Warhammer 40’000: Dawn of War II

Dawn of War 2

I used to play the tabletop version of Warhammer 40k when I was younger, and seeing as I’m a sucker for good RTS games not picking up Dawn of War 2 sooner was more due to a concern about me losing myself in it than of it’s quality. Luckily, the concern seems to be overstated – Dawn of War 2 is a good game, but for a few reasons not the kind of game I can spend lots of time playing.

Gameplay-wise, it incorporates a lot of RPG elements with squads that are highly customizable due to equipment and leveling, and tones down on everything construction-related – especially in the campaign. While I do like the ability to tweak your units exactly how you want them and understand that adding base management on top of this would make the game impossibly complex to manage, I like the building aspect of RTSs a little too much to appreciate this. The customization allows for very dynamic fighting styles and taking advantage of the environment, but it can sometimes be a little hard to see where you would get decent cover and place units exactly where you want them. Also, the game has lots of ways of keeping track of your progress, and it auto-saves after every skirmish – this is a good safeguard against crashes, but the annoying part is you cannot go back and retry a mission for an improved score or to pick up things you missed.

Besides this, Dawn of War 2 is first and foremost a multiplayer game, so judging it by the campaign (and a few skirmish matches against the computer) is hardly fair. I do still like the game, but as far as RTSs go, it’s not really going in my direction, and it is hard to say anything about it as most things that annoy me are probably going to excite more tactically inclined players.

And on a final note; Dawn of War 2 was the first PC game I had bought boxed for quite a while, and with the exception of Starcraft 2 I don’t see myself bying another for several years. It requires Steam, so I was constrained to play it on my laptop which barely managed it – and even then, it took 6 tries and several reboots before it even acknowledged the disc was in the drive. After an overly lengthy install I got to play the game, but it crashed or hung on me several times – taking windows with it every time. Sure, sure, these are the kinds of things you learn to expect and handle when playing cutting-edge PC games, but in comparison to “Put disc in tray, play game” it seems like an awful lot of work.

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Posted on Mar 07/09 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »