Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Space Marines, Orks and some of the largest shoulder pads in the universe ”“ all the right ingredients for a bloody intergalactic war, yes? Now add some terrific role-playing elements, fantastic gameplay and very likeable characters to the mix and you have one of the better RTS games in a long time.
Dawn of War II is one of the finest representations of the genre. It does away with the concept of base building and resource management completely. All missions involve your elite squad of Space Marines (with a motley variety being thrown in for good measure from recon-friendly scouts to the heavy artillery devastator squads) being dropped right into the heat of battle and leaving a trail of abject destruction across the map. You don the role of a Force Commander and it is your mission to, well, lay waste to other races in the galaxy, which in this case include the seemingly dyslexic Orks, the mysterious Eldar and the demonic spawning Tyranids.
Missions come in several types: Assassinate, where you’re tasked with killing one of the game’s many boss characters, Stronghold or Search And Destroy where you’re required to dig the enemy out of heavily fortified encampments, and Maelstrom where you don’t stop till every last enemy is dead. Along with this, you can customise your squad’s weapons and stats as you see fit, with special gear granted for completing missions ”“ a really nice, role-playing game touch. Â However the goodness ends here, Â and a few painful technical difficulties mar this great title.
To prevent zealous PC gamers from pirating the game, Dawn of War II requires you to log-on to Games for Windows Live and the Steam client at the same time. While this wouldn’t have been such an issue, it becomes one because of the seemingly infinite number of updates required to get the game up and running. People with dial-up connections shouldn’t even attempt this game.
Apart from this, the title is also overrun with bugs. It’s meant to support Game For Windows Live Achievements that reward you for completing missions or meeting specific conditions such as finishing off a mission within a certain time frame but the game wouldn’t recognise meeting such parameters. Well, not until it was patched over, twice. You’re guaranteed to lose patience before you even begin playing it, which is quite sad because the game isn’t so bad.
To sum it up, Dawn of War II is a good game with some solid ideas but if it weren’t for its technical difficulties it would have been a shoo-in purchase for any strategy game buff. Recommended, but with reservations.