Dawn of War II review

Between Dawn of War and Dawn of War II, Relic has recanted the old ways, blindsiding some fans with what must seem like a bait-and-switch…It’s the sort of change of heart you could mistake for a betrayal or a console port.

Thumbs up

The bash on the AI was definitely deserved. In the whole DoW series they weren’t able to build an AI that was remotely competent (the fact that the AI doesn’t use any skill is already game-breaking for me).

For me this is now a no-buy. I don’t play online and I don’t want to reward a company that’s making no efforts to fix long standing issues.

DOWI didn’t have a particularly good AI either. However, a fan made mod called Dawn Of Skirmish somehow fixed this. The AI in the mod is quite challenging and a lot of fun to play against. Maybe the team responsible for the mod will work on DOWII now. Maybe Relic should hire them.

Wow, reading that review makes me want to rush out into the virtual streets of Steam and pick this game up immediately. Why oh why didn’t I try the multiplayer beta when I had the chance?

I’d be willing to chance it anyway if the emphasis was on single player. But since it’s on multiplayer, what’s important is if all my friends who are currently playing Supreme Commander would be able to buy into this game.

How far up can you zoom the camera out? I know there’s no chance it will be like SupCom, but can you at least zoom out farther than the latest C&C games? On the other hand, with it’s emphasis on fewer units, I guess this is one game where the camera wouldn’t need to be zoomed out all that much to give an accounting of the overall tactical situation. Hmmmm.

The point is that a very small number of total players go multiplayer. Yet multiplayer gets most of the work, while single player is an afterthought.

yeah, the mediocre singleplayer makes me want to hold off on this one for a few months.

I’m a bit let down with only 7 maps. That’s bullshit. I bought it for the wife and I, because she likes RTS games. One other problem that I see is that the group I play with online a lot likes to set up “Us vs. CPU” type games, which works great in C&C type games. However, if the AI is really shit at playing, that’s going to get old fast.

I would say the emphasis is actually slightly on the single player, although I love the online pvp games. If you read most of the reviews, they’ve focused on how much they’ve like the single player campaign.

I think it’s much better than DoW1. I wish it could zoom out a smidge further, but it’s not bad. Here’s a screenshot at maximum zoom for my monitor:

As you say there are fewer units. It turns out that screenshot shows all my units 4 minutes into the game. I’m trying to advance with cover not setup in my favor. My Heavy Bolter (Heavy Machine Gun) has been pushed out of position by a grenade. My Tac squad with Flamer is poking itself out from behind a wall it can’t see over, and is attempting to flame Ork Sluggas and Stikkibombers, and my Scouts are right next to them and I’m trying to figure out how to use the Scouts to backup the Tac squad. My Force Commander is at the top of the screen engaged in melee, while an Ork Kommando is shooting him in the back, and Ork Shootas are standing next to the wall up north also shooting at him. If you look carefully, you’ll see a smoke trail which is actually a Stikkibomb about to land in the middle of my Tac squad and scouts.

If the game goes well, a Space Marine player can probably expect to have maybe twice the number of units I’ve got here, although Space Marines are expensive and take a lot of population points, so Orks or 'Nids will have a lot more units and a lot more squaddies per unit.

This is from a game I played with teamed up with Whispa and e1123 this afternoon. It was definitely a hard fought seesaw battle that ran 36 minutes (most of them only last 25 minutes for 3v3, less for 1v1), we ended up bringing in all manner of heavy units. We got pushed back several times, but ended up winning the game.

Here’s another shot from the end of the game where it looks like we’ve got a bit more zoom, although the zoom level is actually the same as above.

e1123’s Avatar moves forward taking on a large force of enemies. In the lower right-hand corner you can see my Terminators retreating (note their very low health bar on the top right). The Victory Points are close with them holding two Victory Locations and us only one, but we’re still up 83-56. Whispa is offscreen holding down the Eastern victory point and retaking the Southern one, which was taken by some enemy forces that have gotten around e1123 and I. I’m almost out of units, and e1123 is the only one holding down our front, but that yellow circle on the left is actually me taking advantage of e1123’s line of sight to bring down an Oribtal Bombardment.

A second later, and e1123 finishes off the Looted Tank, and the Orbital Bombardment is in the process of taking out the enemy forces. Whispa retakes the other victory point, and e1123 holds onto our front. We finish the game with 65 points left on our victory counter. Zeal and Fury are rewarded with Victory!

Thanks for the details and the screenshots ydejin. I really appreciate it. I think I’m sold. One more question: If you buy the game at retail, is it like a Valve game in that you only need the code, which you can enter into Steam to download it from Steam?

Thanks for rubbing salt into my missing Sacrifice wounds. I’d rather play that game than DOW2 any day. Huge amounts of charm, very interesting spells, amazing dynamic gameplay. As much as I love Relic (homeworld->cohOF were all purchases for me, with the exception of that genetics/creatures one) I have a hard time buying this game.

Relic revolutionized RTS’s with DOW 1. Most of the base building was gone, and resources came from territory, instead of peons. I can’t think of another game that did this first. This was improved with COH, which had the same minimal base building, but added a twist where territory had to be connected for your resources to flow in, leading to natural battle lines, or the ability to do sneaky things like cut your opponents teching and special abilities from him. In COH, that’s one of the big skills - finding that one sector on the map that most weakens an opponent, and harassing his economy by disconnecting his territory.

Harassment is different in DOW2, as you can blow up power plants, but it doesn’t matter where you take points, just how many you have. So instead of battle lines, you play tag the resource instead.

I think Relic didn’t revolutionize here at all. I think they simplified to make things more accessible (feel free to read that word as dirty as you’d like.)

If I understand correctly what I’ve read, once you enter the code into Steam you’ll be able to download it from Steam again even if you’ve lost your original disk. However, you should probably wait from someone like Tranj who is in the know to answer your question 100% accurately.

Nice to see they still have the Company of Heroes machinegun-arc UI graphics. Much love in my heart for that game.

Once again, sorry to hear about the single player campaign. Seems many are finding it easy and repetitive. I’ll probably wait for the discount bin on this one, as I dont play multiplayer.


I still can’t believe they pulled the same dumb stunt as in Dawn of War 1 and came out with a campaign for only one of the four races. The same one, even. They got so much flak for that the first time around, why are they so eager to get it again?

Total Annihilation says hi.

Didn’t you built tons of generators, and metal mining facilities? If I remember correctly, you have to build structures to mine metal (or you can convert energy to metal.) And the only good place to build mines are metal deposits. So you have to get to some territory, and then you have to build structures (not just hold the territory.) Not only that, but it’s pretty convievable that you can ignore most of the territory, and build lots of generators (or get pushed out of your mines, anyway) to fabricate metal.

So, no, map control isn’t particularly central to TA. You don’t need it to build up units, control the number of units you can field on the battle, or tech up.

It’s like the same, only very very different.

No peons, but yes you did have to build mines. Metal was only available from map locations and power had geothermal sites for an extra boost. No it’s not the same as DoW I but I wouldn’t say DoW I was the first RTS w/o peons and location specifc resources.

What, everyone forgot about Z? :)

Tom’s review is probably far and away the least favorable I’ve seen as far as the campaign goes. There are a lot of reviews that really love the campaign. Try reading the ShackNews or Ars Technica Reviews, for example.

I haven’t spent much time on the campaign. I’m too busy enjoying kicking butt online – I’m only two missions past the end of the tutorial. So I can’t evaluate one way or the other, but from what my friends have said and the reviews I’ve seen, Tom’s really is the minority viewpoint. I’ve seen a mix of reviews with some absolutely loving the campaign and some thinking it was interesting but perhaps it gets a bit too repetitive over the long term, Tom’s is the only one I’ve seen that absolutely seems to hate it.

I am also interested in how many people who like the campaign finished it?
The problem with the campaign is the metagame. Individual levels are fine by themselves. But when you need to play the same level again and again in order to progress it becomes a chore, a bad AI makes process even more tedious.

Regarding multiplayer, I suspect that Relic is trying to go with the Starcraft pro route. At the moment, there is only 1v1 in Starcraft Pro Leagues ( 2v2 is canceled due to low popularity ) and hence the limited options of 1v1 and 3v3 in DoW2. Same with the limited map variety.

Overall, I think DoW2 is a good game in the core. If you like multiplayer RTS game , you should definetly get it.