Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dawn of War II ... I'm sad :(

Ok ... I'm sure I'll offend some people with this quick review of the game ... such is life. I will start by mentioning that I really am a huge GW fanboy. I'm a fan of the original DOW game and while I'm not a pro I do like the RTS genre. If you look up "professional reviews of the game" you'll see that its getting around an 85% or so ... which is damn good. Read those reviews if you want some unbiased more well written reviews. What I'm trying to do here is give my personal honest opinion.

All that said I am very disappointed with Dawn of War II its a huge letdown and actually worse than the first game which came out in 2004!  I should have known ... to date I've never liked anything THQ has done.  One of my huge complaints about GW is that they keep picking loser companies to partner with. Even their MMO originally was going to be done by Namco I believe, and only through a series of acquisitions did the game finally make it to a big decent game company (Mythic and EA). GW has had a series of dog games ... and Dawn of War was the first one that I really liked.  Old pre-THQ buyout Relic knew their stuff. Well typical GW ... they'll whore out their video games to whoever apparently gives them the most cash up front. I have no understanding what so ever why they do that. Every time THQ gets involved they do a horrible job adhering to the back story of the GW universe, their games suck, poor controls, horrible camera angles, lazily done graphics and maps, etc. Anyway enough ranting and some discussion of my experience of the game.

Ok the campaign ... it honestly starts of decently enough ... pretty fun. You are playing as the Blood Raven Space Marine chapter again. New characters, well the main character from the Kronus (first DOW series) campaign is your commander. You are trying to stop a tyranid invasion of the chapters recruiting worlds and adjacent systems. Pretty cool ... not as lame of a campaign story as the last DOW expansion ... so I was pleased. Yes there were Eldar and Orks involved but it didn't feel lame ... the Eldar were being their typical arrogant "we must save ourselves" and the Orks were using the opportunity to do some good ole fashioned lootin. Ok ... I'll buy all that ... decent start for a campaign premise.

The missions aren't that bad in the beginning but they get repetitive with very few new maps or mission types. So it just becomes a "lvl up your chrs" game. That would all be well and good for me honestly, if the campaign continued. I mean this is online play, the maps are painfully easy, they recycle all the cut scenes, etc. THQ/Steam could be cranking out the add on missions to keep people happy and engaged until the next expansion ... nope. You run through maybe 30 or so missions (maybe less I didn't count). So game time is about 20 hours or so and then your done. I was done in 18 hours of play. I honestly did as many missions as I could, etc. and that was it.  Disappointing overall ... nothing new or amazingly upgraded from DOW. Squad sizes stay small 3 or 4 marines. You get a Dred and some Termies ... but no lightning claws and the "venerable" dred is really nothing special. Your commander gets some cool upgrades but nothing really new or better from the first game.  I actually feel like this is not as good as DOW I.
Also why the hell couldn't there be an Eldar and an Ork and maybe even a Bug ... campaign? What the hell?!?!?

Multi-player is really crappy. I tried 2 games against the PC on easy mode and just quit. Its totally pointless ... I don't need to see how it plays against other people.  Seriously people if you haven't bought this game yet ... don't ... if your a fan and intend to just wait until the expansion comes out and get the set. If  you really don't care either way, just skip it ... its a smoking piece of crap. I give it a flaccid 2 out of 5 ... I can't really call it flaccid though as I feel like I've been violated. That said ... apparently I'm a sucker for punishment ... I will buy the expansion when it comes out in hopes they clean it all up. I see potential there ... its just like one of those games that was released in a "partially complete" state. 


Well after re-reading my late night angry rant ... I'd say I was a little harsh. But having played the multi-player again this morning hoping that maybe I'd missed something. Maybe I'm not giving the game credit enough ... I did miss some things and then again I didn't.

Ok first thing is I have to say that this game looks nice, despite very repetitious maps, the look and feel of the game is nice. Graphics have been improved dramatically since the first version of DOW. As a fan of the GW universe I just like looking at the models as they move around. In addition to that I do very much agree with a point that a friend made to me that the feel of this game is more true to the 40K universe.  Especially pertaining to Space Marines.  My response was then why not make the Orks and the Nids squad sizes much larger to make it really feel like the 40K universe? In the campaign you do feel at times like the Nids are an endless swarm but in multiplayer its just small squad balanced out vs small squads.  So in essence my problem with that is if they were going for capturing an authentic feel of 40K the tabletop game why not really do it. What they ended up doing was making basically a dumbed down RTS. Not a squad based RPG/RTS hybrid ... there are alot of things they could have done.  Unit controls in this game are very clunky, as are play controls ... moving around the map is more cumbersome than in your average RTS I would say. I don't like how commanders upgrade in multi-player ... they never really explain why your constantly clicking to upgrade ... are you upgrading or just changing options? Forgive my angry ranting ... I think this game could be seen as a first step towards a different way to do the RTS for the Dawn of War series ... but all my complaints haven't changed. THQ can redeem itself with a cool follow up that adds alot to the game and cleans up some of the problems. If they do that I'll eat my words ... if not ... I'm still sad and disappointed. At any rate they got my money and they'll get it for the expansion.

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