Release Date: 2/18/2009
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Looks decent, good voice acting, lots of powers and abilities
The Bad: Took the S out of RTS, not very fun, brutal, messy, just feels half-baked
I love RTS games and Warhammer is one of the best out there. Forget the over priced board game stuff the RTS game is where it’s really at. The first Warhammer was amazing and used the entire Warhammer universe in a unique symbiosis of RTS game play that was slick, powerful, and very addictive. Of course with Warhammer two coming out everyone couldn’t wait to get there hands on new units, new strategies, another great story…but wait it’s gone. Yeah, Relic took the S out of RTS in this sequel and now it’s just an RTG (Real Time Game).
Instead of building units and sending them across maps you just get to command key squad members around a map and enjoy dying and struggling through mission after mission. The game really isn’t any fun thanks to the high difficulty and the fact that this game should be an RTS, not an RPG/RTS mash-up. I don’t mind the RPG elements, but they should have made it just that. Each member can have up to three members of their squad so you get a handful of guys taking on an entire map. You can give each guy some accessories like health packs, grenades, shields, demo charges and tons of other things, but you’re limited and most of the time it never really works when you want it to.
If you think it sounds bad it’s at least worth a shot. You can select each individual squad group and command them to do certain things. Each one has unique abilities and you will use them all when taking on bosses and huge missions. You can pick up weapons and armor in the battlefield at random when dropping enemies then, later on, you can equip them. Some items have stat bonuses and some just add fire power. After each mission you can level up your guys in the fields they specialize in and this is crucial to beating missions.
The game just feels like a big mess really. You have to jump between three different worlds and while completing story missions there are side missions going on with timed “days” you get to complete them and if you let the Tyranid infest an area to long it drops your campaign score. I find this frustrating since you can only do one mission at a time, and if you fail it lapses a day and you can really miss a crucial mission. If they weren’t so damned hard it would be a lot easier. Some missions had me running back and forth to a satellite drop point (you can get more troops this way) or a relic site that fully heals your squad. Running back and forth from the boss over and over to heal, and chopping down a bosses health is something you do in an RPG, not an RTS. I feel Relic had the wrong idea in this game, and I bought it thinking it was like the first game, but I feel I wasted my money.
The game just has so much back and forth, the objectives feel tedious and some times you can’t complete a mission because you’re not strong enough so you have to try another, and some times another, and another then go back around and try to beat them all again until you can finally beat that story mission. It’s exhausting, not fun, and most of the time boring. While the game isn’t terrible its just that I wanted an RTS, not a crappy mash-up. Sure you can get a Dreadnought later on, or more powerful accessories like an orbital strike, and a drop pod, but you only get one during the mission and it just never seems like enough.
With all that out of the way, the story is decent, and it follows the original. The Blood Ravens are trying to rid of the Tyranid infestation, and are trying to come up with something that can weaken the hive. The voice acting is solid, and the story is interesting enough, but it’s also missing those cool cut scenes from the original game, and it just feels half baked. The visuals are decent, but not much better than the original, so Dawn of War II isn’t really Dawn of War it’s something else. Go ahead and pick this game up if you are a true hardcore fan, but you will be very disappointed. You can play co-op with someone to lighten the difficulty, but without the RTS elements, you won’t really care.