Soulstorm continues the franchise in the Warhammer 40000 universe, and is the third expansion pack after following Winter Assault and Dark Crusade. The turn-based strategic map from Dark Crusade makes another appearance, this time round, there are four planets and a couple of moons to take over. Once again, this fast paced franchise has an important value add for veterans—the addition of two playable races and the inclusion of new air combat units. A warp storm erupts next to the Imperial Guard occupied planet of Kuarav, and kicks off an insurgency from the rogue Orks in the area. Also disturbed from their blissful slumber are the undead Necrons, who rise from their ancient tombs with a vengeance. This storm also forces a landing from a legion of Chaos Marines, who quickly join the fray, sensing more slaughter and glory for their dark lord. The presence of Chaos summons their mortal enemies the mighty Space Marines. The awakened Necrons in turn attract the Tau forces. Using their respective webways the Eldar and Dark Eldar forces (non allied factions) slip in. The presence of the evil elf like Dark Eldar spurs a visit from the Sisters of Battle, who sense the taint of perversion.
Phew!-That’s quite a mix…
The planet system you'll fight to conqure
The Sister of Battle whips imperial butt
A flame turret in action
A dreadnought hooks & cooks a Slugga Boy
Assault terminators can be deadly
The Dark Eldar and the Sisters of Battle join Warhammer’s (now) substantial list of races—the Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Orks, Chaos, Eldar, Tau and Necrons. The Dark Eldar are a twisted, demonic version of the evil battling Eldar, and bring dark magic to the battlefield much like the forces of Chaos. They’re a balanced, highly mobile race, with a very good set of vehicles including a number of flying vehicles. They also have a third resource called Soul Essence, which is the most difficult to gather—you’ll need to harvest tortured souls for this purpose. When you have sufficient Soul Essence you can fire off special abilities like Piercing Vision, Corrosion or Soulstorm (no spoilers, sorry). The other new race—the Sisters of Battle blend elite combat capabilities with strong religious elements—zealous warriors. Although their units and heroes are alike, one can’t help comparing them to their male counterparts the Space Marines—there are many functional (not visual) similarities especially with their basic infantry and siege units.
With nine civilisations in the mix, and a number of planets consisting of areas that grant special benefits Soulstorm is suitably epic. The addition of air units to each civilisation makes for an interesting element of strategy. The entire element of war gear upgrades for your commander from Dark Crusade also makes its way into Soulstorm, and adds a near-RPG-ish depth.
Soulstorm is definitely is game you can spend a whole lot of time with, courtesy its immense replayability. Graphically it’s the same as its predecessors, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but a little sprucing up may be in order if there is yet another expansion pack. A good rounded game this, and unless you hate the genre, don’t miss it.