I'm a huge fan of DoW, and in no small part against having two new races to play until Relic gives us the sequel. Unlike lots, I didn't scream and cry that the Tyranids aren't in Soulstorm, and I'm perfectly happy with DE and Sisters.
The gameplay itself is still superb, the type of RTS you'd expect from Relic by now. Aside from a bit more slowdown in the actual gameplay than in previous DoW titles, it's everything that DC was, plus the two new races.
What's disappointing is that this was clearly a rushed job. There are huge issues with the game engine itself, resulting in massively absurd load times and unexplainable slowdown. I consider myself more patient than most, willing to wait 20ish seconds for something that should really only take two to three. Unfortunately, twenty seconds would be a blessing as far as Soulstorm is concerned.
On a system that loads a Dark Crusade map in just over five seconds, and runs the largest DC maps on maxed settings with no apparent slowdown or freezing, the wait is over a minute for your average Soulstorm map to load. Medium sized maps produce the random jerky motion when more than eight or ten squads are fielded at the same time. Fourty-five seconds is the wait which I counted while twiddling my thumbs after clicking on the "Campaign" button from the main menu before the DC-style Campaign interface began to load.
The most irritating thing about this all is that there are so many re-used aspects of the game. From interfaces, to sounds, and textures (expect to see and hear high imperial guard influence in SoB), you can tell that the engine is beginning to meet it's limits. That's fine too, but the game itself shouldn't suffer the way it does right now. The campaign interface is just a slightly retextured version of DC's, which loaded in the blink of an eye, so why does the Soulstorm one take nearly a minute? I wasn't expecting anything ground-breakingly new this late into the DoW series, but it just doesn't justify the load times.
It's really too bad that the game is in it's current condition. It's nothing a patch or two won't fix, but for now I may just put the game down until a patch is released to speed up this clunky engine.