the installments so much I repurchased them all on steam. Despite that I still have all the discs, in functional condition, right next to me. Although it looks like there are more Pros than Cons this game is a good game, and definitely a worthy installment to the epic Dawn of War saga.
+More balanced than the first game
+Campaign introduces new elements to the story by allowing you to choose the ending.
+A whole new team (the Imperial Guard)
+Missions are rather interesting and the campaign is not too long.
+Economic, Base building, and macro unit management
+Fantastic story and campaign (which is very rare in a strategy game)
+Amazing teams which each play completely differently.
+Fast paced gameplay which requires expansion to acquire resource nodes (but those nodes do not run out like in most games)
+Unit customization allows you to create squads for specific tasks
+Fantastic computer AI that puts you to your wits
-My game glitched after the third mission of the Campaign of Disorder where I could not load any of my saves (I tried validating the files and it replaced the lost files yet still I could not load any of my saves. Then I tried to reinstall the game, but still to no avail).
-The third mission for the Campaign of Disorder is rather cumbersome as you have to retrieve Imperial Guardsmen from one side of the map to the other. This would be fine if there was something along the way to keep you occupied, but reality is by the time you've got to this step the map is already baron as you killed everything else.
-The game can still not be played with a second monitor. If you have two monitors and you move the cursor to the edge of your monitor that is adjacent to your extended monitor then the cursor leaves the game and causes it to minimize. It’s as if the game is permanently in windowed mode.
-The movement AI can be annoying causing units to spread out rather than clump together. This is fine expect when you want to ambush an enemy and one unit gets too close because it decided to go too far from the rest of the group.