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Old 11-05-2009, 03:39 PM   #1
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Please rate this review: Dawn of War II

EDIT: Some douchebag systematically rated all of the reviews I uploaded 1*. I know this because I rated them 5 star (ever heard the story about the guy who's petition failed because he didn't sign it) and after another rating it came to three. So if you are going to rate it, actually appreciate the hard work that goes into this.

Dawn of War II

Note [I review games on Youtube so I can post several of these in quick sucsession. I edit them a bit so they make for a nicer read rather than listen. http://www.youtube.com/user/FalloutMazza]

HIGH very nice visuals

LOW Repetitive mission structure

WTF No Chaos Marines? Seriously guys

Imagine if Warcraft 3ís Thrall, Diabloís loot drops, Company of Heroís essence engine, and some bald space marines, all found themselves, in some vile and grotesque orgy, and somehow managed to conceive, then their hideous spawn would look something like Dawn of War II.

Dawn shifts away from its peers in terms of gameplay, abolishing the standard base building staples. Although other games have taken to this play style, namely the Total War series, the difference is that Creative Assembly compensated for this with a turn based component, effectively allowing you to switch between two entirely different game models, which means you will never be doing the same thing for too long.

However, Dawn of War IIíS gameplay hinges exclusively on the combat.
In line with the previous games, Dawn 2ís combat is squad based, but the campaign limits you to a finite number of squads, whom you level up and equip with loot. There is also some minimal character development, nothing deep, but enough to allow a sense of progression.

Each squad has its own properties and unique utility, for example the assault troopers who use jetpacks, or the devastators who suppress the enemy with heavy weapons, and itís this suppression mechanic, as well as a cover system that facilitate the battles.
The cover system works well, most of which is destructible forcing you to assess the safety of where you move your troops, as well as examining the enemyís positions and deciding the best way to tackle them. However the enemy AI isnít dynamic enough to cleverly respond to your actions, and will never try to outflank or surround you. Instead of proactively hunting you down, enemies just hang around like the dungeon crawlers of old, waiting for you to walk past. Of course you could always just walk around them.

Troops can suppress the enemy with sustained fire, forcing them to drop to the ground and advance to your position while in prone, which allows you to mitigate enemy threats.

Youíll spend the majority of your time micromanaging your unitís special abilities and powers in conjunction with one another. Having your scout sneak behind enemy lines, planting demolition charges on turrets and sniping from afar can have your enemy retreating before you take a single casualty.

The hallmark visceral combat is nowhere near as fun to watch as it was in the first instalment, the finishing moves appear rarely, and offers little to the eyes, except a much welcomed dismemberment system. It seems the gore level has been upped, but at the cost of both quality and quantity of the animations. Itís almost painful to watch the sluggish strokes of your space marineís chain swords.
The game is lax on its requirement of both cognitive and dextrous skills; the tactics you execute are standard practice for these kinds of games.

The design is seemingly geared towards preventing Halo Wars fans from rage quitting. The amount of tactics simply failed to sate my hunger for strategic depth.

The combat maintains the fun factor for a period, but without anything else to compliment it, then doing the same mission variants, of which there are two, in pretty similar environments with the same persistent squad members then the game begins to stagnate.

But hereís where the near perfect implementation of loot drops. You can equip and customize individual units with weapons, armour, and special abilities. All of your squads are loosely based on traditional fantasy archetypes. The Scout squad for example, has more than a few similarities to the rouge class. Completing missionís rewards you with certain items, and loot is the main incentive to complete the side quests. In a nice touch, you donít have to spend time walking around picking up the loot; instead clicking on it automatically collects it.

This weaves in very nicely with the levelling structures, as most loot has a prerequisite to use, or is more effective when used in union with certain skills. To be efficient, you have to specialise and focus squads on specific skills, itís very engrossing and these RPG aspects are very welcome.

The plot is straight out of the first one, a minor enemy, previously the orks, now the Eldar, leads you onto a major enemy, previously the chaos, now the Tyrinids. The Tyrinids want to take over a bunch of planets, so you have to save the day. The plot serves as a reason for you to be killing a ton of aliens, and in that respect, itís fine.

However, here is where the game falls flat. During a cut scene the game describes the situation as ďyour handful against untold billionsĒ and throughout the preliminary stages of the game you are fed nuggets of exposition alluding to the sheer size of the Tyrinid hive fleet, and building on the premise of your elite troops mowing down swarms of the green buggers.
So, it came as something of an anticlimax to me when it turned out the amount of onscreen models, to be a paltry amount, and the Tyrinid squad sizes are pretty pathetic given the build-up.

The Orks and Eldar play the same as in the previous game, and this chance to bring a new faction to life has resulted in churning out another generic group of aliens. If memory serves then Dawn I could support more Imperial Guard than its sequel can support Tyrinids. Ironic given Relicís claims they didnít include the Nids in the first game because the engine couldnít do them justice.

To make matters worse the game only ships with four factions and only the Marines are playable during the campaign. All of the best, or at least my favourites, like Chaos and Imperial Guard are absent; though Relic seems to be instating them through future expansion packs as with last time.

I wonít talk about the multiplayer at length, but suffice to say it forces you to adopt an aggressive play style, and gives no concessions to defensive players, and rewards rush tactics. Itís not my thing, but itís very polemic so some will love it, and others will hate it.

The graphics are very pretty, the physics make for damn cool environmental damage and the interfaces and menu screens are pretty sleek. This is evidently a high budget game, but in the words of Barrack Obama, ďYou can put lipstick on a pig, but itís still a pigĒ; and at heart, Dawn of War II is the runt bastard child of several other games, and is a jack of all trades master of none and dropping base construction, without remunerating with other features just leaves you feeling unfulfilled.

As is apparent from Game proís 100/100, D padís 70/100 and IGN reviewer and reader rating, 9 and 6.8 out of ten respectively, then this is an extremely polarising game.

If youíre a big fan of War hammer, you like the new direction of troop based focus the game takes, and eye candy, then I recommend you buy this game without a second thought.

Some people love this game, and others hate it. Those who like it are presumably new to the genre, and if you like it then great, but if your experienced with RTS games, then DOW II is overtly basic, simple and dull.


Last edited by FalloutMazza; 11-05-2009 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:34 AM   #2
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Please rate this review Dawn of War II

Good review, helps me get a bit more motivated to try playing it. It was my first 360 purchase a while back but ive been ripping through COD since then...
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