Wot I Think: Dawn of War II

Dawn of War II, sequel to Relic’s much-expanded Warhammer 40,000 RTS, was released to shelves and fat pipes just a few days ago. After a long weekend snuggling up to it, here’s wot I think of its explodey delights.

According to the Sacred Creed of games writers who genuinely care about games writing, it is not the done thing to dedicate several paragraphs of a review to a game’s graphics and sound. Books shall not be judged by covers, pop bands not by their singers’ facial hair and a man not by what socks he is wearing. When it comes to Dawn of War II however, it’s incredibly difficult not to dwell obsessively on its excellent aesthetics. Once in a while, it’s fine to be shallow.

Dawn of War II is one of very few (perhaps even the only) strategy games I’ve played in which I could swear blind those little guys are truly fighting. They’re not just going through the motions, falling over at the right moments and flailing with intangible swords at a handful of pixels somewhere near their target. This is proper, meaty carnage. Melee troops collide with bone-crunching thuds, grenades scatter corpses outward in an orbiting ring of death that smashes through walls and vegetation, while dozens of subtle,tiny animations grant your troops a visible grim resolve: men fighting and responding to the fight, rather than robotically awaiting your instruction. Its graphics are not especially high-tech – instead they’re precise, artful, thoughtful and absolutely Warhammer 40,000.

Even when playing the fortieth near-identical mission in DOW2’s oddball but extraordinarily compulsive singleplayer game, the ennui was kept at bay by the simple, giddy joy of coolly cueing up and then watching the stunning slaughter. This is a game that lives up to the auto-mythology of Space Marines: the brutality and invulnerability the fiction has always claimed of these quasi-religious, ultra-militaristic warrior-fanatics, but that they’ve so rarely displayed in any game adaption, whether on the tabletop or on the screen.

In DOW2’s single player, a small handful of Blood Ravens can manfully hold off a veritable horde of Orks or Tyranids: in the course of one level, your dozen-odd men will decimate hundreds. While in DOW1 they were common, dispoable grunts, here each and everyone one of them is Schwarzenegger in power-armour. Or Terminators in Terminator armour, to recklessly mix a couple of fictions.

In multiplayer, they’re much closer to their more lightweight DOW1 incarnation. That they’re such powerhouses in singleplayer is key to how that mode works and suceeds, and how it differs from both DOW1 and from the rest of the genre to which it in theory belongs. The Diablo comparison has come up often, but it’s perhaps a little closer to Dungeon Siege. You’ve a party rather than a character, and there’s a reasonable degree of autonomy to them. Not that they’ll win the day left to their own devices, but each of your four squads (chosen each mission from a pool of six) can generally hold the line until you hop over to them and activate one of their joyously devastating special attacks.

It’ll be interesting to hear what favourite units you lot settled on: it seems to me that the spectacular allure of the rocket-jumping Assault Marines (wooosh-BAM!) and, eventually, the gloriously cataclysmic Dreadnought is so much that, like me, you’ll find yourself neglecting some perfectly capable but less exciting squads. Thanks to canny balancing, each squad is of equal usefulness of the field – the snipey, frail Scouts are as lethal as several tons of armoured mech if you use ’em right – so it really does come down to playing favourites.

Not that it matters. The reason to play is to entertain yourself, and ascertaining the attack combinations that both deal out the most damage in the quickest time and most delight your eyes is the lynchpin of that. In singleplayer it is an action-RPG more than it is an RTS, but surprisingly the desire for more experience points and loot isn’t its backbone. Part of that is that you know in advance what the main reward for each mission will be. This neatly removes the obsessive hunt for stuff during the mission. You know full well you’re going to get that shiny prize anyway, so you can relax and enjoy the fighting that much more.

Bar a few attempts at scripted boldness in the game’s twilight hours, that every mission plays out the same is a glaring and baffling problem. Carve through a swarm of Eldar, Orks or Tyranids, restocking on special attack ammo and fallen troops en route, then fight a boss creature with a ton of hitpoints and a couple of area of effect abilities. Again and again. It only works because it looks and feels so splendidly visceral. Basically, it’s appealing to the same part of the brain that makes otherwise clever people watch 24: things get killed, stuff goes boom and there’s always some new menace waiting in the wings. But while Kiefer Sutherland has arguably outstayed his frowning welcome after seven years of torturing foreigners, this is lean enough to get away with what’s otherwise really short-sighted design. Inevitably there’ll be an expansion pack, but Relic simply cannot get away with another campaign along the same lines.

As it is, the nearly tactictless singleplayer mode is going to outrage anyone who appreciated DOW1 for its strategy rather than its fiction. You’ll fall into a pattern of special attacks (wooosh-BAM!) so devastating that there’s really no need to experiment with anything else. It’s a real shame you can’t change the difficulty between missions; partway through, Medium was generally a bit too easy for me, but I didn’t want to start over and thus abandon all the cool kit I’d collected. It’d work a bit better if, rather than being 15-odd hours of progression, it was something you could drop into to have a capsule Warhammer 40,000 experience whenever you wanted and on the terms and difficulty you wanted. Something like Left 4 Dead, really. Today I want a hardcore challenge, but tomorrow I might just want to blitz through for giggles.

The multiplayer itself I found to be weirdly less engaging. It’s a curious hybrid of DOW2’s enjoyably shallow and simplistic singleplayer and DOW1’s traditional commanding and conquering, and comes up a bit lacking on both counts. It shares the singleplayer’s wondrous explosiveness, but not the invincibility you feel when you’re decking dozens of AI Tyranids. The Company of Heroes-derived cover system, something that’s often entirely optional in singleplayer, grows in importance hugely, and vehicles enter the fray properly, so it’s bound to be a big hit in online-land. It’s just that, with the limited troop numbers and types and the hugely reduced base-building, it feels so short on scale after DOW1’s cruder but titanic mass-clashes.

I do enjoy the multiplayer, and especially that it’s so setup for co-op play, but I’m simply not compelled to play it as I am the singleplayer. It feels so obviously compromised, as though it’s not where the developers passions lay. The singleplayer suggest Relic are keen to expand their hitherto strategy-only repertoire, to make something new and different, but the multiplayer feels almost like grudging fan service. Again, the approach the expansions take will be fascinating. Simply more factions will be the obvious approach (the Imperial Guard make a few cameos late in the singleplayer, incidentally), but a smarter one may be to grow the game as a whole.

Dawn of War II is equal parts success and failure. The former ends up winning through by a comfortable margin: it may be as shallow as High School Musical, but just like that it knows it, and moreover exactly what it’s doing. In short, sharp doses it’s as outright entertaining as either any RTS or any Diablolike has ever been. Often, it’s more so: wooosh-BAM! never gets old.

It’s also the best realisation of Warhammer 40,000’s maximalist dark sci-fi I’ve ever had the pleasure to clap geeky eyes upon. Incredibly well-presented, brief cutscenes and talking heads consistently remind you of the war-torn universe you’re frolicking in, and the narrowed focus and scale compared to DOW1 makes it seem like a genuine slice of 40K lore. Its predecessor, by comparison, always seemed like a Greatest Hits of Warhammer 40,000: plenty of colour and variety, but weirdly out of context, our favourite units dancing for us artificially. This, however is pure 40k. In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future there is only War. And wooosh-BAM!


  1. Echo says:

    “In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future there is only War. And wooosh-BAM!”
    Love it.

  2. cyrenic says:

    I actually thought the multiplayer was fantastic. But then I hate too much basebuilding and I’m terrible at micro managing lots of troops. So maybe it was right up my alley :).

  3. fulis says:

    makes me want a new Myth game

  4. Premium User Badge

    ChaosSmurf says:

    Thanks Alec, you pretty much said what I’ve been trying to. And a little more positively. It probably didn’t help that the version I played seemed to be bugged in that there came a point where every day I would have to defend 3 territories and thus could not complete the campaign (or I didn’t get it and I wasn’t supposed to defend everything possible).

    And the multiplayer … god it’s complex eh? I mean jesus. Did they add a tutorial in the retail or is it as utterly baffling as the beta?

  5. Feet says:

    See, now I’ve read this and KGs EG review and you both discribe the SP as more a Diablo style RPG than an RTS, I’ll probably pick this up once I upgrade the PC. I’m rubbish at realtime strategy, but if this is more Diablo than C&C then I’m definately interested.

    And I find that you communicate the impression the game gave you excellently Alec. A pleasure to read, so thanks for that. :)

  6. Mike says:

    At first, I did feel that the MP was a little underscaled. But a good Tyranid opponent can still cook up something visually impressive. And a 3v3 with one team composed entirely of Tyranids is utterly amazing.

  7. Dude says:

    On the SP, frankly it seems that you played on a too easy difficulty Alec, I play captain I think (just below Primarch) and the challenge is their, no instant “I win” special effect as they are not game winner and marines do not seems to be that tough as you describe if you don’t pay attention.
    As this “The Company of Heroes-derived cover system, something that’s often entirely optional in singleplayer” well, if you ignore it in SP on captain level you will have some (bad) surprises, like your devastator squad dying all too quickly.

    Favorit unit, hum I like the assault but they efficiency is greatly reduce against the tyranids, scouts I love for their sniper ability, one shoot to kill synapse, squad leader, annoying grav platform is always good.
    I want to like the tac marines but so far they are not as good as they wish they could be, I used them as a tossing grenade, absorb damage squad… Ho the FC is great!
    I haven’t got the dread yet but I am pretty sure it will be an auto include once I get him!

  8. Red Yama says:

    I must say, if you play the campaing on Primarch difficulty it’s a lot more rewarding tactically. Lethality is high across the board, you need to use cover and all your abilites to make it through. The assault squads and dreadnaught are much less useful, as they get cut down shortly after a jump or charge. Scouting, demo charges, blinding and suppression are the way forward.

  9. Steve says:

    I thought the multiplayer was pretty terrible from the beta.

  10. Subject 706 says:

    I actually think the SP is not at all shallow if you play on harder difficulty levels. Play it on primarch (I do) and cover becomes super important. So does utilizing each of your squads together. Agree with dude that tac marines seem strangely underpowered though.

  11. mrmud says:

    The multiplayer is wonderful. The fact that there is no basebuilding is refreshing as it allows you to spend more time doing what is actually fun, fighting!

    It is also significantly less easy on the harder difficulty levels.

  12. Alex says:

    And still bolters sound an behave like autoguns. No Pop-Swoosh-Boom… just dakka-dakka-dakka. But I´m definately looking forward to playing this, as I love shallow single player gameplay… just the right thing for my puny brain.

  13. Red Yama says:

    Tac marines don’t do much damage until you get better gear for them, I tend to use them as meatshields to draw fire while the FC/scouts/devastators do the killing. With lots of points in health/energy they take a lot of hits, even on primarch.

  14. Dominic White says:

    I rememeber when every RTS largely stuck to the same formula, and their evolution was more a process of updates with shinier graphics and more unit variety.

    We’re past that now. DoW2 isn’t a logical incremental upgrade over the previous game, or even easy to fit into the current genre as we know it. It is going to (and already is, from a cursory glance around the internet), going to piss a lot of people off. I’ve seen almost equal amounts of ‘This is the most horrible thing ever and it made me piss blood out of my eyes’ and ‘This is exactly what the RTS genre needed’ out of the multiplayer beta.

    Videogames are, like it or not, getting more subjective and focused. Game reviewers are going to have to adapt.

  15. Dan Harris says:

    Guaranteed to make me swear loudly:

    “Devastators engaged in melee!”

  16. bansama says:

    *sigh* I’d love to buy this game. I’d import it, but I don’t want to risk THQ pulling another SR2 and regionally locking the CD keys (same reason I don’t want to risk having it gifted over Steam, until someone can confirm it’d actually be playable). Oh well, ****ed by yet another publisher who apparently doesn’t want access to my abundant supply of money.

  17. unique_identifier says:

    i wasted quite a few hours on the multiplayer beta… alas, the campaign just doesn’t grab me. stumble into clumps of passive foecritters, start some horrid wow-like boss fight, curse because you forgot to press 1-m in time (the strategy!), get a poor score.

    maybe i’ll have to wait for the next diablo iteration for that next mouse-breaking mindless single player romp

  18. c-Row says:

    I will wait for a demo version to try it before. Stripping everything I loved the first DOW for doesn’t sound like a good idea, and even after watching various videos online, I am still not convinced.

    And is it just me or did some of the earlier screenshots of the city battlefields look much better than the actual footage does now?

  19. Alec Meer says:

    Yes, I’m going to go back to it on a higher difficulty. As I say, I would have really liked to be able to bump up the challenge mid-campaign

  20. Okami says:

    In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future there is only wooosh-BAM! should totally be Warhammer 40.000’s new marketing phrase!

  21. AK says:

    >aesthetics. Once in a while, it’s fine to be shallow.

    pish. Gameplay over gfx is a reasonable but increasingly outdated reaction to the long drought of the nineties. We have indie games for gameplay now. Aesthetics are important. No-one rubbishes ‘Barry Lyndon’ for being all about the look of the thing. No-one not stupid.

    Anyway you’re spot-on about the gfx. Their unflashiness makes them easy to overlook. I played the beta enough to get used to them, and then I went back to DoW I last night because I missed its more measured atmosphere. At first I thought the video settings must be out or something. It looked painfully primitive by comparison.

  22. AK says:

    If the Blood Ravens are all about the secret knowledge, how come none of the silly fuckers bar Cyrus know what Tyranids are? Too many blows to the head?

  23. Dominic White says:

    It wouldn’t be secret knowledge if they went and told everyone, would it?

  24. Alex says:

    @AK… An open mind is like a fortress, with its gates left unbarred and unguarded. You know too much, you´ll either get killed by some high-ranked Imperial guy or you lose your mind and retreat to a deep wet hole to gibber the rest of your unfortunate life. So… better be igorant, or you die.

  25. Andrew says:

    Absolutely loving the singleplayer, the repetition of which isn’t bothering me too much. I’m on Captain difficulty and am very near the end of it, I think, though I didn’t do that many optional missions. I just attempted a mission where I have to take down an Avatar of Khaine, but Jesus! That thing has 250,000hp! I mean, really? I whittled him down to 169,000, after using all my call-in artillery stuff including orbital bombardment, over the course of about 10 minutes, then quit because fuck that shit. First time I’ve felt the game was just… untested. I’ll do another less crazy mission perhaps.

    I love the multiplayer too. I wish there were more maps, but it doesn’t feel underdeveloped at all – the sides are genuinely different and it all works really well. Also even in a game that I lose, I tend to have fewer casualties as space marines than in the harder campaign missions. 30 losses is a high number of a space marine player in multiplayer, they’re just as tough as they are in the campaign (fewer special abilities tough).

  26. Charlie says:

    Yeah I found them unbelievably naive. I mean I only have a slight knowledge of 40k really but they know less than I do! Anyway it seems to easy to me too so if anyone does know of a way to crank up the difficulty without restarting it would be much appreciated.

    Also, tac marines seem a lot more useful with terminator armour and a flamer :D. They mow through tyranids.

  27. PHeMoX says:

    “makes me want a new Myth game” Yeah, that 3rd screen with the skeletons reminds me of it as well. Myth was awesome… Bungie used to be awesome, before Microsoft snagged them and forced them to make 3 Halo games. I want another Oni game as well, but I fear chances are slim it’ll ever get made.

  28. Andrew says:

    Oh, and my favourite units are the Tactical Marines, Devastators, and Scouts. They come on most missions. The Assaults can be useful but die VERY quickly in the wrong situations particularly as they’re often not in cover when such a situation arises. The dreadnought is powerful but a single enemy anti-vehicle unit makes it useless until the AV has been neutralised so I haven’t used it much.

  29. CakeAddict says:

    I really love the singleplayer with those rpg elements, the only shame I find is that you play the same 6 maps over and over and over.

    I’ve only played 1 skirmish so far it was okay not like the dawn of war 1 but I kinda like this sort of simplicity and I’ll be able to drag some more friends into this game.

    Favourite units? The bolter squad, I simply love heavy weapons that you need to set up. (like the mg’s in CoH)
    And Woosh-Bam for their jump attack and they are quite lethal.. although they tend to die the most to.
    Haven’t got the dreadnought yet although I’m sure I’ll use it most of the time since I liked them a lot in dawn of war1 simply because of how they killed.

  30. Echo4Mike says:

    I found that the combat in single player was more accurately a set of unique set pieces, and made me finish missions much more slowly than the XP screen at the end of missions would prescribe. Especially the first few Tyranid missions – I’d wipe something out, step back, regroup, and plot out the next – to the point where I was getting the same rewarding rush that I got in Mass Effect combat. (It might have been that Mass Effect was making combat more fun by making the rest of the game so damn boring)
    And to the commenter that wanted another Myth – oh hell yeah. Black Company FTW!

  31. SwiftRanger says:

    The repitition and some odd mission difficulty spikes in the second half of the campaign (Captain difficulty) is wearing me down atm but it’s been very good fun already. They should build on this rather than the DC/SS campaign setup.

    I loved the multiplayer in beta but I like the campaign a lot more now. If Relic manage to tie the multiplayer (which IS enjoyable and well worked out in pure gameplay terms, and who doesn’t like those addictive metallic Army Painter colours? :) ) to more than just rankings/small visual rewards, let’s say to a persistent ‘conquer the universe’ mode, then they’ll be on to something.

  32. Iain says:

    I don’t think DoW2 is really any more repetitive than the original was – perhaps it’s more noticeable in DoW2 because you have more missions to play and because they’re only 10-20 minutes long, rather than requiring an hour or more at a time.

    Personally, I like the new mission structure, as it lets me just dip in and out when I have the odd half hour spare and still feel like I’m making some progress, and only having a few squads to play with makes the combat much more involving, as in the original DoW I’d inevitably just build up to the level cap and then send out two huge hordes of units swarming across the map, mopping up the AI.

    I also like that Relic were brave enough to make a game that was different to the original, not just DoW with Tyranids and slightly shinier graphics. Anything that’s likely to offend genre purists and fanboys gets my vote.

    And yes, I totally agree about the Assault Marines. They’re my favourite unit in the game by far.

  33. Morph says:

    40k? Easy difficulty? Short levels? Tyranids? This sounds brill. Let’s just hope my old PC can run it.

  34. Red Yama says:

    My favorites are the scout marines by far. While quite weedy at the start, once they get blind grenades and shotguns/flamers they really start to rock. You can stun a whole swarm of enemy, drop a satchel on their head and then mop up the survivors. The remote demo packs are even more spectacular, they kill anything smaller than a carnifex in one go. It’s a shame the corpses aren’t persistent like in DoW1 (though if I recall correctly they weren’t at launch, and htat was patched in), otherwise the maps would be full of xeno bits.

  35. Flappybat says:

    I really dislike the game, it removed everything I enjoyed from DoW 1 and CoH and didn’t add anything I liked. It’s got really mixed opinions with my friends too.

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

    Yet another review that doesn’t mention that the game ships with only 8 multiplayer/skirmish maps.

    Then again, I approach these games from a multiplayer perspective, single player can be a nice distraction, but multiplayer is where the meat of these games lies for me. I get the sense most RTS reviews are written from the opposite perspective.

    The core gameplay of DOW2 is awesome, but everything else about this title screams rush job. 8 multiplayer maps and a co-op campaign that feels tacked on and consists only of the single player campaign with one player controlling some of the units and the other person taking the rest.

    Relic has real talent, unfortunately the majority of their games feel half-baked. I would love see what they would do with the lengthy development cycles in the style of Blizzard.

  37. Turin Turambar says:

    Shacknews review said something along the lines of being a mix of DoW, CoH, Diablo and Syndicate. I think it’s a good description, the difference is that i didn’t like it so much. It’s a mix of all that but imo it feels inferior to every individual title which was an inspiration.

  38. Sam Combs says:

    Are 8 maps really that few? Most of the time it seems most everyone is playing the same one or two maps in most games (dust in Counterstrike is what comes to mind), so isn’t making more kind of a waste of time if very few people are going to play them? I can’t remember where I saw this, but some developer has used this argument before.

    That and DoW came with pretty powerful mapping tools, and if DoW II has the same, there should be at least a few good community maps.

  39. Hoernchen says:

    DoW1 had a story, it really felt like burn the heretic kill the mutant purge the unclean, while DoW2 is more like “oh, it’s map nr 3 again, just go left, advance to magic respawn point 1, 2, then go finish the big ugly shit err boss”. DoW2 could have been great, but then someone pushed them to release it too soon.

  40. mrmud says:

    Turin Turambar:
    With the exception of DoW(1) those are some of the best games of all time so not being quite as good as them isnt damning in my mind. However I do think DoW2 is better than the original Dawn of War, a game that I felt its redeeming feature was the atmosphere and general awesomeness of its WH40K rendition. And that particular part DoW2 does far better.

  41. Dave says:

    Has anyone tried co-op? Worth playing? Single player on medium is getting to be a bit of a grind, but I have no desire to start over at a higher difficultly, like some here are suggesting. Co-op would add some replayability at least.

    I find myself thinking “this will be great after an expansion” which is not exactly the reaction I was hoping for.

  42. JonFitt says:

    I thought the multiplayer beta was really good.

    I’m rubbish at multi-tasking and have always avoided online RTSs because of it. I play single player campaigns like a WW1 offensive: build troops get them all in position and then push.
    With so few troops I could easily handle juggling all of them, their upgrades and special abilities.

  43. Jeremy says:

    I am really enjoying the single player of DoW 2. Like Alec said, it really captures the fact that these guys are centuries old genetically enhanced super soldiers (although sometimes they can’t seem to shoot an Ork stuck on a wall 2 inches away). It really fits into the single player campaign well, and I think after some mission tweaking and storyline changes, an expansion could be something spectacular. Multiplayer was far less impressive to me, it doesn’t capture the big battle insanity which I think is almost requisite for multiplayer. To me, it wasn’t the lack of base building that kinda killed the MP experience, it was the reduction of scope and intensity. It is just gratifying to take a huge army and roll over the competition, but then again, maybe I just don’t “get it”. This isn’t about a huge scale battle, it’s about tactically holding points on a map. Maybe it just isn’t for me and I’ll have to wait for SC2 to get a MP package I’ll enjoy :)

    3 units that go on every mission, Assault Marine, Tac Marines and of course the Hero himself. After that I’ll rotate the Scouts and Devastator depending on the mission type. I don’t really have use for the Dreadnought unfortunately, for a heavily armored death machine, he’s not very resilient and doesn’t really get a place in my squad unless I’m supposed to kill a Hive Tyrant.

  44. Bobby says:

    The chapter as a structure does, but the current marines don’t necessarily. Secret knowledge has a way of getting piled up on old shelves. Once they identify the problem they do look up Tyranids references in their archives and it goes fine

  45. Ids says:

    One thing i didn’t like is that tatical squads didn’t have option to upgrade 7 people all ways 4. I feel like i was cheated in way. I hope through patching there be some improvements but it was great single player. It feels for point of view that made a great single player and kind of bad and good muliti player game. My favorite unit is heavy bolter squad

  46. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i found the multiplayer as revolutionary as the singleplayer tbh, such a literal base building and resource gathering concept that was a genre staple until now was a poor fit for both and i’m glad to see the back of them.

  47. Ginger Yellow says:

    I’ve got to say, having anticipated this game hugely, I’ve been quite put off by the reviews and my impressions from the beta. I find it hard to put my finger on it, but the beta just didn’t click in the same way that DoW1 and (especially) CoH did, and the reviews don’t give me much confidence that the singleplayer will either. Besides, I’ve got lots of games to catch up on from Christmas (and Streetfighter IV now), so it can wait till the next Steam sale.

  48. Zyrusticae says:

    I’ve liked the campaign, as shallow as it obviously is at times. I disagree with the idea that cover and tactics are not important, however. At least on Primarch difficulty, you cannot get away with being reckless or repeating the same tactics over and over again; often you will find yourself bereft of good cover to take advantage of, and often you will find yourself forced to use caution and forego the use of the Wooosh-BAM!, as sending them in unsupported results in INSTANT DEATH.

    Actually, I can’t stand Primarch difficulty. It feels awfully artificial in the way it just decreases the stats of your space marines while increasing the stats of everything else. I suppose there’s little else they could have done to make it more difficult, but I think some increased unit variety and perhaps bosses with faster-firing abilities would have been more interesting than warriors with venom cannons that OHKO even your toughest troops (seriously, what?). I guess it does make the sense of accomplishment that much better, but like Alec said, sometimes I just want to be able to sit back and enjoy the carnage, which is unfortunately impossible at that difficulty no matter how well-decked-out your space marines are.

    I’m thinking of trying a campaign on Sergeant (“normal”?) difficulty just to see how much more badass the space marines are. I’d probably even be capable of pretty reckless tactics on Captain considering all the crap I’ve gone through on Primarch…

    Also, I find I prefer the multiplayer side over that of CoH or DoW 1. Mostly because it isn’t overwhelming like those two games, what with the base and tech management and the sheer number of units involved and all that. Also, I find I quickly miss the easy squad access on the right side of the screen. Most wonderful UI innovation ever. EVAH.

  49. Dude says:

    @AK and Bobby
    I think Cyrus does refer an early encounter with Tyranids when he was serving in the deathwatch, a special unit composed of marines from all chapter potentially, its tasks being to track down xenos… So that’s probably why. At first I thought he was referring to the death company (for blood angel gone crazy) but it makes more sense now.

  50. Primar says:

    Although I’m enjoying the SP campaign in co-op so far, the main problem relates to the difficulty. Since me and my friend were playing the MP beta since a couple of days after it came out, we’ve had to put it on Primarch difficulty in order to get any kind of challenge out of it.

    While this mostly works fine during most missions, it gets really silly during end-of-mission boss fights, due to the fact that the bosses tend to 1 or 2-hit units. It’s silly to the point where there’s no tactics involved, we just have to send our squads in, do a bit of damage, then either mash retreat or use our Scouts to rez our squads, do a little bit of damage again, repeat.

    15 minutes of this irritated me no end, but any easier and we’d almost certainly just walk over anything that isn’t a boss without having to think.

    Multiplayer, I’m enjoying as usual. I’ve never been a big fan of “build a massive army then attack-move at their base” style of playing, so I find the small number of squads perfect. It’s all about getting the most out of your squads while making sure they survive, and cover/unit placement/unit counters play a much bigger role than they otherwise might.

    I personally like the VP-control system a lot more than the “stomp their base” system, since it practically forces players to engage in combat, as opposed to turtle in their base behind a wall of turrets then just throw superweapons at people. One complaint that puzzled me was about people retreating squads when they’re losing a battle – surely that’s the point? You’ve gained territory/the point, allowing you to push forward and expand.