Humans, aliens, fighting and more

‘Dawn of War- Soulstorm’ gives players an alright game with a lot of potential

Steele Giles, Staff Writer

As much as I’d like to subject you all to the buggery that was “Wings,” I last read the book in high school and don’t remember it well enough to really tell you anything other than, “Faeries are plants, seasons form some kind of caste system, wings are flowers.”


So instead we’ll be going over the bizarrely entertaining garbage that is “Dawn of War – Soulstorm.”


Technically, the final installment of the somewhat venerable “Dawn of War” real-time strategy game series, “Soulstorm” has achieved a sort of cult popularity despite being verifiable garbage on multiple fronts.


Almost exactly like “The Room,” that Tommy Wiseau movie that everybody agrees is utter tripe but should be watched at least once just to appreciate the exact depths of its depravity.


As an entry in the extensive lore of Warhammer 40,000, “Soulstorm” assumes you know roughly what’s going on in the surrounding cosmos. The quick version is that humans and many different flavors of alien all hate each other; everybody spends a lot of time yelling about heresy and shooting each other.


In spite of being the last entry in a series, “Soulstorm’s” continuity is limited to a couple of faction leaders and they don’t even really refer back to prior events.


Compared to its predecessor, “Dark Crusade,” it does include some pretty cool-looking new stuff. Chief among them is the introduction of aircraft to the battlefield (previous games didn’t mess with it) and two more factions.


As part of making it so that the campaign mode (played out on a Risk-style map) wasn’t a giant pile of pain, it expanded the scale from a single continent to four planets and several moons. This keeps the nine-way free-for-all from making it so nothing gets done ever.


That’s about the extent of what the game does well.


Let’s just start with what makes the game so funny to mention on the internet—the voice acting. Okay, specifically the guy voicing Indrick Boreale, the head of the Space Marine forces. Something about Scott McNeil’s voice makes it sound like he’s saying “spess mehreens” in a world where even the growly madmen pronounce it clearly.


He gets a whole speech at the beginning of one of the missions and it turns a dramatic speech into a bizarre comedy routine, which is saying something in a game where a character spends a minute and half ranting and raving about metal boxes (enemy troop transports).


In terms of actual gameplay, the faction balance is, as usual for Dawn of War, a little off.


Each faction has its quirks and specialties, like the space communist basic infantry having an attack range far in excess of their vision radius, or the deathless metal skeleton men somehow have a morale mechanic, or the BDSM space elves which specialize in breaking morale, or the pyromaniac battle nuns, but they generally break even in the end.


The most glaring issue is that air units were just sort of tacked on to the game without considering how they interact with everything else all that well. Planes either destroy maps singlehandedly or struggle to kill worker units without losing half their health bar, all depending on who you play as. It’s kinda frustrating, but it gets hilarious on maps where the designers clearly intended for you to run a gauntlet and you instead bomb everything from safety.


I can’t say that I recommend “Dawn of War – Soulstorm” as a genuinely good game.


I can recommend it as something to play when you’ve already made a couple of bad choices in one night and feel like channeling Napoleon.