PC Review: Warhammer 40,000 – Dawn of War II

Can Relic make a good enough follow-up to the original DoW?

It’s the 41st Millennium in the Sub-Sector Aurelia – a cluster of worlds on the edge of the Galaxy – where a battle of epic proportions is about to commence. Ancient races will clash across the planets that dot this section of space, battling for the greatest of stakes – not only the claim to the land and its bounty – but the fate of each race.
With a focus on fast-action RTS gameplay, Dawn of War II brings to life the science fiction universe of Warhammer 40,000 like never before. Experience the intimate brutality of battle as you play through your chosen race’s epic campaign. Clash with enemies on battlefields ablaze with visceral melee and ranged combat. In Dawn of War II you will lead and develop your squads from raw recruits into the most battle hardened veterans in the Galaxy.

I have previously played the first Dawn of War when I got my copy of Company of Heroes since it was bundled together. It was a good game, but it essentially played the same as CoH. Can the sequel improve upon the first game and can it compete with the other RTS games out there?

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the Warhammer 40k license, but I do enjoy the DoW games so far. The sequel keeps things similar, but adds new things like boss battles and levelling up your main fighters. You can also play the campaign via online co-op, not to mention my favourite thing in a PC game…Achievements courtesy of Games for Windows. The installation for the game will take a while as Steam updates the game (which took me a few hours) but after that, it was fine. You just need to have a bit of patience…
The campaign itself is great, although I found it far too easy. I just kept moving my soldiers into buildings to attack the ground troops, while getting special soldiers to throw grenades at buildings with enemies in to empty it. As with the first game, you can move your soldiers to cover behind most objects for attacks. But you can also sneak with a special fighter, as well as gain more abilities as you level up. There are times where I do think that Relic has bitten off more than it can chew, but it’s a rare passing thought.

You probably won’t care that much about the story, the campaign missions usually follow the same pattern of capturing points on the map, killing enemies along the way and then taking on a boss. The boss fights are fairly simple and shouldn’t prove much of a challenge unless you are tackling it on a harder difficulty. I never really struggled with them, probably because my fighters were of a pretty high level thanks to the fighting along the way.

Combat is more fast-paced than in most RTS games, which in my eyes is a good thing. You also don’t get that many soldiers to fight with either, a few groups at most. You don’t do any base building or anything like that; you don’t even have to search for resources other than new weapons or ammo like grenades. It’s all fairly simplistic which works in the game’s favour, it’s great that special abilities and wargear can turn the tide of battle, it really opens it up and even will impress RPG fans.
Multiplayer battles are basic, but good fun. It doesn’t offer much new to the genre, but it does a fair job in pleasing fans and newcomers alike. There are also a total of 4 unique races to command in multiplayer, each of which is pretty cool in their own way. I personally enjoyed playing as the Tyranids and Space Marines. The Campaign is of a good length, but maybe could have been a bit longer. Having said that, I’m sure it lives upto most people’s expectations. I know it lives upto mine…

The visuals for Dawn of War II are impressive and there is little slowdown in framerate and performance, although that ultimately depends on your own settings and hardware. My hardware and settings trounces the recommended requirements, so it runs like a dream for the most part. The music fits the feel of the game quite well, but the voice-acting is fairly average, as is the script.

The Verdict

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II improves upon the original with a great campaign, impressive visuals and new features that make it a must-have for RTS fans. It may not set the genre on fire, but it does a good job overall.


1 Comment

  1. I still think Warhammer is way better then WoW but the numbers do not seem to show it. I wonder if it is because Warhammer does not seem to be advertised as much as Warcraft.

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