Innovative and action-packed gameplay, good visuals and sound, impressive multiplayer package, a new take on RTS gaming
Needs more multiplayer maps, single player missions get repetitive
Expert Rating :
The original Dawn of War (DOW) had entered into hostile territory. The RTS genre was a tough place with every new release pitted against Warcraft 3, which owned the space for years. But DOW did come through strong and was an instant hit with gamers.
The sequel takes the best from the first game and adds some more depth to the gameplay with new cover mechanics and far more micro-management, which makes the multiplayer games much more exciting.
Dawn of War II is a sci-fi RTS game that focuses more on squad management rather than resources, so unlike other games like Warcraft 3 and C&C, you don't have to worry about the amount of gold or gas your workers are pumping. Here all you need to care about is your squad and their wellbeing. Most RTS games are too resource centric, but in DOW II what you pick up is of use on the battlefield, so every little battle counts.
The game is divided into single-player mode and Skirmish mode; you can go play both modes in multiplayer. In the single-player mode you can get a friend along for the missions or go head-to-head in a competitive game. The single player is good fun, as the game blends RTS with RPG elements. Not only does it make the game more engaging but also adds tremendous replay value.
There are a total of four classes in the game; Orks, Space Marines, Eldar and the Tyranids, although the single player lets you play as the Space Marines only. The single-player mode is lengthy and offers various stories as well as optional missions. The plot isn't really interesting but I would advise you to play through campaign mode, you will learn the basics faster and pick up a few tricks that will prove useful in competitive multiplayer.
You go in with two-four squads depending on the mission; each squad has its pros and cons, so choose carefully. You also control the Force Commander, a superior solider with some really useful abilities. The missions structure is very simple, usually involves going from point A to B, while killing a few orcs and capturing some important structures. Every squad (including the Force Commander) earns experience points during the mission, which are utilized before launching the next mission. This is where the RPG element kicks in, here you use the experience points to unlock new abilities, add attributes as well as weapons and armor.