amazing what impact Command & Conquer and Starcraft have had on the
gaming world that has not only spawned a variety of real-time
strategy games set in popular universes but has also given the
gaming world one of the best genres. With that said, the popular
Warhammer 40,000 series has once again visited the PC with Relic’s
later blockbuster real-time strategy entitled Dawn of War II which
revitalizes the genre by removing base building and adding in a
healthy amount of RPG. A strange move? Actually, it works quite
Brutal Frontline Action & Tactics – Get straight into the action and
experience intense melee & devastating ranged combat. Use vicious
melee sync-kills to obliterate your enemies. Outsmart your opponents
– using dynamic and destructible environments to suppress, flank and
destroy your foes.
Non-Linear Single Player Campaign – Command an elite strike force,
choosing from a variety of playable races and play through that
race’s unique storyline, developing the skills and abilities of your
squads and commander as you progress through the game.
Co-Op Multiplayer – Play through the entire single player campaign
co-operatively with a friend, at any point in the game, anytime.
Next Generation RTS Engine – Utilising Relic’s proprietary Essence
Engine 2.0 to deliver cinematic visuals, detailed graphics & special
Developers Relic give gamers two strong modes of play which include an
in-depth campaign mode and an even more entertaining skirmish mode that
allows for solo and multiplayer. The best part of the campaign mode
is that in Dawn of War II, gamers can now play these levels in a
co-operative mode which does make for some classic yet
challenging gameplay. When you begin the campaign mode, you commence
as the Space Marines that is quite story driven and is a great
interpretation of the Warhammer 40,000 universe as you fight against
the Eldar, Orks and the nefarious Tyranids.
base of operations is your starship where you six squads will rest
until they are needed for the mission. The only downside to the game
is that you can only select four squads to accompany you on the
missions, however the upgrade system of the game more than makes up
for this feature. The upgrades are
done through wargears which can be found after defeating your
enemies or through the completion of your missions which gives you
access to some great weapons and amour upgrades.
squad is also awarded experience points which of course makes them
more powerful as they progress through the game and once you have
reached level 20, that is the highest level that they can achieve.
It's still an enjoyable ride from level 1 to 20. Through the skill tree
in the game, as you progress, new skills also become
unlocked to give you some great RPG-esq gaming.
Although the control system of the game is reminiscent of those
classic RTS games, Dawn of War II, the biggest change to the genre
is the ability “level” your squad, however the traditional battle
system of the genre still remains. Add in elements of a cover system
and even destructible environments and Dawn of War II truly
supersedes its predecessor.
As the “resource” system has almost been
eliminated from this current installment, the game is more focused on
story and how you will “win” your next upcoming battle which can be
completed a variety of ways. Your base of operations as mentioned
before is your starship and this where you can select your missions
and see how well you are faring from panoptical view.
Although the single-player campaign is rather short, where the game
does shine is through the multiplayer aspect that allows you to play
all the races. The races are quite equal in terms of power, however
the humans still have a slight edge, although nothing is more
satisfying than unleashed the Tyranids through their hordes.
Multiplayer also includes heroes and the upgrade system to your
squads which makes for some adrenaline pumping gameplay as you
attempt to capture resource points.
Graphically, Dawn of War II is a visual treat that looks phenomenal
with highly detailed environments that actually make you feel like
you are part of this wondrous universe. Match that with some great
voice acting and some impressive sound effects that sound quite
majestic through our surround sound setup and this is one
professionally made game. The only downside to this game is that it
does require a rather powerful computer to see it in all its glory.
It should also be mentioned that this game uses the dreadful STEAM
system to install so an internet connection is a must.
conclusion, this is not your father’s real-time strategy but
provides an interesting twist to the genre without the complexities
of micromanagement. Relic seem to have “switched” the resource
management to unit management that actually does work, especially in
terms of the RPG aspects of the game. Although the campaign mode is
short, the multiplayer mode will allow you to play again and again
as you challenge others from around the world. This is definitely
one of the great Warhammer games available.