Soulstorm is a game (well, technically an expansion pack, but it is stand alone so…) with a story behind it. Not a very long story, but a story nonetheless. This is how it goes.
Once upon a time there was a man named Brian. Brian was a games developer and had worked on some of the best games ever made, but he was most notable for co-creating the Age of Empire series. Brian eventually decided he wanted to set up his own games company though, so he got a few of his friends together and they set out on a great adventure.
The adventure lasted eight years – during which Brian and his friends (who called themselves Iron Lore Entertainment) made a game called Titan Quest and an expansion pack for it.
Unfortunately, Titan Quest was greeted with only middling reception and the company struggled to keep raising cash. As part of their swan song before they inevitably bowed out of the development race, Iron Lore developed and released Soulstorm – an expansion pack for the Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War RTS release a year or two previously.
So, Soulstorm is the final game to come out of Iron Lore Entertainment and as such will cement what reputation, if any, it leaves behind with its fans and gamers. Here’s what we think of it…
Whirlwind of Heaven
So, Soulstorm is an expansion pack to the original Dawn of War, yes – but it is also a standalone game and doesn’t need the original to run whatsoever. There’s a self-contained campaign here for anybody who is interested, as well as skirmish modes and all the modern conveniences provided by the army painter.
There’s also an active game management system that lets you switch between other games and expansions dynamically. Fancy scaling back to the old Dark Crusade expansion? Not a problem, as Soulstorm easily detects the previous packs and lets you switch to them from the main menu.
What this means then is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a thoroughbred Warhammer 40K fanboy like some of the other bit-tech staff, a person like me who dabbled in the game as a child but has since left it behind, or a complete newcomer to the game. Soulstorm is a perfect foundation to build your obsession on.
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Assuming you are one of those who is completely uninitiated in the Warhammer 40K universe, allow us to provide us the basics in regards to Dawn of War.
In the Warhammer 40k universe, the entire universe is pitted against itself in an eternal war which sees the main races of the Eldar, Imperium, Orks and so on fighting against each other. The Humans are united as the Imperium, under the leadership of the God-Emperor of Earth.
With that in mind, single campaigns aren’t really important. Dawn of War for example was set around the planet of Tartarus, while Soulstorm involves a larger number of species and pits them against each other in the Kaurava system.
There’s little actual story or narrative involved in the battle though – the war covers the entire universe remember – so all the solar system does is provide a slightly different range of terrains and backgrounds.