For better or worse? This definitely isn't your "daddy's" Dawn of War.
_DeadlyFred_ wrote this review on .
Relic originally stormed the RTS scene by creating a game which was at once a challenge upon the conventions of the genre as well as a battering ram to reinvent them. Company of Heroes followed, continuing along similar lines and even further hollowing a new niche within the genre, expanding the ideas of DoW and creating new ones. With Dawn of War 2, they have managed to marginalize the best of both.
DoW2 is basically a small-scale squad combat game based loosely on the formula of CoH and themed in the Warhammer 40k universe. It is also an exercise in how to fix what's not broken in the worst way possible.
Let's hit a few high points (and their drawbacks), first:
The Single-Player campaign formula, while essentially no less "grindy" than previous ones, manages to impart at least a moderate sense of purpose by allowing you to upgrade your squads and gain new weapons through battle. The downside? You can only use 4 squads at once (plus your commander) and are limited to 1 of each major type and one type of vehicle. So much for variety.
The ability to select a unique commander type in multiplayer: this idea I love though I am unsure why the Blood Ravens have absolutely no Librarians in DoW2 (since that is ostensibly one of their hallmarks). The downside to this is that your commander is the ONLY "hero" unit you'll be fielding, at all--attribute this to the slimmed down nature of the game design.
Cover has been "enhanced" to utilize a system similar to CoH, good... but for some reason your units like to arbitrarily break squad cohesion to find cover 50 feet from the rest of the squad.
Vehicles are properly scaled, and huge and fun to drive over everything in sight. The downside? everything else got scaled back to compensate apparently.
So... no base building... I guess that's cool for purists though I don't see why it was such a hindrance... no more morale, hmm... we're being purist here but leaving out an essential part of Tabletop 40k rules, which was actually pretty well implemented in DoW1... alright. Now.. why is my "full" squad cap of men a measly dozen or so dudes? (unless you're playing Tyranids, of course). What happened to the epic scale of violence the original game had? Who's bright idea was it to turn a rampaging mob of Terminators with assault cannons into three guys wandering around shouting imposing sentiments at 5 guys hiding behind some rocks?
This game just feels small, limited... as if they thought the best way to make sure there was nothing "nobody used" was to take out pretty much everything and give you little to work with in the first place. Competition-geared? Maybe, but I'm just finding it downright underwhelming and boring. If I wanted to play like a "pro" I'm sure I could figure it out within the confines of a more "pedestrian" game.
Dawn of War 2 is just bland, brief spurts of violence followed by retreating guys back to base before you go off chasing some other guys over all corners of the map. This is not what I'd hoped for. I'm not even sure exactly *what* this game is trying to be but it is definitely nowhere near the glory of its predecessor.