Dawn of War II, Extra-Judged

By Alec Meer on February 24th, 2009 at 12:48 pm.

I tend to think it’s a hallmark of a game being a wee bit special if I carry on playing it after I’ve filed a review of it. Because what I think is so terribly important and always 100% right, you see. Such has been the case with Dawn of War II, which has successfully managed to keep me from away from other, more pressing work for the last couple of days. One big reason for this has been wading back in on the Primarch difficulty setting (that’s ‘Ultra-bastard-hard’ in proper English), where my concerns about how relatively tactic-free the Sergeant setting was have been given a gentle shoeing.

It’s a much more challenging game at Primarch, becoming akin to something like Commandos or Men at War. Unfortunately there are some crazy difficuly spikes, especially in boss fights, and I keep on winding up feeling like my Space Marines are feckless incompetents rather than super soldiers. I hope to carve though Primarch in co-op at some point, however – seems like it might be a perfect balance. Inevitably, the Campaign’s map repetition is a little more grating second time around, so I can’t see myself sticking with it for long. I wonder if it’s possible for Relic to shove a little more variety into the campaign maps in an upcoming patch. In theory, it shouldn’t break anything – most of the maps are pre-set playgrounds as opposed to anything clever and scripted.

Also luring me back again and again, this time for skirmish fights, is the new Army Painter. It’s not hugely inflated from DOW1′s in terms of your input options, but the effects seem so much more profound. There seem to be more minute details that are artfully recoloured based on your selections, plus there’s a wider colour pallet – the net result being that you field an army that looks so much more your own, and not simply a butchery of someone else’s template. I’ve been especially enjoying painting Tryanids in the lurid red, yellow and blue hues I did to the models when I was 14 – and frankly they look so much better than the purple and beige bores the singleplayer campaign plumped for.

Best of all, though, are the new metallic paints – silver and gold specifically. Clearly every bugger’s going to go overboard with them, but there’s definitely something about fielding an army clad in such regal splendour. An Eldar Warlock with a flowing golden robe is a magnificent sight, while the liquid metal look of all-over chrome Tyranids surely impress cyber-fetishists more than anything Terminator Salvation will have to offer. While Army Painter of course lacks the I Made This thrills of physically painting your own bespoke army, DOWII’s take on it does seem to realise a decent fraction of that pride. I said this repeatedly about DOW1 and it never came to pass, but it would be lovely if the inevitable expansion packs increased the visual customisation options further still. How about it, Relic?

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62 Comments »

  1. Tei says:

    Not related video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JehjqlzXwIQ

    Humm… maybe I sould re-install the demo, or something. I was too quick to judge this game? ..?

  2. Alec Meer says:

    Tei dear boy, that’s enough of your trademark rambles off-topic now please. Use the forum, not the front page posts, for random stuff’n'things. Cheers.

  3. bansama says:

    Darn, now I want to play this even more. Here’s hoping the Steam support response indicating that the regional restriction is incorrect, is itself, correct.

    Also, is that Army Painter for MP only or is it available in SP too?

  4. Azhrarn says:

    Army Painter made armies only work for MP and Skirmish Bansama, single player is restricted to the Blood Ravens.

  5. JoshG says:

    I’d love to add my thoughts, if only the DVD copy of the game I picked up yesterday didn’t have faulty 3rd Party software that causes the install to fail every time on it. Wow, that’s a new one for me…

  6. bansama says:

    @Azhrarn, thanks. That’s a bit of a shame but I guess I can live with it if I manage to get the game =)

  7. Fraser says:

    That’s ironic: having to colouring my units was the thing that stopped me from playing Warhammer back when; getting to colour my units is the thing that’s making me want to get this game after all. Ah, the instant satisfaction generation.

  8. Theoban says:

    In the original DoW, I always fielded an Eldar army in British Racing Green. If I can do the same in DoW II, but in a metallic version, I’m buying it as soon as money falls into my account

  9. mrmud says:

    You can

  10. FunkyB says:

    I’m loving DoWII at the mo, BUT DETESTING GFWL! I am currently afflicted by a bug which means I cannot log in to GFWL. It asks for a CD key but won’t accept it. Not that it says it is invalid, oh no, actually clicking the ‘submit’ button does nothing at all. In order to actually play the game I have to switch to a different windows user. Mrrrf.

    This bug aside its wonderful. Repetitive but at the moment I don’t care. I bought FarCryII based on your gushing recommendations and couldn’t see what you were on about. That *was* repetitive and dull, but I’m in total agreement with Alec on this one.

  11. AlexW says:

    Primark difficulty? Hmmmmmm.

  12. Primar says:

    Primark difficulty: your Space Marines fight their way through 3 floors of discount clothing loving crafted by orphans, only to be stymied by a half-hour queue at the tills held up by a teenage mum complaining that her hoodie was badly stitched while her toddlers run round kicking people.

  13. ExitJudas says:

    DoW II is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m loving playing the underpowered eldar against the overpowered tyranids for the sheer challenge of microing super fast glascannons against monstrous hordes of doom.

  14. BargainBinLaden says:

    Hmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe this DoW2 thing might be worth the hassle of GFWL after all….nnghn, I do so hate being indecisive!

    But I do have to laugh at the great irony of Games Workshop laid bare – how their ultra-hard mega-goth doom-metal universe is populated by such prissy colour-conscious soldiery. Marine 1: “Does this banner match my shoulderpads?” Marine 2: “Oh no, I’d go for something with a bit of Lapis Lazuli on gold. You can’t go wrong with Lapis Lazuli on gold.”

  15. El_MUERkO says:

    fear my metallic purple Orcs

  16. I am beginning to understand this comment system says:

    Alec, if you register the game at myTHQ you can get access to 7 or so more metallic colors (em, excuse me ‘colours’).

    Sure it’s a pain in the ass, but I did it. Why? Because I am a sucker for shiny things, and it sounds like you might be too.

  17. Andy says:

    I feel like the only person in the world who didn’t like this game now! Bought it at the weekend and have played it a fair bit in the hope that enjoyment will eventually floweth. But nope.

    I miss my buildings :(

    Also, with the absense of Jeremy Soule on the orchestra it just didn’t feel as “majestic” to me as DoW.

  18. Rich_P says:

    @JoshG: Can’t you register the game’s CD key with Steam, allowing you to download it from there?

  19. Klumhru says:

    Only good thing I could see about DoW2 was that it won’t take much time away from my once and future playtime of Empire-TW. I feel like I’m playing CoH with an arm tied behind my back. The similarities as sometimes pretty glaring. The heavy bolter team is a damn copy-paste of the MG team in CoH. I’m also in disagreement with most reviews as I find that the melee is not very solid, but just as movie-punchy as it was in the original game and expansions. I played those to death.

    I feel that the setting in general offers the same opportunity for no-base combat as say WiC, but I don’t find their implementation nearly as well done.

    The tyranids are nice and I’m glad they’re now part of the DoW universe, but I find they suffer a bit from the melee problem I mentioned.

    I’m glad I’m in the minority though. THQ have made some really good games and personally I’ll give them a by on this misfire.

  20. Tei says:

    I think the WAR40K lore have nice characters, like Gaunt, or Garviel Loken. But I don’t see names thrown here. So I suppose the campaing is super-generic and super Joe-soldier-no-name-provided fight here and die. What is sad, because other games, like Starcraft, will start and never stop to thrown at you likeable characters like Arcturus Mengsk, Sarah Kerrigan ,Tassadar etc…

  21. Anthony Damiani says:

    Tei–

    No, everyone has names, I just can’t be bothered to care about them. At all.

  22. Mike says:

    DoW2 : Creepy & Cute would sell pretty well.

  23. Danarchist says:

    Tei I was actually surprised that I have not seen the Primarch of the blood angels yet. He has got to be one of the coolest looking of them but not a sign of him!
    I must say though, played multi player with my buddy last night and beat him at a rts for the first time ever. His speed clicking availed him not!

  24. Andrew says:

    Alec, may I recommend the Captain difficulty for the campaign? It’s a nice midpoint of being incredibly tactical and frequently unforgiving but with the bosses not being as insane as they are on Primarch.

    I just started a second campaign to see how Sergeant difficulty is, and I was amazed that my force commander could actually go toe-to-toe with Gutrencha without dying in three hits.

  25. GriddleOctopus says:

    Hum. I can’t even install it – some problem with .net framework. Funny, cos the demo downloaded from Steam fine. :S

  26. Radiant says:

    I can’t wait to get to grips with this game.
    New upgrades is in the post.

  27. Meat Circus says:

    I started playing this last night.

    As a man who tends to hate RTSes as a grotesque abomination of anal retentiveness, this is the best RTS I’ve ever played.

    It’s good to see Relic trying to put to death all those tired and hateful old RTS tropes, and replacing them all with hilarious MANS WITH GUNS shenanigans.

  28. Funky Badger says:

    Primar’s post = WIN, by the way…

  29. Tei says:

    I could be because this is a Gamey Game. Your building options are limited by Points (“YO!, no enough points to build that unit!” laght at you the game), and you fight to control Control Points to collect more Points. These points often don’t make any tactical or strategic sense, are not Hill 401, are just there for you to conquest for no reason whatsoever. Just a “magic entity” will give you meaningfullless Points for controlling all these Control Points. And I suppose the guy with more Points win.
    Is soo gamey, that I sould give up…

    Is like X-Blades or Halo or Demon May Cry. A hell of a lot of people love these games. All I see is a closed room, for no reason, and Smath TV gameplay, fighti till the door open, go next room, repeat. This is the same, but with RTS maps.

  30. Dozer says:

    Seconded!

    By the way you can create any 24-bit colour in DoW1, you’re not limited to the Citadel Paints shades…

  31. Dozer says:

    Seconding Funky Badger btw, I typed too slow.

  32. unclelou says:

    Stealth nearly off-topic post:

    I dread the moment I finish the single-player campaign (which I dearly love), and I find the skirmishes too easy, even on the hardest difficulty, and I am too scared/busy to play multiplayer.

    HELP. I need more sp-content. :-)

  33. SwiftRanger says:

    “Also, with the absense of Jeremy Soule on the orchestra it just didn’t feel as “majestic” to me as DoW.”

    With all due respect but Doyle Donehoo’s score for DoW II blows Soule’s and Zur’s works for previous DoW games out of the water. Don’t get me wrong, those guys made good stuff as well (WA title theme to name just one) but not so consistent as the DoW II tracks imo.

    Those metallic colours are addictive but they burn your eyes out in-game. :)

  34. Jubaal says:

    @ I am beginning to understand this comment system, thanks for the heads up on the bonus content by registering the game at MyTHQ. I’ve managed to get the code but can’t seem to redeem it. I’ve tried Steam and GFWL but it doesn’t work. I’ve can’t find anywhere to redeem it in the actual game.

    Any pointers greatfully received.

  35. Neut says:

    UncleLou: That’a why I’ve just been doing all the optional missions over and over instead of doing the final mission. Still can’t get that use only ranged weapon achievement (achievementslol), damn Terminators just can’t resist punching the jumper units with their fists even though they have perfectly fine bolters/assault guns/flamethrowers.

  36. jalf says:

    Oo, a Dawn of War 2: Wot I REALLY think! I mean it this time!

    ;)

  37. Leeks! says:

    I’m going to download all of the metalic paints and make the ugliest, tackiest Tyranids possible. If only I could replace their legs with spinning rims…

  38. unclelou says:

    UncleLou: That’a why I’ve just been doing all the optional missions over and over instead of doing the final mission.

    Yeah, I guess I’ll do the same. :-)

    I just wish it was even more Diablo’ed up to be infinitely playable and lootable.

  39. Rich_P says:

    I still don’t get why games are called gamey nowadays. Am I missing something?

  40. shiznit says:

    I love this game, mp was already awesome in beta and the campaign is the best I have ever played. I usually skip it in other rts’ cause it’s always so damn boring but not this time. Now I want even more rpg elements and more maps, I think an actual world like Dungeon Siege would be badass with this system but that’s asking too much. Really glad they went the Company of Heroes route with this game and streamlined it even more, I’m sick of Sim City just wanna pew pew.

  41. jalf says:

    I’m not so convinced about the MP part. Sure, I had fun with it in the beta, and I’m looking forward to some matches with my friends when we finish the campaign, but it doesn’t seem to have the same lasting appeal as DoW’s multiplayer did.

    At least that’s my impression so far. Might change, of course :p

    Coop campaign on Primarch difficulty is fun though

  42. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Rich_P: They’re not pasteurized. Take this as a comment on people’s demands for immersion over gameplay.

  43. apnea says:

    Kinda like “judged” more than “Wot” thing.

  44. Crispy says:

    “I’m loving DoWII at the mo, BUT DETESTING GFWL! I am currently afflicted by a bug which means I cannot log in to GFWL. It asks for a CD key but won’t accept it. Not that it says it is invalid, oh no, actually clicking the ’submit’ button does nothing at all. In order to actually play the game I have to switch to a different windows user. Mrrrf.”

    This may be down to the installation of either the game or GfW LIVE. Some games ask whether you wish to install the game for just this user or for all users (requires admin permissions I think). If the installer gives you that option and you chose the wrong one, you only have yourself to blame.

  45. jalf says:

    Kinda like “judged” more than “Wot” thing.

    I don’t

  46. DigitalSignalX says:

    Using the single player offline hack you can find on public tracker sites has made it a *much* better game by removing GFWL. Fuck microsoft.

  47. Frosty840 says:

    I played through on the difficulty above normal and was rather distressed to find that the cover system is essentially broken, seeing as every weapon seems to be able to destroy it. Terminator armour, especially, seeing as that can just walk through cover.

    Buildings were no better. Whenever I put anyone in a building (A) They couldn’t fire at anything (B) It immediately exploded and everyone inside died.

    But, what with them being Space Marines, I pretty much just stomped on everything right through to the boss battles. At which point I would grow increasingly bored watching the cycle of near-instant 90% wipes, area-of-effect heals and hasty retreats, each time managing some pitiful amount of damage on the boss.

    Just played what looked like the final mission earlier in the morning and literally got to the boss without losing more than ten guys, and then wiped within ten seconds, meaning I had to restart the mission. Couldn’t face it.

  48. Rich_P says:

    Heh, the way people describe it, DoWII sounds more like an MMO than an RTS (but aren’t most MMOs just RTS games where you control one unit?)

    I’d like to see DoWII scaled to a full-blown MMO — emphasis on PvE, teamwork, and controlling a small handful of units. Spellcasting in particular would be more interesting with an RTS camera and control scheme: cast stone wall and definite its outline using the cursor. /off topic

  49. Red Yama says:

    I had a similar conversation with the fellow I play coop with. That’d be an MMO i’d actually play.

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