Dawn of War II Author: cantstraferight -- Posted: 2009-03-03
Dawn of war II is Relics follow up to its amazing 2004 hit RTS, Dawn of War. The original Dawn of War was a RTS game set within Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 universe. It spawned 3 expansion packs and was a big hit for Relic. As someone that played the Warhammer 40,000 table top game from the age of 12 until I was about 17 I can say that Dawn of War was both the most faithful and the best game based on the 40k universe. The original Dawn of War was a pretty standard RTS game with some twists like you build upgradable squads rather than individual units and rather than gather resources you would capture critical locations on the map in order to gain requisition which could be spent on troops.
Dawn of War II feels very much like two games. The multiplayer is similar to the original Dawn of war but with a more in depth cover mechanic and the base building aspect of the game completely has been removed, inseted you have one building that build all your troops and once its gone its game over. The singleplayer on the other hand is a cross between a RPG and a RTS game where you only control up to 4 specialist squads rather than a whole army. The 4 squads gain experience as they kill enemies so thay can level up and you can upgrade their equipment and abilities between missions making the singleplayer much more of a RPG than a RTS.
What I liked
During most of the game you get the choice of multiple missions you can do. some are key to the story of the game, some are defensive mission where you have to defend a building you captured in a previous mission and the rest of the missions are optional. This work out great as if you want (or need) to level up your squads or you want to try out new equipment you always have the chance to play a mission without taking one step closer to the end of the games plot.
Tyranids were the most asked for race in the original dawn of war but unfortunately the original engine couldn't handle them but Relic listened to their fans and put them in, right from the beginning rather than adding them later in an expansion. The Tyranids are a race of giant bugs that consume everything in their path as they move from system to system. they have wiped out thousands of species and not much will stop them once they have started an attack.
---- small fact --- Back when blizzard made Starcraft they actually based the Zerg on the which is why they are so similar.
Two games for the price of one
Because the the singleplayer and multiplayer are so differently it actually feels like your getting two great games for the price of one. Even if you dont want to play online you can still set up skirmishes to get the best out of the multiplayer half of the game.
The cover system has been completely updated and although at first I found it annoying after a few minutes I was using it to my advantage every time I came across enemy units and started coming up with tactics to use against the enemy when they used cover.
Because the single player is much more RPG than RTS the storyline is a lot more detailed than what you would find in your average RTS. Each of your squads leaders had their own detailed back story which is learnt during the loading screens, explains their reactions to the plots twists through out the game and makes them feel more believable.
I had mixed thoughts on
Level of detail
I enjoyed the fact that Relic obviously knew about the 40k universe and its background but people new to the universe might not know what's going on at times plot wise. Its easy to guess what a tech priest, force commander and Space Marine chapter is but things like The Golden Throne, astropaths and librarians (not the book kind) are a little harder.
What I didn't like
Most missions feel "samely"
While there are a lot of missions to play though they mostly come down to about four different types of mission with the end boss or target changed and this does get a little repetitive after a while.
Only four playable races and only one in singleplayer
While four playable races is normally a lot in a RTS game the original Dawn of War with the expansion packs had nine playable races (Chaos Space Marines, Eldar,Imperial Guard, Necrons, Orks, Space Marines, Tau, Dark Eldar and the Sisters of Battle) but Dawn of War II only has the four (Eldar, Orks, Space marines and Tyranids) and out of the four you only play as Space Marines during the single player campaign. While I can understand why this has been done its still a bit of a disappointment.
Overall I felt that Dawn of War II was a great game that both fans of the 40k universe and people that wouldn't touch a table top game if their life depended on it will both enjoy. Whether you want it for the multiplayer or the singleplayer your guaranteed to have fun.