Thursday, June 3, 2010

Played Lately: Dawn of War II

  • With so much chaos in the universe, it's easy to fall into the logical fallacy that one's thoughts can shape the world around them. For instance, I was in the shower the other day (where I do my best thinking) wondering about why I never got around to trying Dawn of War II. I have a long running dislike of RTS games, but everything I'd heard about the game (especially on Idle Thumbs) made me think that I might actually enjoy this one. Then this weekend, Steam put the DoW II Gold Edition (the original game plus the Chaos Rising expansion) on sale for twenty dollars. I don't really believe that I caused an amazing game sale to show up, but coincidence is kind of hilarios sometimes.

  • Instead of the standard base and army building paradigm traditional to RTS games, DoW II's campaign gives you control of only four units, all spawned at the beginning of the level. Your goal is to shephard your forces through various conflicts, assaulting enemy positions, and holding strategic objectives. As your units fight and achieve their goals, they earn experience and find gear, both of which can be used to improve their abilities. In its way, DoW II feels more like a real-time RPG. And with the interesting storyline, optional missions, and bonus objectives, there is a lot to enjoy.

  • My main complaint with RTS games still holds here. There is too much going on too fast for me to feel like I have enough time to act or react with any precision. However, the Recruit difficulty setting is forgiving enough that I don't feel like I have to micromanage my units. I do what I can and use what special abilities I can remember. But if I don't always remember to find the best cover or use the perfect tactics, the setting is forgiving enough that I haven't yet felt frustrated by the game.

  • I've already finished the Dawn of War II campaign and I'm just starting Chaos Rising. Relic did a great job telling the story of the Blood Ravens' multi-front battle against the Orks, Eldar, and Tyranid. I was amazed by how interested I got in the characters, especially since they are less than an inch tall on my monitor. The final battle had some great lows and highs with the last boss being a suitably epic confrontation. I was genuinely excited to see my men triumph against such tremendous odds.

  • I was also amazed to find out how much fun I've been having with The Last Stand online mode. Instead of a pitched battle against random people (a mode I may never launch), The Last Stand gives you a single hero unit and places you in an arena to fight off waves of opponents alongside two other players. I generally prefer single-player gaming, but this drop-in co-op is a lot of fun. I look forward to seeing how far I can go in that mode.

  • Considering how much time I drilled into the game over the weekend, it is safe to assume I found the right RTS for me. Now I just have to hope they keep making expansions because I don't want it to end so soon!

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. You just described the first RTS I may seriously consider buying in years. Damn it!

  2. @ Yeebo - Sorry! I didn't mean it.

  3. To coop or not to coop, that is the question!?! If you are up to it once you finish Chaos Rising let's do some last stand or coop.


  4. DoW2 was a bit of a disappointment for me. I enjoyed the single-player game, but the multi-player just wasn't the same without the base building. I'm not much for online multi-player in RTS's but I got a lot of mileage out of vs. CPU games with DoW1, that's just not as fun in 2.

  5. I haven't even bought Chaos Rising yet, and with the previous series I picked up all the expansions on day 1.

  6. I think Chaos Rising is awesome, but it is a bit short compared to DoWII.

    I haven't actually played the multiplayer but there were some changes to it in Chaos Rising, but last stand is still awesome!

  7. @ Jayedub - I rarely play well with others, but I'd be willing to try it out, Campaign or Last Stand.

    Speaking of which, can you or anyone else guess which character I use for Last Stand? One in five chance for guessing. :)

    @ Blue Kae - I can see multiplayer being strange, although I've never tried it. I read that Company of Heroes was good just because of the tactical options and DoW II sounds similar.

    I just started the Chaos Rising campaign, but I'm enjoying it so far. Raising the level cap made for some crazy options.

  8. I think you play an Eldar, you don't strike me as the Space Marine type.

    I haven't played the multiplayer, but at some point I do want to give it a try, but I would be all for Last Stand, and if you are feeling adventurous campaign coop would be fun. I am eager to try it because I haven't played coop, and I am curious how it plays.

    Besides, what's the worst that can happen? We get a few achievements, and if you don't have fun you egg my home!

  9. @ Jayedub - Right on the nose. I guess we'd better schedule some co-op time. :)