Review: Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II

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Review: Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II

Dawn of War II throws RTS convention out the window, and is better off for it. ...Mostly.

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Ah the Pretty Pony Princess chapter, truly one of the most deadly of all space marine chapters. When you hear the happy lilting melodies of their constant singing over the hills of some foreign world, you will have known the sound of fear.

I think I'm going to have to get this game. I'm an uber RTS fan.

I always found "destroying their buildings one settlement at a time" to be the most boring things out of an RTS; most satisfying remain to watch your troops slaughter every single one of theirs, which is why I love DoW 2.

@ Pedro
And the Hello Kitty Chapter is rumored to have been branded as heretics for spreading peace across the universe.

cainx10a:
I always found "destroying their buildings one settlement at a time" to be the most boring things out of an RTS; most satisfying remain to watch your troops slaughter every single one of theirs.

@ Pedro
And the Hello Kitty squad is rumored to have been branded as heretics for spreading peace across the universe.

QFT

Hello Kitty bears the colors of Slaanesh and must be cleansed.

I really think the game should be called an SRPG since that's what it is in singleplayer. Yeah, okay, those are usually turn based but there are exceptions and DoW2 is probably the best SRPG overall.

The lack of Chaos forces is a bit sad but then again not every battle can be fought with every force on the same planet (aren't there frontlines that dictate who can meet anyway?) and the CSMs would probably feel too close to the regular SMs so people would feel like they're getting 3.5 factions instead of 4. Only trouble is that feeling is probably going to be even more extreme if the CSMs are an addon faction that you pay extra money for.

The tone of the SP campaign is also much different from DoW1. It feels more like you're a modern mercenary group (that's it, my Force Commander gets to keep the plasma cannon and demonstrate its ommmmmmminous hummmmmmmmm, too bad you can't dual wield heavy weapons) or something rather than a bunch of religious fanatics that will exterminate anything that shows even the slightest doubt of their deity. I didn't know governors were allowed to tell Space Marines off without getting the Inquisition on their butts and discovering a pile of stolen order relics gets handled with an arrest warrant? Space Marines that worry about dead civilians? Is this supposed to be the same universe where any chink in your fanaticism is a way for chaos to get into your mind and corrupt you?

I wonder how they'll handle expansions, if they'll keep the SRPG system in place and just let you play as other forces...

KDR_11k:
I really think the game should be called an SRPG since that's what it is in singleplayer. Yeah, okay, those are usually turn based but there are exceptions and DoW2 is probably the best SRPG overall.

The lack of Chaos forces is a bit sad but then again not every battle can be fought with every force on the same planet (aren't there frontlines that dictate who can meet anyway?) and the CSMs would probably feel too close to the regular SMs so people would feel like they're getting 3.5 factions instead of 4. Only trouble is that feeling is probably going to be even more extreme if the CSMs are an addon faction that you pay extra money for.

The tone of the SP campaign is also much different from DoW1. It feels more like you're a modern mercenary group (that's it, my Force Commander gets to keep the plasma cannon and demonstrate its ommmmmmminous hummmmmmmmm, too bad you can't dual wield heavy weapons) or something rather than a bunch of religious fanatics that will exterminate anything that shows even the slightest doubt of their deity. I didn't know governors were allowed to tell Space Marines off without getting the Inquisition on their butts and discovering a pile of stolen order relics gets handled with an arrest warrant? Space Marines that worry about dead civilians? Is this supposed to be the same universe where any chink in your fanaticism is a way for chaos to get into your mind and corrupt you?

I wonder how they'll handle expansions, if they'll keep the SRPG system in place and just let you play as other forces...

CSM do not have much in the way of similarities with their Loyalist brethren. Unless you consider Daemons, Nurglings, Plague Marines, Noise Marines, Khorne Bezerkers and Sorcerers to be similar. Relic's problem is in the previous DoWs they pretty much did a cut and paste of the SM which was not even remotely faithful to the CSM.

I had a real problem with main campaign, I mean it was by turns brilliant, and while the plot wasn't especially deep if was was still pretty fun, however, it's finished off by one stupid stupid ending. And to be fair without spoiling it the final mission starts off pretty epic, lots of killing, last stands etc. Then you get to the last boss, which I have no problem spoiling due to it's crappiness. You were maybe expecting some massive Tyranid monstrosity? Some eldritch tentacled horror? Maybe something heroically challenging? Nope.

It's also somewhat of a shame they only had time to do a Space Marines campaign, and although it can last pretty long if you do all the optional side mission, it's still relatively short compared to some other RTS games.

The game has been fairly amusing so far, but I have to admit I'm perplexed by the acting. DoW had the best voice quips for units I have ever heard in any RTS. Yet, for some reason, the actors speaking during the campaigns sucked as much ass as they usually do.

Unfortunately it's even worse in this game...

I was impressed that they managed to pull of bossfights in an RTS though. Bravo. I just wish there was more variety in the campaign. I also found it to be a bit silly that some of the space marines hadn't heard of the Tyranid...

I don't know funk. I know right now my current comp can't handle it but that huge multiplayer change is a heartbreaker for me.

EDIT: To the response below me I only have a single core processor,a 256mb graphics card and 3 gigs of ram with a IDE hard drive.

I'm interested in this game now. I like strategy, but hate the base-building and managing (I find it incredibly tedious, especially like in Generals where it's a pretty much full-time job to manage that: how am I supposed to get a good fight in?). I've been really enjoying Endwar on the console side (as it also does away with bases), but I may pick up this for my PC.

Shame there's no WAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHH campaign. Orks are the bestest.

Less stagnation more WAAAGH!!! is always good.

Tenmar:
I don't know funk. I know right now my current comp can't handle it but that huge multiplayer change is a heartbreaker for me.

Huh? My PC barely runs GTA IV on medium (barely = lower than 25 FPS) and I can enjoy smooth gameplay in DoW 2. At least I could in Beta, as I haven't bought the game yet. I just have to update my CPU...

There is only one thing I have to ask: Why the hell did they invent Blood Ravens? I wish they just simply gone with the existing Chapters. I mean why cant we play as Blood Angels in one game, Ultramarines in the other, and Mortifactors in the expansion? Also why dont they make a story campaign for Tau Empire? [/rant]

RedMenace:
There is only one thing I have to ask: Why the hell did they invent Blood Ravens? I wish they just simply gone with the existing Chapters. [/rant]

That was most likely done so that if need be they can slip from canon without inuring wrath about making changes to said existing chapters.

Slycne:
That was most likely done so that if need be they can slip from canon without inuring wrath about making changes to said existing chapters.

Oh, please, do not look to excuse their laziness (is that a correct sentence structure?). All they need to do to avoid that is to invite over a few guys from GW and torture out of them the precise location of each and every Space Marine chapter along with precise astronomical map of the region and the location of all xenos along with possibility of their incursion on the given territory.

The use of hot iron and pliers has been authorized by the Inquisitorial Department.

Wow, Funk, the multiplayer is way better than you make it out to be. Can you control the avatar of war in the campaign? NO! :P - There is also an Annihilate mode, not just victory point.

RedMenace:

Slycne:
That was most likely done so that if need be they can slip from canon without inuring wrath about making changes to said existing chapters.

Oh, please, do not look to excuse their laziness (is that a correct sentence structure?). All they need to do to avoid that is to invite over a few guys from GW and torture out of them the precise location of each and every Space Marine chapter along with precise astronomical map of the region and the location of all xenos along with possibility of their incursion on the given territory.

The use of hot iron and pliers has been authorized by the Inquisitorial Department.

So...Blood Ravens are not a "new chapter" that is the love child of The Blood Angels and the Raven Guard?

Learn something new every day. Now the blood ravens seem like they awkwardly fit into the game.

ElArabDeMagnifico:
So...Blood Ravens are not a "new chapter" that is the love child of The Blood Angels and the Raven Guard?

Learn something new every day. Now the blood ravens seem like they awkwardly fit into the game.

Wait... what?... who?... but how? ... ... /facepalm (nice joke ElArab)

Well, the Orcs are superbly voiced over. For this sole thing, its worth buying.

Ah yes... the fabled Pretty Pony Princess Chapter. The only one brave enough to announce its presence! Quite a superb tactic, indeed. Whilst your foes mock you, you have silently dispatched a jump squad to decimate them in their most vulnerable moment!

I of the Ultramarines salute your bravery and unique battle strategy. For the Emperor!

Spinwhiz:
I think I'm going to have to get this game. I'm an uber RTS fan.

Well, then you might actually be disappointed, it's as simplified as strategy games go, don't get me wrong, it's an excellent game, but it's not really a strategy game. RTT/RPG would be more correct.

Now... Men of war, that's for real strategy masochists, like me!
Seriously, that game on easy is like any other strategy game on the hardest settings...

*Oh, 100 men and 8 at guns spread across 2 defensive lines, with AT and infantry reinforcements to call upon, and a coastal artillery gun, this will be a breeze*
*700 men and 40 tanks later*
*I better try this one again*

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Wow, Funk, the multiplayer is way better than you make it out to be. Can you control the avatar of war in the campaign? NO! :P - There is also an Annihilate mode, not just victory point.

I'm aware. But it still remains that there's just one structure to Annihilate, which feels both tactically constricting and not as satisfying as rampaging through a base. The multiplayer is okay, but nothing special, and really not up to the level of the singleplayer.

CantFaketheFunk:

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Wow, Funk, the multiplayer is way better than you make it out to be. Can you control the avatar of war in the campaign? NO! :P - There is also an Annihilate mode, not just victory point.

I'm aware. But it still remains that there's just one structure to Annihilate, which feels both tactically constricting and not as satisfying as rampaging through a base. The multiplayer is okay, but nothing special, and really not up to the level of the singleplayer.

Well...to you - har har. I don't miss the base building at all, but I totally understand your viewpoint, running through a base and torching it all down with your army.

Many games seem to not have the ability to build multiple headquarters though, which I do miss.

RedMenace:

ElArabDeMagnifico:
So...Blood Ravens are not a "new chapter" that is the love child of The Blood Angels and the Raven Guard?

Learn something new every day. Now the blood ravens seem like they awkwardly fit into the game.

Wait... what?... who?... but how? ... ... /facepalm (nice joke ElArab)

Funny enough, I heard that was their original story for making them, but then they realized it made no damn sense, so they just said "They know nothing of their primarch".

lets see how GW works them in.

*sigh* if only i could get this to work on my laptop. damn igfx drivers.

never been a big fan of warhammer...

Ive played all the other Warhammer RTS's, i played the DOW2 demo, and im very dissapointed with it, the old formula of the first games was perfect, they streamlined this one so much that it feels rather lacking in what makes a RTS an RTS. A friend of mine bought it and returned it the same day, it is NOT worth it IMO.

DoW 2 is quite different than its predecesor. Relic probably wanted to innovate, you know. It will certainly dissapoint those that expected "more of the same". The singleplayer campaign is very different but is very enjoyable too (without counting the repetitive "Go kill this" missions). I found the multiplayer to be...unfinished. It feels like they wanted to put the old base system in it, but didnīt have time and had to rush it, with some unfulfilling results.

Hooray for the return of Mr. Funk and his sexy voice. Great review, great supplement.

I actually might buy this one if I ever come across a copy for a good deal. I appreciate the different style since I suck at traditional RTS games. I'd probably still be pretty awful at the multiplayer, so I'd stick to the single player campaign. Also, I have barely any background with the IP, hence why this would definitely be a "bargain only" purchase for me.

I've only done the campaign so far but it's pretty addictive I must say and I've been into RTS's for almost 15 years now

the biggest things I miss from Dawn of War 1 are the Chaos Space Marines and the giant characters you could make (Avatar anyone?)

Still, Dawn of War II tried something radically different in an RTS title and it ended up pretty good so I say kudos to the creators!

Hm, I took part in the Beta but I wasn't too happy with it. That was Multiplayer only, though. That cross of RTS and RPG or rather RTT ('cause it seems more tactical than strategic), plus the total omission of the boring one-building-base (if I understood that correctly) in Singleplayer sounds more to my liking, though.
I doubt I'd like the Multiplayer at this stage, but do you guys think the game would be worth buying for the Singleplayer campaign alone?
You only get to play Space Marines, alright, but is the campaign long enough to make up for this?

I can't really say I like DOWII better than the others... mainly because I actually like the RTS aspects of games and only having to control one building to form your army just seems boring. I'm not a big multiplayer fan, mainly because of all of the... well, you know the kind of people I'm talking about. The fact youre stuck with only four squads in the campaign kind of sucks, but I guess it makes it slightly more difficult... slightly. I just miss the banter between two races commanders as one invades the others HQ and has to overcome twice as many enemies as you yourself are able to train... Plus the fact that the series went from four races to nine, then whittled back down to a meager four. All in all, I'll beat the campaign because I've already started it and go back to playing Soulstorm or Dark Crusade until I find another fun challenging RTS. I'd give it a 5 out of 10.

The base doesn't act much different from CoH except there are no tech tree branches and you don't have to plot your constructions so that you don't run out of space for buildings. You can just hit F1 to select the base, hit the tech up button and you get tech (it even lets you queue stuff from that higher tech immediately instead of having you come back later). I find the numbers on the GUI a bit hard to read though (especially the unit hotkeys in the right bar and the offmap ability resource). The pop cap is a bit hard to keep track of since the number is now 100 but it still amounts to at most 10 units (most take up 12+ pop), the older, lower numbers made it easier to consider what you can fit into your limit and it just sucks when you find out that you don't have enough room for an AT squad when the enemy is bringing walkers.

I guess this base approach will make more factions easier to implement though they will be harder to make different with no way to have different teching (think about the Necron E-only econ or the Tau path choice). Well, unless that system gets overhauled in the next addon like they did with stealth in DC.

Seems to me that the lack of a true tech tree will limit the ability for true differentiation between the races.
Not that it matters. I loved Dawn of War, but enjoy making bases. That part of the RTS is the most interesting to me, and as such DoW2 was very unsatisfying.

And of course, the choice to only let you play Space Marines in the campaign is still a bad idea. It gets old very fast.

Ok </rant>
Basical get your friend and co op this is where the game becomes a ton more fun =P. It's a great game it's a pretty unique concept but you cant compare it to DoW they are just too different. Most of the bosses are bugged the bosses will not go past a certain point so you can just basically range them to death. The campain (on captain difficulty) will take you about 24 hours on co-op or less depending on speed of your computer disconnects ect ect (we had many). My one real complaint is the fact that you have to sign up for Steam (not all that bad) the you have to play though windows live for co op and multiplayer (excepting lan).

Thats my rant feel free to scroll past by

hmm there seems to be a lot of hate for this game, alot of it seeming to come from the fact that DOW2 isn't like DOW1 + 3 expansions. The complaint seems to be that this is a different gamestyle??? Though i havn't played DOW2 yet it seems to be that it has an awesome potential and style and other it would just be another genric RTS (with more WAAAAGGHH of course). I personally applaud Relic they have made DOW2 out of what made DOW1 special.

To the people who protest about the number of races: I'm fairly certain that Relic will be releasing expansions with all your favourite races, and you can't expect DOW2 to have 9 races straight off the back and still have the quality it has.
Similarly I think that trading CSM for Tyranids is a pretty fair trade don't you :D (especially since many people cryed out for them in DOW1 )

See, here's the thing for me. I played Dawn of War, and I played the hell out of it. I played the Dawn of War II Beta and played the hell out of it- and I really enjoyed Dawn of War II more.

To me, this is what a Strategy game on a military scale should be- matching wits with another commander on a battlefield. Taking points, holding points, co-ordinating troops and setting up fields of fire. Fire and maneuver actually matters in Dawn of War II, as do heavy weapons and suppressing fire. It's fantastic, really, and I love it. I just need to buy the game now.

And, as for the Space Marines showing grief over dead civilians, let me just say this: they're still human. First and foremost, Space Marines are the defenders of the Imperium of Man and Humanity as a whole. Each chapter of Space Marines also varies, as their order and belief varies from chapter to chapter. It goes beyond battle doctrine.

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