Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

Along with its three expansion packs, the first Dawn of War was a great RTS title that gave players the ability to play almost all of the major races in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. But the game has gotten a little stale, especially when compared to the developer's follow-up effort, Company of Heroes, a title that I reviewed a while back and absolutely loved. I wasn't sure if Relic could top the World War II themed classic but Dawn of War II manages the impossible: the continuation of the Space Marines' saga usurps Company of Heroes and claims the RTS throne.

THE VERDICT by Tae K. Kim Tae K. Kim's Avatar It was on Andrew's recommendation that I tried out the original Dawn of War and became instantly hooked. It was a far faster and more brutal strain of RTS goodness than say, Starcraft or Red Alert. From the sound of it, Dawn of War II is shaping up to be yet another must buy. The ultimate question is whether or not the game will give Starcraft II devs Blizzard something to worry about.

Welcome back to the Blood Ravens, Commander

Like the original, the single-player in Dawn of War II focuses on space marines of the Blood Ravens, one of the most respected chapters within the Imperium of Man. The campaign takes place in sub-sector Aurelia which is comprised of the three worlds where the Blood Ravens gather their recruits -- obviously this makes the area a critical stronghold. As the campaign starts you assume the mantel of a newly promoted commander who is tasked with repelling the Orks; of course, the more you investigate, the more you realize that there is a much more serious threat behind the attacks. Involved are the mysterious Eldar as well as the Tyranid Hive Fleet, a ravenous alien race that poses a threat to Aurelia.

Much like the last two expansions for the original -- Dark Crusade and Soulstorm -- DoW II's campaign strays away from the standard RTS formula and includes a meta-campaign that focuses on story missions and side missions where you defend critical installations, gain valuable new war gear, and reduce Tyranid infestation levels on each of the three planets.

We must recover the chapter relics!

Though it does share some similarities with the original, Relic has largely gone back to the drawing board for DoW II. They've done away with what many might consider some of the core tenants of the RTS genre, placing a much larger emphasis on the evolution of a core force. Gone are the standard base building and unit creation concepts, replaced by four squads of Space Marines, each of which have unique skill sets and leaders which gain experience as the campaign progresses. There's an RPG-lite system where you units accumulates experience for the kills they amass; they will periodically level up, increasing their attributes and unlocking new special abilities. They can also acquire special accessories such as melta-bombs and drop pods that they can use in combat.

There is a tremendous amount of variety when it comes to the make-up of your squad and it allows you to tailor your forces accordingly. You can, for instance, outfit your commander as a strong ranged fighter or turn him into a durable tank unit for close-quarters combat. You won't be able to fully max out your squads over course of the campaign which automatically gives the game a tangible sense of replayability.

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Octagon

Worth noting that this game needs pixel shader 3 enabled vid cards to run, my Radeon 9800 said nothx.

Archvile609

RosyPalms wrote:

I've never played the first one. Is it good?

OMG yeah it's good!!! The only complaint I had with DOW2 is that they took away base building while not really a big deal but they made it so you can focus more on troops and combat than worrying about your base. Still the multiplayer in this game rocks!!!!

ViciousSid

Nice. I LOVED the first one, gotta check this out. If only I had a gaming PC at home... :)

pytliks

Played the multiplayer demo and compared it to StarCraft II's blizzcon build and both are fantastic RTS's that play nothing alike. DoW II is small squad based but still fast paced and you have to think on your feet and click fast to win. StarCraft II has larger armies but is also fast paced. Both are must owns for RTS fans.

If you haven't read my comparison of the two at omgStarCraft.com click here.

wutisupmon

chyusss. Cannot wait for this.

and as mentioned above, SC2 and DoW2 are different varieties. Both are utterly amazing, so it really just depends on your preference.

Hell, I'll get both.

St_Havok

... I would LOVE this game... but my PC isn't that great, and this has really good graphics for an RTS (or a game period) Should I get it, or hoard my money till I can afford a gaming PC?

xniax1

if you're not sure your computer can run it or your not sure you would like it. go download it, with as many seeders as there are right now you can download the game within a few hours. torrentz.com and do a search for Dawn of War 2

CSL

Hey St_Havok. I did the review for this and can say that it is very forgiving when it comes to system specs. My rig not all that advanced in the scheme of things and the game worked great for me outside the most intense fights when it slowed down a bit. If you can play Company of Heroes than you shouldn't generally have a problem. Though you may want to wait for a demo if you are concerned. Besides that you could ask on the Relic forums to see if your specs can handle the game.

Besides that xniax1 we don't condone piracy here. Anyone can rather easily ask over the Relic forums or get the minimum specs for the game to determine if the game will run for them without resorting to piracy.

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