Dawn of War 3 is a pretty obvious callback to the original Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, the game that first interpreted the grim darkness of the far future through real-time strategy. It features the requisite base and unit building and resource collecting you’d expect from a real-time strategy game, but it’s still not quite the pure, old-school expression of that formula you might expect.
Dawn of War 2’s extremely ambitious (though somewhat flawed) campaign was sort of like a multi-character Diablo with loot and branching missions. That plan is gone altogether in the latest iteration. In its place is the linear story of Acheron, the Wandering Planet, and the three factions Warhammer 40K faithful should probably expect at this point.
The Space Marines—specifically the Blood Ravens sect from previous Dawn of War games—contend with the Eldar (space elves) and Orks (space orcs) across Acheron over access to a powerful artifact. If you’ve ever read, watched, or played a Warhammer story before, you can probably guess how that goes. We find out the godlike weapon is more than it seems, temporary alliances are formed, people get betrayed, and war… dawns.
What is slightly different about Dawn of War 3‘s plot is that you don’t just play the Space Marines. The campaign alternates, level to level, between the three central species. They’re even represented by returning faces from past games, like Farseer Macha and Gorgutz ‘Ead ‘Unter. If you’ve been dying to know what Macha has been up to in the 13 years since the first Dawn of War, this is your chance.