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Vertigo
06-07-2009, 04:07 PM
There can be only war...
After the less than stellar release of Dawn of War: Soulstorm, Iron Lore Entertainment developed this less than stellar installment of the original Dawn of War series, THQ and Relic entertainment are back in the saddle. If you're a fan of the Warhammer games and universe, you don't need me to tell you this game delivers, but IF you are a fan and unsure: read on.

First you want to make sure your rig is up to par; the graphics, especially the level of detail on all of the characters, are consistantly surprising. As such, you're going to want to be sure you can enjoy them...


System Requirements:
Minimum:
OS: Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista SP1
Processor: P4 3.2 GHz (single core) or any Dual Core processor
Memory: 1 GB RAM (XP), 1.5 GB RAM (Vista)
Graphics: A 128MB Video Card (Shader Model 3) - Nvidia GeForce 6600 GT / ATI X1600, or equivalent
Hard Drive: 5.5 GB of Hard Drive space
Other Requirements: Online play requires log-in to Games For Windows - Live

Recommended:
OS: Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista SP1
Processor: AMD Athlon 64x2 4400+ or any Intel Core 2 Duo[/list]
Memory: 2 GB RAM (XP and Vista)
Graphics: A 256MB Video Card (Shader Model 3) - Nvidia GeForce 7800 GT / ATI X1900, or equivalent
Hard Drive: 5.5 GB of Hard Drive space

Single Player Campaign:
This new level of individual unit detail comes at a cost; however, units are smaller. You generally end up with a small unit of 3-5 guys and no more than 4 units under your command at a time. Yes, you read that right, you start a mission off with only 4 units, and if you don't screw up - they're all still alive at the end. I know this doesn't sound like a traditional RTS, and it's not: so get that idea out of your head now. With this smaller amount of units; there's a more intense focus on them. Your units gain experience and level up. You gain gear to upgrade them and have stat points to allocate when you level. This odd mix of rts and rpg at first glance sounds difficult, but THQ and Relic have executed the mash up nearly perfectly.

For starters, the low unit count reduces micro management burn out. Likewise, by using this rpg model of advancement you end up caring more about your units; over time you feel an attachment to that Tactical Marine squad you've been running since the beginning of the game. And there's enough variety in the different unit types to allow for very different play-styles. You can focus on range, defense, stealth, or my personal favorite: the big bang. There's something so satisfying about throwing a terminator squad full of heavy weapons at your enemies.

Multiplayer:
One of the biggest draws for the Warhammer RTS games has always been multiplayer. But unlike previous iterations of these games, DoWII's multiplayer is a completely different beast from the single player campaign. For starters, there's base building in the multiplayer (to an extent). You also now have a choice between DoWII's 4 races in multiplayer: which till now you've had no experience commanding. The best thing you can do to prepare for your online rampage is play some skirmishes with the AI. Get accustomed to the different armies and maps.

One good thing about multi-player is it does open up some more opportunities for varied play-styles. For example, while the use of cover is included in the single player campaign, it really doesn't play much of a role. In multi-player however, I can see it being much more effective; and conversely, grenades being more useful as well. Really, the only drawback to the multi-player is that you're not going to be ready to run in immediately and start fighting other people. Unlike later installments of the original Dawn of War series, or even Warcraft III, you don't get your hands on the controls of the other races until you're in the multi-player. This throws a rather strict curve ball at newer players.

The Bad News:
Unfortunately, as innovative as DoWII is, the maps/missions are a little lacking. It basically boils down to this: start on one end of the map, fight your way to the other side of the map, and kill a baddie who's really just a big version of all the ones you killed to get there. He has some special abilities, a lot of HP, and probably hits like a truck.

This isn't to say that the campaign is just an endless grind, but you're likely to get more mileage out of the game if you take it in doses. And by all means, when you're in the game use the zoom feature: watch that dreadnaught pick up an orc and rip them to bloody pieces. The game has eye candy aplenty, and enough features to keep you coming back for more.

Overall: I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
War is Hell, Dawn of War is sublime.
Aside from a few small issues, this game plays well out of the box. And another bonus for having Steam support. At $49.99 it's a bit pricey, but I think it's well worth it, for this innovative RTS/RPG mash up.


HQ Video Trailer/Game Intro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu4ABhVd28U

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Credits:
Official Dawn of War II Website - link (http://www.dawnofwar2.com/us/home)
Steam - link (http://store.steampowered.com/)

The boy 4rm oz
06-11-2009, 12:33 PM
You know, I brought this game on release, the collectors edition, after loving the original DoW and all 3 expansions. I brought it just after my mobo blew and I still haven't got my PC back up and running. I was going to download it on my brother's PC but the whole you NEED Steam to play the condition ruined it for me.

Why must Steam be a condition of use for some new games, I personally hate Steam so probably will never play DoW2, waste of $110AUD.

Vertigo
06-11-2009, 02:55 PM
I'm not sure why the hate for Steam, personally I was a little leary of it at first just because I'd never used it. But, since I've played Half Life, Portal, and now DoW II thru Steam I see it as a great service. It keeps my games up to date, I can buy games directly through them. Or even get freebies. And it does act as a bit of DRM (and honestly this is something we're not going to be able to avoid completely as gamers anymore) given the option I'd much rather have the CD check or Steam over SecureROM.

The boy 4rm oz
06-11-2009, 10:54 PM
The only reason I don't like Steam is because once you install the game you can't install the game on another PC. Get your account banned and your stuffed, you lose everything. If you installed the game from a disk you need a new key and if you purchased the game you need to buy it again. I have heard way to many stories about this happening to people. My friend and his dad had over $300 worth of purchased content on Steam, only to lose it all when Steam lost their account.

Yes I have used it and admit that in theory the system is pretty good and it has some cool indy titles. However the only feature I ever used was the game updating and Xfire and CrosuS do that for me perfectly.

Idaho modder
07-30-2009, 08:14 PM
ive had steam for 6 years now and also had my account hacked and stolen this year. i have over 700 dallors worth of games on my account. valve rocks i got my account back in less then a week. so no issues here.