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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2 - Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2

By Stuart Andrews
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

Unfortunately, it's also undeniably repetitive. While the odd mission messes with the formula, asking you to defend a resource or hold the city gates, most focus on trolling around the map, capturing the odd control point that will provide you with reinforcements or support options in this or future rounds, beating up the local Ork or Eldar population then homing in on their boss. What strategic variety there is stems from the new units arrayed against you and the new units you gain access to as you work your way through the game, rather than intelligent mission design or the introduction of different types of objective. Frankly, if you want a real test of battlefield tactics then you're better off waiting for the next Total War.

Despite this I have yet to find my interest waning. Partly it's the game's sneaky harnessing of the traditional RPG obsessions of levelling and upgrading, and partly it comes down to the game's superb production values and grasp of the dark Warhammer 40K universe. It's safe to say that Dawn of War II delivers a new visual benchmark for RTS games, using an enhanced version of the Company of Heroes engine to deliver sumptuous locations, destructible structures and a range of dazzling weapon, explosion and atmospheric effects. Close up some character models are a little crude, but seen from a vantage point high above the battlefield it all looks incredible.

The Warhammer 40K atmosphere, meanwhile, is spot on. There's nothing too unpredictable about the story, detailing the struggles of the Blood Raven chapter against Ork, Eldar and Tyranids (think swarming Zerg-like aliens), but the tone, artistic style and language used is always on the mark. As before, it's a delight to see familiar forces like the Eldar dreadnoughts take the field, and there's no shortage of blood, guts and grit to be found. This has always been a compelling universe, but only a handful of games have done it justice. Dawn of War II is one you can add to the list.

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Martin 6

March 2, 2009, 1:29 pm

Spot on review


I like the single Player but like every game that has RPG in the description, the Quests / missions get repetitive and until some one makes a game with 3000 odd completely different quests they always will be.





That said, it is addictive and just keeps the next surprise at the right point to keep your interest peaked





Great Job Relic as I found the last expansion of the previous game just more of the same





Stuart you didn't mention anything of the Windows Live annoying install that has to be done if you want to play it at all never mind multi player.

StuAndrews

March 2, 2009, 3:36 pm

Thanks Martin.





I did actually mean to mention the Games for Windows Live install, as I'm still not 100% happy with Microsoft's PC gaming service and I known it affects a range of people. It also seems a little unnecessary when the game involves an equally mandatory Steam install, leaving you wondering why Microsoft's infrastructure is needed on top of Valve's proven tech.





In general, I don't like moaning on about Games for Windows Live too much as a) some people have no problem with it b) you don't actually have to pay to play online and c) it is getting steadily better. All the same, I had an installation issue with this one (GfWL would connect within its own client but not from the in-game client)and I still give an inward groan every time I see the logo on a box. The system works on the Xbox 360, but I still don't think it's the best solution for a PC game.

TheSecretName

March 6, 2009, 8:36 pm

I remain undecided... you've got to admire Relic's courage: a higher-def DoW classic would have suited me just fine. Alas, Empire Total War arrived today, so I expect to remain undecided for quite some time to come.





Really enjoy TR's games reviews - one of the few that makes it thru the work filters :) Keep up the good work.

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