• Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: Sep 20, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 51
  2. Negative: 0 out of 51
Buy On
  1. 90
    Relic Entertainment's latest effort does most of the usual RTS things right -- well-balanced, good-looking, deep multiplayer game, all that -- but what sets it apart is how good it looks and sounds while it's doing them.
  2. The balance of management and action is exceptional, the visuals are up there with the best RTS titles to date, and the action is plentiful - it is hard to ask for much more than that.
  3. AceGamez
    With a wider range of races and perhaps more single-player outings to introduce them, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War could easily have been hailed the definitive RTS.
  4. An immensely entertaining RTS experience. The combat is visceral, massive and fast-paced and the story is worthy of its great license.
  5. It is so well crafted that it transcends my usual blocks, and is arguably the most fun I think I’ve ever had playing this style of game. It’s beautiful, it’s easy to use, difficult to master, and extremely replayable.
  6. Fast, furious and gorgeous to behold... Ultimately, it's the visuals rather than the strategy that will endear Warhammer to the interactive generation, and it isn't stretching things to proclaim Dawn Of War one of the best-looking strategy games we've ever played.
  7. Computer Games Magazine
    A fantastic game full of personality, brains, and drop-dead looks with the backing of a popular license. [Dec 2004, p.80]
  8. In order to prevent standard strategies, multiple victory conditions can be set in a single scenario, so the battles are very fast paced, with each commander trying to get the upper hand for as long as possible.
  9. Computer Gaming World
    A shot of pure-grade real-time strategy adrenaline straight into the veins. [Holiday 2004, p.78]
  10. Stands out by the sheer amount of detail put into each and every unit and action. The opening cut scene is simply stunning in the amount of force and power it portrays and watching the battles is a treat.
  11. It's charm which cements Dawn of War in the affections. In fact, it charms so casually that the contrary parts of the gaming world will just lazily dismiss it as a bimbo. It really isn't. Charm lures us in, but there's enough happening upstairs to keep it firmly in our affections.
  12. Although it has an uninspired campaign, it’s very true to the universe. The same can not be said for the combat system, which deviates from the board game a great deal but results in some remarkably bloody battles. RTS games all too often suffer from micromanagement mania, but Warhammer does away with this.
  13. 80
    It’s a pinch of innovation in a comforting stew of well-worn RTS conventions. And there’s a whole lot of blood. What more do you want?
  14. If you are fan of Warhammer or just RTS games in general then you owe it to yourself to buy and play this game. It might be a long time before you play anything else.
  15. Game Informer
    Awesome on almost every level. To be quite honest, it kicks ass in just about every way a strategy title can...It most likely will be remembered as a historic entry in the RTS genre. [Nov 2004, p.164]
  16. Yet it cannot really match the epic scale of "Homeworld" since the entire campaign revolves around the defense of one planet. Strategy fans will find a great game within the box but may end up putting away the disc after a few months, especially if skirmishes aren’t their taste.
  17. Dawn of War's tremendous unit design and the resulting balance makes for some addictive, tactical gameplay. The limited campaign isn’t very long, and, more importantly, isn’t very interesting, but crushing online foes and battling the computer is a blast.
  18. 90
    Warhammer and other old-school RPG'ers will definitely be drooling all the way through this one, and even strategy gamers who have not been exposed to the Warhammer "universe" previously will get a lot out of this game, simply because of the great storyline.
  19. Everything that Dawn of War does it does exceptionally well. The only real problem is that everything it does has already been done a hundred times before.
  20. 100
    There's no question that Dawn of War will turn even the meekest, mildest players into bloodthirsty battle addicts.
  21. While there will always be that nagging suspicion that more could have been done with the story (seriously, only 11 missions??), there are so many fun little things to explore that it really should be considered a success.
  22. This incredible title has everything a great real-time strategy game should have. The four factions are very distinct in look and play, the game is challenging, and the graphics and the storyline are fantastic.
  23. The attention to detail is amazing and combat animation has been given top priority.
  24. Finally, a Warhammer game worthy of Warhammer... and one of the best strategy games of the year.
  25. Hugely immersive, frenetic, intelligent carnage but it's not a big single-player experience. Warhammer finally has a great videogame... For those who aren't interested in tin soldiers - you'd be nuts to miss the finest sci-fi RTS to hit the PC since "Total Annihilation." [PC Gamer UK]
  26. While we'd be tempted to say that the skirmish and online multiplayer modes are the main attractions in Dawn of War, that's actually not quite the case. Instead, it's the game's four different sides, each brimming with personality and intriguing tactical potential, that steal the show.
  27. 90
    While Dawn of War doesn't break any new ground for the RTS genre, it is, nonetheless, a supremely polished and well-balanced example of it, a credit to both the development team, and a laurel wreath for the license it bears.
  28. For all Warhammer 40,000 fans, you'll find a sumptuous, satisfying look at the age of war, with units that are both familiar and completely faithful, including the impressive Avatar of Khaine. Those of us that are RTS fans will find a game that has some deep gameplay elements, furious action, and absolutely gorgeous art design.
  29. Gamers who enjoy a more action oriented RTS title without a lot to worry about other than fighting and capturing strategic areas will definitely have a great time with it, regardless of having an in depth knowledge of the Warhammer universe prior to picking it up.
  30. Playing over a LAN without the headaches associated with internet play can be a blast, either in head to head, teamplay, or grouping against those vicious computer opponents.
  31. Visually striking and full of atmosphere, it's a fun but altogether shallow experience that you have probably played a hundred times before. But the lack of originality may be compensated by the license for fans.
  32. While the single-player offering is lacking, the well-polished skirmish modes make up for most of that deficiency.
  33. A few minor camera flaws are easily overshadowed by the visceral combat experience that Dawn of War offers.
  34. GMR Magazine
    DOW isn't a perfect translation of the Warhammer game, nor is it a vastly innovative RTS, but it is a good-looking and fun RTS that should entertain any fan of the genre. [Dec 2004, p.130]
  35. The RTS game of the year...If it the single player was a bit longer and the cutscenes had been improved then this would be the perfect RTS but as it is its still damn impressive.
  36. 88
    It isn't that Dawn of War does anything extraordinarily new or brilliant in terms of gameplay mechanics, but the battles are just so damn entertaining and the pace of the game fast enough that it's hard not to have a good time.
  37. I’ve always been more of an action oriented gamer, with little patience for the pacing and resource management of RTS games. However, Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War provides a gaming experience that I enthusiastically endorse.
  38. There’s not much here that’s new, but at least it’s accomplished, and has been put together with style.
  39. Its tight controls, unique economic system, and challenging enemy AI make Dawn of War an RTS experience that will redefine the genre. Plus, there is still so much additional 40,000 back-story that this game didn’t even touch on that the potential for unique and interesting add-ons is simply mind-boggling.
  40. 85
    The best real-time strategy for a long time. If you have been searching for a real-time strategy game your search is over, whether you are a Warhammer 40,000 fan or not.
  41. There's none of the groundbreaking innovations of the "Total War" series or the gloriously strange "Perimeter," just a conventional game made very enjoyable (more so than it perhaps deserves to be) by a brilliant franchise and spectacular animation... Stunning to behold. [Oct 2004, p.88]
  42. PC Gamer
    It'll remind even the most jaded RTS fan how much fun total carnage can be. [Holiday 2004, p.84]
  43. Trying to maneuver a large force of marines and heavy vehicles through the ruin strewn streets of Tartarus can be extremely difficult due to poor path finding by your units.
  44. The game’s resource management, battles and particularly factions are wonderful and provide much depth to the game without ever overdoing it.
  45. A few more campaigns would have been nice to but hopefully this will be remedied in an expansion.
  46. Battles are spectacular, thanks to the detailed animation of units, and provide instant feedback on your progress.
  47. This isn't anything new for players to experience. It's the same old formula in a new package, with a new name and new ways to animate the whole process.
  48. Strikes a near-perfect balance and is likely to appeal both to fans of the genre and those fixated with the source material – perhaps the first time we’ve been able to say that about a videogame adaptation of Warhammer.
  49. 91
    The entertainment of this game was only hindered by the fact that I felt there just weren't enough missions to play through. What Relic did deliver, though, is 13 missions which kept me eagerly coming back for more of a great thing. Kudos!
  50. Simply a great game. The streamlined gameplay stressing combined arms tactics over brute force should and will appeal to any RTS gamer who is looking for something new.
  51. 80
    The attention to detail is rewarding, the incidental battlefield ambience is awesome, and -- geeky bonus -- the game does a magnificent job of translating the gritty feel of the painted-figure tabletop games.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 326 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 326
  1. Jan 18, 2012
    One of the best (if not the best) game I ever played. Got clever design features which make the game really nervous at all stage, whereOne of the best (if not the best) game I ever played. Got clever design features which make the game really nervous at all stage, where numerous RTS you might stay in your base until you have a big army. Best translation of Warhammer ever. Epic animations who make want to watch replays on and on. 9 factions in total with the extensions. Great in multiplayer or in Skirmish vs IA (especially with Dawn of Skirmish Mod). Best RTS game ever. Full Review »
  2. Sep 8, 2010
    If you're a fan of the Warhammer 40k franchise, you'll enjoy this series of games by THQ. Dawn of War brings the tabletop miniatures game toIf you're a fan of the Warhammer 40k franchise, you'll enjoy this series of games by THQ. Dawn of War brings the tabletop miniatures game to life in 3D RTS with explosive action and gore. Full Review »
  3. Aug 16, 2011
    This is an excellent strategy game. The units are varied and fairly well balanced between factions, the maps are enjoyable and action packed,This is an excellent strategy game. The units are varied and fairly well balanced between factions, the maps are enjoyable and action packed, and the campaign is deep and fulfilling (aside from the cliffhanger). All units are customizable which adds a huge level of depth and strategic planning and the placement of strategic points prevents the game from being a defensive stand-off. The AI is challenging and the multiplayer is still active after 7 years which guarantees playability once you have mastered the AI. This is a must play both for strategy fans and table-top Warhammer enthusiasts. Full Review »