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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2 review



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


Our Score:


Platform: PC

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2 is a game in danger of being crushed under sheer weight of expectation. Were it just the sequel to Dawn of War it would be bad enough; the original might not have been the biggest or necessarily the best strategy game of the last five years, but it attracted a following that latched onto the game and its three expansion packs with an enthusiasm bordering on mania. However, Dawn of War 2 also arrives as the first strategy game Relic Entertainment has produced since Company of Heroes - arguably the most revolutionary RTS of the last decade. The result of all this is that you have some people who simply want a bigger, better Dawn of War clothed in the Company of Heroes engine, some who want a Company of Heroes in Space Marine battle armour, and some who merely demand a new solid-gold benchmark for the RTS genre. On all counts, Dawn of War 2 could be described as a failure.

Rather than rebuild Dawn of War or try to reinvent the sci-fi RTS, Relic has taken a similar approach to the one Blizzard took with Warcraft III, stripping the game of many of the elements of a classic RTS, focusing on a smaller number of units, and adding RPG elements to make those units more interesting. There is no base building or unit production in the single player game, nor any resource management or technology tree to worry about. Instead, you have a commander and a maximum of three two to four man units, each led by a hero unit who effectively anchors the rest of his men to your command. Ordinary troops can be respawned on the battlefield once you grab specific capture points, but your heroes need to be looked after and persist from mission to mission. In this game, every man really seems to count, and you'll find yourself guarding your troops with a caution you'd rarely exercise in, say, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3.

The reasons why don't entirely come down to the scarcity of reinforcements. Dawn of War II actually goes further than Warcraft III did, throwing in a proper experience system, complete with levels, points you can use to boost attributes and 'traits' you can unlock and use, often to provide new or improved abilities on the battlefield. Better still, destroying particular enemy units can, in true RPG style, result in loot being dropped, while completing missions will often mean similar rewards. The weapons and armour so gained can be redistributed to your hero units between missions, so you're effectively levelling and upgrading a party just as you might in a Baldur's Gate style RPG.

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.


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.


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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