Dawn Of War II Demo On Steam

By Jim Rossignol on April 16th, 2009 at 11:33 am.


I mean you can download it from other sources, but you’d still need Steam to play it. So you might as well download it on Steam. Of course that only really matters if you haven’t already bought and played DoWII anyway, which I know a few of you haven’t, because at least one of you has been asking me whether the single player is really worth full-price game money. You’d have hoped our extensive judgments on the game might have counted for something, but this demo now means you can decide for yourself with 333mb of Marines vs Orks.

What do you think, RTS veterans, should Andrew buy Dawn Of War II? (If he hasn’t already.)

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38 Comments »

  1. Heliocentric says:

    Had technical difficulties with the beta was going, so i waited for a demo just to make sure it’d work on my pc.

    Slow steam download is slow.

  2. Severian says:

    Tough call. I bought it from GoGamer (~$35) just for single player. I thoroughly enjoyed the campaign: I felt the tension of the storyline, I indulged in the geeky joy of level progression and item collection, I embraced the base-less tactical combat with wholehearted aplomb. I DID find the re-use of maps a bit putting off (jungle, desert outpost, city) but the maps themselves allowed for a great deal of tactical thinking. Since I played on the 2nd toughest difficulty level, I actually had to think about going into battle and regularly lost (i think I maybe won 50% of my “defense” challenges). The boss battles were a tad annoying at times, but necessary. I never felt like combat got TOO repetitive, mostly because I’d be trying out a new piece of equipment (“hmmm… how well does this Flamer work on Tyrranids?”. All in all, the single-player campaign felt polished, was easy to pick-up-and-play, and at times provided some absolutely astonishingly good “gaming moments”. I was sad when it ended.

    OTOH: I’ve bounced into a few multiplayer skirmishes, including against the computer and a couple against real people. The match-making service seems to work well. But… I just don’t like the game very much. Like all RTS’s, it’s so “hurry, hurry”. I never learn hot-keys, so I’m not one of those guys that will ever memorize the precise timing of a build-queue (?). It just seemed to strip away the patient tactical consideration of the single-player game that is the strength of the game. I’m sure that strong tactics definitely helps in multiplayer, but it’s not my cup of tea. I’ll probably play through the campaign again someday rather than move into multi-player.

    Overall, I got a good month of playing DoWII just for the campaign (I’m pretty patient about not rushing through a game). For $35, I’d have to say that the entertainment was worth it. But I do wish there was another campaign to play (from the Tyrranid persepctive, for ex.) and/or a greater variety of maps. Will I pay $20-30 for an expansion? Probably not.

  3. ouch says my games partition says:

    The demo seems to require a little more than 10x the 333MB quoted above. More akin to an Endless Bear than a solitary Peggle, methinks.

    Then again, I don’t have room to install it without shuffling, so I could be wrong, as usual.

  4. eot says:

    meh, 25% off is too little
    just put it down to 50% and you get my money instead of getting no money at this pricepoint

  5. Rei Onryou says:

    I haven’t bought it simply because I’ve got 14 games on my shelf that have been there since Christmas and Birthday, plus umpteen Steam games. Why buy it expensively just to have it sit around, when I can buy it when I’m ready to play for cheaps!

  6. Albides says:

    I’m waiting for the inevitable expansions (expandalones?) first, preferrably with my beloved eldar in it. By that time, it will either be bundled with the original, or the original will be cheap enough for me to pick up without hurting my budget-conscious conscience.

  7. Helm says:

    It’s a fun game for a while if one doesn’t pay a lot of money for it I think. Even with the tactical considerations that have been underlined it’s not a game without merits and for what it is worth it’s attempting something different in the rts field so perhaps yes, buy it (a bit later when the price has dropped).

    Or yeah, wait for a few expansions!

  8. l1ddl3monkey says:

    It keeps CTD’ing on my rig for some reason and always – and I mean ALWAYS – right at the end of a level when I’m fighting the final challenge boss character thingy.

    What I have played of it (and I reckon I’m maybe half way through) is brilliant and thoroughly WH40K; but until someone makes it stop crashing I’m not playing any more for a while.

  9. Mort says:

    This is the third or fourth time there´s DoW talk here at RPS, so that´s got to count for something.

    I only played single player (not a multiplayer guy) and it´s worth it, especially if you have a computer that can run with good details. It´s like the intro to DoW 1, only it´s not a video and you´re playing it.

  10. Richard Beer says:

    I really enjoyed DoW 2. It certainly has its downsides, as mentioned in the original RPS review: the maps are very repetitive after a while, and I find it baffling that they didn’t put more effort into a little variety.

    However I got a real kick out of the RPG elements and constant drops of phat lewt. They genuinely changed the game, and my tactics accordingly, as I evolved to cope with with the equipment I had and the opponents I was facing. I didn’t stick with the same squads throughout, but learned to mix them (and their equipment) up to suit my objectives.

    In terms of atmosphere it was bang on. I used to collect WH40K figures and all that 20 years ago, and I felt they really nailed the spirit of the universe. It brought back some fond memories.

    By the end of my SP campaign (on Patriarch, the hardest difficulty level) I was winning nearly every fight with ease because I’d been forced to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each unit along the way, and whilst things were getting a little repetitive I really did miss the game once I’d finished it, if you get what I mean. I wanted to take it further and stay with the characters longer.

    Anyway, I haven’t tried MP yet – I don’t really like MP RTS on the whole – but the SP alone was worth hours of hugely enjoyable shootiness and made a nice change of pace from the traditional, base-building RTS model.

  11. mister k says:

    mm, will have to download demo. Would have bought on day 1 if I was sure my laptop could run it. We shall see, we shall see…

  12. jalf says:

    I don’t get why they put the weakest component of th egame in the demo.

    Co-op is a ton of fun, multiplayer is cool. And they make a singleplayer demo. Morons.

    Making a demo with a single mid-game level that can be played sp or co-op, would do more to boost sales than any number of singleplayer demos.

  13. Dan Harris says:

    @Andrew:

    Yes, you should. You get to kill things with a sword that has a chainsaw attached.

  14. Jeremy says:

    I think I expected more out of DoW 2, it didn’t really capture my attention for very long unfortunately, that might be saying more about my current gaming tastes than any problems with the game though. That being said, it is still a very well made game and the drops are actually kinda awesome. Single player dried up for me pretty fast, a lot of the missions are repetitive, and there aren’t enough “events” that happen to really mix it up. Multiplayer is going to be what makes a person continue to play the game, and computer skirmishes just aren’t really very dynamic or exciting, in short, human opponents are always better. So, if you’re in to multiplayer RTS, then I would say you should lean towards purchasing this game. However, if you’re more interested in the single player aspect, then it isn’t a necessary purchase until the price drops to that 30 currency units mark.

    Random question, has anyone ever had a drop for Avitus? That poor guy has the most useless weapon ever. Also, any better sniper rifles?

  15. Snappyterm says:

    I’ll agree with earlier comments about the length of the singleplayer. I suspect my market isn’t as niche as some may assume, if I say I never really touch the multiplayer portions of an RTS (or games in general really). It would have been nice if there was more content for the offline-focused among us. Still, what was there, I enjoyed.

  16. Po0py says:

    I tried the first demo, the one that had the full game for a limited time. Couldn’t get into it. There was no tutorial or guide for anything and I just felt overwhelmed with the whole thing. Or maybe it’s just that I’m retarded.

  17. Vinraith says:

    Downloaded it, played it for about 30 minutes. First off, can I have some cheese and bread to go with this ham? Second, why has every real time “strategy” series completely abandoned the “strategy” part lately in favor of a sort of lazy barely-tactical action game with a cornball story and wooden characters?

    Anyway, this is a miserable excuse for a single player mode, alternating between painfully stupid and outright boring. I was leaning towards eventually picking this one up just because I adore the universe and played the original DoW and all its expansions to death, but everything good about those games has been leeched out of this one.

  18. Heliocentric says:

    @Vin never mind the ham, it looks like you’ve had too much wine. :p

    I’m eager to see how this plays but i’ve got a feeling that its not coh enough.

  19. Radiant says:

    I love playing this game.
    Although I haven’t played it in multiplayer.

    The re-use of maps does grate a bit [come on really Relic? you don't think you can do more then 9 [?] maps?] but the sheer whoosh bang of it all is lovely.
    It really is a game that loses some of it’s charm when you turn the graphics down. Whack up the difficulty, whack up the graphics and it’s ridiculously meaty.

    Btw how useful is the flamer? I used it once at a lower level and got creamed.
    Also anyone else seem to think your force commander equipped with a jump pack or teleport seems a bit cheaty? Just me?

  20. Danarchist says:

    Ah cmon you cheap buggers its not that much money! I really enjoyed the heck out of it but for some reason it wont run on my much more powerful laptop. In fact if i install it on my laptop my video goes all screwy and my built in mic quits working?!?!
    Anyways best 50 bucks I have spent since my last trip to Jigglys.

  21. Thants says:

    Vinraith: There’s always Supreme Commander.

  22. Jim Rossignol says:

    (Men of War!)

  23. Radiant says:

    @Jeremy I got this MONSTER gun for Avitus, it almost literally eats things, which really took the shine off of bringing along Cirus to snipe the bigger beasts.

    Leave Avitus at the back with the medi packs and use Tarkus and his guys as a moving, grenade throwing, screen whilst your melee troops go to work up top.

    The only issue is that without a scout you ALWAYS ‘accidently’ walk into a big giant mess.

    Tons of fun.

  24. Ginger Yellow says:

    I love the single-player, despite the repetitiveness. It’s Diablo with squads, for heaven’s sake! But the multi-player really left me cold. It’ll take a lot to supplant CoH.

  25. Vinraith says:

    @Heliocentric

    Hell, you’re probably right, I was just really disappointed. On the up side, at least they gave me a demo so I could learn how much I dislike the game for free. Back to Soulstorm I go.

    @Jim Rossignol

    Is MoW really that much better? I dabbled with the demo and it appeared to be just as tied up in its (terrible) story as many RT”S” games these days. I really miss strategy games that were more interested in strategic context than narrative context (see the Close Combat series, Rise of Nations, or even the latter DoW expansion packs with the metamap campaigns). When I lose a mission I don’t want to replay it, I want to get pushed back and have to fight to regain the momentum. I want victories and losses to mean something other than “I get to see another cut scene and be treated to more awkward dialogue.”

    I dunno, maybe I’m just a dying breed of strategy gamer.

  26. Severian says:

    @ Jeremy: Random question, has anyone ever had a drop for Avitus? That poor guy has the most useless weapon ever. Also, any better sniper rifles?

    Yes, and yes but they both took a while. I eventually equipped Avitus with a Pulse Cannon that was of great help against both mobs and bosses.

    Force Commander + Thunderhammer + JumpPack = Thor + good times

  27. Ginger Yellow says:

    Well, there’s always Total War.

  28. Severian says:

    @ Vinraith

    When I lose a mission I don’t want to replay it, I want to get pushed back and have to fight to regain the momentum. I want victories and losses to mean something other than “I get to see another cut scene and be treated to more awkward dialogue.”

    I dunno, maybe I’m just a dying breed of strategy gamer.

    Well said and I absolutely agree. However, I have also found that in single-player, scripted RTS battles are nearly always far superior to the typical “skirmish” vs. AI. I wish more dynamic campaigns incorporated designed battles or perhaps “procedurally-generated” strategic events that made me feel like I was fighting a “real” war. I think Rise of Legends tried this, and it worked to a certain degree.

  29. Vinraith says:

    @Severian

    Sounds good to me. In many ways that’s the natural evolution of the subgenre, but since the subgenre seems to be dead it’s stopped evolving. :(

  30. Gorgeras says:

    Total War is the only strategy series I can think of where battles have that feel to them. I used to get very frustrated when I lost because I still had the attitude towards of it as a normal RTS: you lose, you quit and play something else.

    Getting used to the idea that losing isn’t always losing has made me much more critical of other RTS games where losing means either quitting or doing it all again like we’re back in 1994. I use quick save in these games more than I do any FPS. Sending massive cheap peasant and militia armies at en route Mongols knowing that the point isn’t to win but to inflict enough damage that they can’t possibly take Jerusalem from me gives the moustache-pinching feeling I don’t get from Warcraft clones.

    In related news: bought Demigod and bloody hell, it’s more Dawn of The Ancients than Dawn of The Ancients; with expensive special effects and smaller maps. The Unclean Beast will probably be nerfed, if only because he sounds like dirty innuendo.

  31. Vinraith says:

    @Gorgeras

    Total War isn’t really an RTS series at all, though a lot of people seem to think it is. It’s a grand strategy game with a combat resolution system that happens to be real time. Basically all grand strategy games have the kind of strategic context I’m talking about (from EU3 to Gal Civ 2 to Civ 4 and so on). It’s certainly one reason I’m an avid Total War fan, though, and an avid grand strategy fan in general.

    I suppose I should have said “I suppose I’m a dying breed of real time strategy gamer.” The temptation is to declare that strategy is disappearing from real time strategy games, but that’s a level of dickish judgementalism I’ve not quite reached. I get the sense at least some of these titles still have real depth to them, it’s just not a kind of depth I can appreciate.

  32. Lintman says:

    I’m a single-player-only guy and really enjoyed the original Dawn of War series – especially the last two expansions with the strategic campaign maps.

    But, DoW2 was a serious disappointment for me. The base-less missions are short and you can’t save mid-mission, the timer encourages you to rush through them, there’s not much story, and the strategic map is gone, replaced by something that *looks* similar but has none of that gameplay.

  33. arqueturus says:

    Jim you cheeky devil :)

    I’ve not bought yet but I’ve got the SP demo downloaded so we’ll see.

  34. Weylund says:

    Cripes, now I’m going to have to find and reinstall one of my copies of Close Combat. Fine game, that. The campaigns in Combat Mission had a similar (and slightly more organic) feel to them. Maybe I’ll dust off Beyond Overlord instead. Options, options… as long as you’ve got a huge catalogue of 10-year-old games.

    DoW2: I bought it, played it, liked the shinies, hated the MP. I’ve been considering building a skirmish mod for it, trying to recapture the feel of the SP (or tabletop for that matter), but keep finding that I’ve got better things to do. Overall verdict? “Meh.”

  35. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    That was a really meaty demo. I think I’d like a game that balanced the inventory management and scope of men of war and the squady-ness and ease of command of DoW2. How many more missions are there in the full DoW2? And do I really need GFWL to play the SP?

  36. psyk says:

    “How many more missions are there in the full DoW2?” Not played the demo but the thing that annoyed me about the full game is you have to fight on the same maps over and over again doing the exact same thing gets boring fast.

  37. malkav11 says:

    Heh, how could strategy disappear from a genre that was never long on it to begin with? ;)

    I dunno. I find that given the generally somewhat shallow and micromanagey gameplay in RTSes, I crave strong scripting and storytelling to provide engaging context for shepherding my little mans.

    I’d like a bit more of that in all of the Dawn of War titles since Winter Assault, but they at least provide a pleasing overlay with a few strategic considerations. Men of War is probably the only RTS I’ve encountered where I could see playing skirmishes entirely devoid of scripting or storyline and still enjoying myself completely, simply due to the depth of simulation.

  38. sigma83 says:

    Repetition is repetition only if you always approach the situation with the same tactics. Try more melee. Try more ranged. Try more subtlety. Bring the dreadnought. The amount of tactical depth makes the game hella fun.