Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: THQ
Played on: Dawn of War 2 Complete Collection

The original Dawn of War was a fun game though a bit low on content, but, once all three expansion packs were installed, the sheer ammount of content coupled with the perfectly balanced gameplay turned into one of my favorite games in the genre.

Now, rather than making yet another expansion (which I'd be perfectly fine with) they decided to launch a full-fledged sequel... which I'm also perfectly fine with.

The story is completely unrelated to the previous Dawn of War games, here, you assume the role of a silent character commanding a different chapter of the Blood Ravens who must battle an invasion from Orks, Eldar and for the first time ever in the series, the Tyranids. I didn't care much for the plot itself, but I definitely enjoyed the character interactions as your squad leaders didn't always see eye to eye with their comrades or other outside forces.

Plot isn't the only aspect where Dawn of War 2 breaks away from the prequel as the gameplay is now radically different, especially in the single player campaign. For starters, there's absolutely no resource collecting or unit production in the campaign mode, they are however available in the multiplayer modes, but even then there's still no base building. instead, when tackling the campaign, you will control a limited number of squads in a gameplay mix of RTS with dungeon crawler. This means each squad acts as a different 'class' as they level up, are assigned stats and equipped with better gear. 

You can assume a total of 6 squadrons though you can only take four with you, this army size limitation forces you to think tactically as you try to complete each objective and I was very surprised at how flexible your teams were. Depending on the gear, teams and stats chosen, I could easily shift between a heavy attack force capable of dealing high damage to most enemy types, or change to a nimble and stealthy approach. Should one of your squads be destroyed you can easily revive its sergeant, though you'll have to capture specific points if you want to recover any other lost soldiers.

I did get to play a bit of the campaign through co-op, but I didn't much care for this mode. I was expecting the second player to bring in squad reinforcements, but instead, all it does is halve the available units for each. Needless to say, if you're not perfectly in tune with your co-op buddy chances are the game just got a lot more difficult.

At first I found the game quite boring, but the campaign really picked up in intensity as you're given sets of story based missions coupled with randomly generated side-missions that need to be completed in a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, there aren't there aren't a lot of maps or objectives to accomplish so repetition does set in quite quickly as you find yourself running through the same locations killing the same enemies over and over.

Over on the multiplayer side of things the game changes to a more somewhat typical RTS style. While there is still no base building, you can capture various points throughout the map that automatically collect resources which can in turn be used to purchase or upgrade units. Despite this gameplay change, you have a population cap of a mere 10 squads per player, and considering there are no modes featuring more than 3 on 3 skirmishes, the battles will always at a small/medium scale. 

Dawn of War 2's most dire issue isn't in the game though. Instead it's in the online services it uses, namely Games For Windows Live which will be shut down in July of 2014 and with it goes any chance of online interaction with other players.

Overall I quite enjoyed Dawn of War 2, though the game is far from perfect. The campaign is fun but it becomes a bit repetitive, you can play it in co-op if you want but I'd really advise against it. The competitive online portions on the other hand are very fun but feel like an entirely different game altogether. Unfortunately as stated before, Games For Windows Live will shut down next year and with it, any chance of online play, so yes, I'm making the decision of including the end of GFWL as a con in the review.

- Fun and enticing tactical gameplay that's easy to learn and hard to master
- Campaign is a nice mix of RTS and Diablo style gameplay
- Competitive Online modes feel entirely different, but are still very fun

- Campaign gets repetitive after a while
- Co-op mode isn't very fun
- When Games for Windows Live shuts down all multiplayer mode will be gone forever

Final Grade: B

Packaging review to come soon

No comments:

Post a Comment