The Last Standalone

Welcome back. We’re covering a piece of a game today. In my defense, it’s one that is so much fun it was later released as a standalone, hence the title. And, I can attest to the fun it provides, as I’ve been playing it when I should have been checking out the dozens of games in my backlog <.<;

Last Stand 2.jpg

Observe. 3 kits, 3 playstyles, all on the same hero. And none of them are wrong.

Last Stand is a game mode from the Dawn of War series, and the most recent title, Retribution, was released in 2011. You can access it from the DoW games themselves or just buy the Last Standalone if you’re not interested in the base game. In it, you play as one of a number of hero characters from the different Warhammer 40k factions. You and two comrades get to fight through 20 waves of enemies in one of two arenas. Odds are you won’t make it past the first few on the first try, but every attempt contributes to experience points. Every time your hero levels up, they’ll have new gear available for new strategies. There’s a surprising number of ways to play each hero, depending on what gear you’ve brought. It is entirely doable to, for example, play the Glass Cannon Chaos Sorcerer as an explosive tank. And yes, it is exactly as fun as it sounds.  There’s also challenges for each hero to unlock even more equipment, as well as DLC bundles for even more even more.

Last Stand 1.jpg

Who sucks at melee now?!

Admittedly, there’s not much more to it than that. But the sheer number of possibilities means there’s a ridiculous amount of replay value in trying different builds and different strategies alongside different teammates employing their own variations. As with any game that grants customization, there are some cookie cutter designs making the rounds, but it’s not to the extent that I’ve seen in other games if only because the co-op nature of the game mode takes a bunch of the pressure off. It’s surprising how many viable builds there are. Pretty much every combination that doesn’t intentionally take conflicting items can be used to accomplish some measure of success.

Last Stand 3.jpg

High stats are fun, but using your abilities to dominate the battlefield is much more so.

There’s a bunch of little complaints I have, like how annoying the doppelganger wave is, or how some of the equipment unlocking achievements are nearly impossible without help from the other players, or how the hovering Tau support drones somehow plow through heavy cover so no one can use it, but then I just look back to the time I’ve spent on this game and remember that I’ve continued to play this for about 50 hours even after discovering all the stuff that could have been done better. It’s a flawed game, but it’s a bunch of fun, and that’s the point, right?

In spite of all my complaints, Last Stand is still a bunch of fun to play. The Last Standalone is only $10, but if you’re interested in the campaign and PvP multiplayer I completely glossed over, buying Retribution proper will run you $30 instead. The Last Standalone and Dawn of War II: Retribution are available on Steam.

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