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Dawn of War II Review

A very well made and rather unique RTS with fantastic competitive multiplayer which makes up for a forgettable and repetitive single player campaign

Posted by Tim Reid (with_teeth26) on Nov 29, 2009 - 3:40pm EST (Nov 29, 2009 15:40)

It seems that Relic has figured out that there is no real strategy in building bigger and bigger armies, then throwing them against other huge armies in a ongoing battle of attrition, so with their latest games, Company of Heroes + Expansion packs and Dawn of War II, you control a very small number of squads with distinct roles and pronounced rock-paper-scissor purposes. This is even more apparent in DOWII, where there is no base building, and you are forced to use just a few squads in the Single player campaign and in multiplayer games. The strength and mainstay element of DOWII is clearly in the Multiplayer, although there is a lengthy and relatively fun albeit repetitive singe player campaign which I will talk about first.

Relic decided to totally revamp RTS conventions with the single player campaign; it plays more like an action RPG because you have a set number of squads for each mission, and you can level them up and upgrade their equipment separately. Your squads cannot die, they only get knocked unconscious, after which you must revive them using another squad. Each squad has distinct roles, such as breaking defensive formations, suppressing enemies, sneaking around and flanking enemies, etc. You will need to play each squad to its strength to be successful at the game, if you just click on your units and tell them to kill enemy units, you will fail; yes, this means that unit control is very micro-management intense. The single player campaign is a good length, but will start to get repetitive seeing as how all of the missions occur on a handful of maps on three planets, creating a kind of pseudo freedom in which you can choose which order to do missions in.

Unfortunately, the missions themselves are generally bland and uninteresting. Objectives are usually just ‘go and destroy x buildings and kill z boss.’ You are told in cheesy between-mission dialogues that doing so will ‘strike a huge blow against the enemy,’ but other than that there is no real story-driven incentive to be completing these missions. The only thing that makes them interesting is the excellent tactical combat, which is very engaging and usually very fun. There is the odd mission that is much more exciting, such as one in which you must defend an important location against waves of incoming enemy troops, or one where you must try and open a gate while being attacked by huge numbers of enemies. Sadly, these missions are few and far between, and the lack of a mid-mission save function means even the longest of missions usually won’t crack 15 minutes; gone are the epic 2 hour battles that were found in Company of Heroes. The single player portion of the game is worth playing, even if it’s only to get used to the game mechanics for the multiplayer.
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#1 Dec 11, 2009 22:43:28 (Dec 11, 2009 22:43)

I had a lot of fun with the main campaign but I played most of it cooperatively with a friend which is an absolute blast!  It doesn't seem like the reviewer got a chance to try it out which is a shame but still, it's a pretty spot on review in my opinion.
Dawn of War 2
Dawn of War 2 box art

Our Score
We Said
"A very well made and rather unique RTS with fantastic competitive multiplayer which makes up for a forgettable and repetitive single player campaign"
Game Ranking
Dawn of War 2 is ranked #126 out of 758 total games.

125. Spore

126. Dawn of War 2

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Dawn of War 2
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