Thursday, 19 May 2011

Dawn of War II

The original Dawn of War was a cracker of a game, then they made a mediocre sequel (Winter Assault) then they essentially made a skirmish game with effectively zero story line and simply added new units/armies to the current game engine.

 Even with these poor choices for follow up games it was still rather enjoyable to play and I found myself spending many hours in multiplayer with friends.

Then came the announcement for DoW II and I was pretty stoked about it. I downloaded the mulitplayer beta the moment it was available on steam and entered into my first game.

 I was lost for a short while. THQ had gone with a very different style this game, removing any sort of base building and introducing a huge amount of tactical play with the way your armies collide. At first it seemed a little dumbed down, but eventually I began to enjoy it as I discovered all these new methods of flanking and pinning down my opponents. This gave a very different feel to the way it was played as a strategy game, and while it was a risk to make the game this way, it definitely paid off in creating a unique and entertaining experience.


The graphics in the DoW II series are quite appealing, and with ample explosions and varied environmental doodads made the maps immerse you into the world you were playing on. As it was a top down strategy game the unit models were not super spectacular when you zoomed in but when you were commanding from the usual camera angle they looked excellent and well detailed. Plenty of particle effects and changing environments kept the visual appeal through out all 3 of the games. Same graphics engine was used for the entire series so far.



The Story for the original DoW II and it's expansion, Chaos Rising, was excellent. Well developed characters, an enthralling storyline and some development to the 40k Universe for those that don't get into the table top game.

 Unfortunately Retribution had a pretty lame storyline as the tried to get 6 different story lines mixing together which led to a very short story that was pretty generalized so that they could cross over with out too much difficulty. Characters were not as well fleshed out and the game had practically no replayablity as it was too dull.

Original and Chaos Rising 9/10

Retribution 6/10


As mentioned in the starting blurb the unique strategy style of DoW II worked out quite well, providing a refreshingly new type of RTS game. Combined with this was a RPG feel where units would level and you could choose which gear to give them. Again this worked out fantastically as you could really choose what each unit could specialize in and gave more freedom in the way you wanted to play your game, from frontal charge to strategic flanking.

 Again Retribution falls down on gameplay however, with the introduction of squads and in game resources. The reason DoW II's new style was effective was that it was small scale and simple. Retribution threw that away, brought in a new for of resource collection and allowed you to mass armies again. In the end this was a terrible idea and bought the game down a great deal. However you could ignore this and play in the original style.

Original and Chaos Rising 9/10
Retribution 6/10

Voice acting in the whole series was great, as were weapon sounds and explosions. Scripts for the different races were quite exceptional and the background noise/music added to the atmosphere in levels. All in all a top notch sound.


This new unique style of RTS has turned out quite spectacularly and if it wasn't for the addition of Retribution in the series I would have recommended buying the complete set. As is the Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising are fantastic games to play, most enjoyable and worth your time.

Original and Chaos Rising 9/10
Retribution 6/10


  1. Haven't tried any of the Warhammer series, might have to change that

  2. me too, i must try one...