Why does this cover remind me of C&C 3?
Could it be called an expansion or a sequel? Technically neither. It was it's own seperate game, but equaly it has nothing to do with the original Dawn of War game. There is only one reference to the original and that comes in late. Nether the less, Winter Assault is the second DoW game, so let's take a look. (And yes, I am aware it says "Expansion Pack" on the box, I'm just makeing a point)
So Winter Assault takes place at...some point after Dawn of War. For the first time in the DoW you are able to play as more than one race. Either the Imperial Guard (or IG), The Eldar, The Orks or Chaos. Each has their own story to unfold, though they intertwine at points. Playing the Order campaign for instance means you will be following the IG and Eldar while the Disorder follows the Orks and Chaos. The plot is practically the same though, just told from different perspectives. The plot circles around one of the Imperiums greatest weapons: The Titan Dominatus. A massive war mech that once was the pride of the Imperiums fleet, along with the other Titans. During the Horus Heracy (one of the many great conflicts within the Imperium) many of the Titans defected or were destroyed. And, since building just one takes alot of time, men and resources, they were scrapped. Thus, the recovery of the recently found one out in the armpit of space is important. Thus, General Sturrn of the Cadian Regiment is sent to recover it.
Don't forget your stick, GeorgeBefore him he faces the Chaos Legions protecting their conquered works and the full Ork Waaagh. Also keeping a carefull eye on events are the mysterious Eldar, who have their own agenda as always. In detail, the Order campaign begins with General Sturnn landing on the planet and attempting to take a fortress from Chaos to use as a firebase for his assault. The Eldar, while lurking, realise that the IG are about as intelligent as the average bee drone and decide that they have to do everything for them. Thus follows a plot of IG and Eldar on a systematic race to the Titan, all the while trying to work out how best to bump eachother off. Disorder follows the great Warboss Gorgutz (TM) as he sets out to crush and kill everything in his path, thus proving he is the best. Meanwhile, the Chaos lord Crull is annoyed that he's running out of stuff to kill, just in time for the IG and Orks to arrive! Fun times. Gorgutz really just wants the Titan so he can smash it, while Crull wants it to, yes, prove he is the best.
Ladies and Gentlement, the Beatles!
As this is the first game where you can play as the IG you'll quickly learn something, they blow...hard. A single squad of Chaos Space Marines can wipe out a Guardsman squad with realtive eas most times. The properly upgraded Guardsmen can handle it, but be prepared for heavy casualties. I suppose that's why they're so cheap to produce. The other problem with them is that they suck in close combat too, so orks can overrun. That's only the rank and file though, you also have other units at your disposal. The Karaskin, or as I call them "The Uber Guardsmen" can be pretty handy at Take and Hold duty. The beefy dudes with the huge ass bayonetes can handle the Possesed Marines easily and the Imperial tanks can pretty much hammer an enemy into destruction before even haveing to fire a shot from a lazgun. The Eldar are also pretty soft, but make up for it by being freakin' awesome in close combat. Their main tactic is strikeing hard and fast and then running away, use this wisely. Their Howling Banshees can hold their own in close combat for a while, but once one bites it it's time to run. Guardians are another story, ignore them completely. They suck in all aspects, even by IG standards. The other units are pretty much the same deal as eachother, just hit hard and run. Orks and Chaos works similiarly to eachother, they're both designed to hammer you untill you cave in under the combined preassure. Orks have numbers on their side, and it makes them formiddable in force. Chaos can toast an IG army quick unless you have a good number of tanks to bolster them. The only real worthwhile tank the Orks have is their Squigoth, Yeah, that one thing you killed in DoW? They're back.
Winter Assualt also introduces one of the most awesome, funny and scenery eatingist villans ever! Warboss Gorgutz. There isn't a single moment when he isn't chewing some part of the scenery, being it talking with Crull the Chaos Lord or yammering to his Boyz about how awesome he is. His reason to be fighting is simply so he can get more heads for his pointy stick. Something else of note, is that Gorgutz and the Eldar leader Taldeer are the only recurring characters in the series from now up untill DoW2. Sadly, however, Taldeer will be leaveing us next game. It would seem she forgot the Eldar golden rule: Lurk moar.
Winter Assault is, in a few words; pretty damn good. It's worth a play if you liked DoW and a worthwhile entry in the series. Strangely, this is also the last time there will be a story driven narrative untill DoW2. Next game, it follows a sort of Risk type play style in the last GOOD game in the original DoW series: Dark Crusade. (Soulstorm can blow me)
Final Score: 4/5