Blood Ravin’ – The DOW2 Retribution Intro

That's what you get for worshipping a dead king

My, Dawn of War games have been an almost annual thing for nearly a decade now, haven’t they? I have no issue with that – any year with a bit of new Only War in it tends to be a better year for it. 2011 brings us Retribution, the second Dawn of War II expandalone and the first to make the Imperial ‘Impy Goo’ Guard a playable race in the sequel series.

In fact, it’s out next week, on March 3. I’m playing it at present, and at some point before then will arrange my thoughts on it into a series of syllables, real and invented, in order to convey some sort of opinion. In the meantime, here’s the intro video for the game. Short and chest-thumping, and very much in keeping with the proudly absurd bombast of the game.


For more, I can only suggest you experiment with the current open beta, which offers a pretty meaty taste of the multiplayer to all Steam users. If you’re not a Steam user, no you can’t play it and yes we probably got the 4000 word email you sent us about why you steadfastedly refuse to use it.

You can pre-order Retribution now, but you’ll need to decide which version you want:

* Tyranid Race Pack (THQ E-Shop Exclusive)

* Imperial Guard Race Pack

* Space Marine

* Chaos Space Marine

* Eldar

* Ork Race Pack (Steam Exclusive)

The middle four are also available on places like Steam and Direct2Drive. You get bonus loot and – hmm – abilities for the faction of your choice, but apparently it’s exclusive to pre-orders. There’s also a £40 deluxe retail version, which offers the whole kit and kaboodle (i.e. all the bonus wargear and skills), plus a poster. However, you might have to leave the house, or at least go to your letterbox, to get that.


  1. Creeping Death says:

    Places like amazon and have the collectors edition for £30. It’s what I’m opting for, same price as Steam with all the extra goodies!

    One thing that has me curious about this game, if you would be kind enough to inform me Alec… The single player, is it story driven like the previous DoW 2 games or is it more akin to Dark Crusades conquesty type map campaign?

    • Alec Meer says:

      I have been kidnapped by the sinister Dr Embargo until next week, I’m afraid.

    • Creeping Death says:

      Ah, that’s a shame. Oh well, looking forward to seeing the Wot I Think next week then!

    • Hikkikomori says:

      Ah, well, the £30 in Amazon makes it more appealing, same thing with TW Shogun 2 which I indeed bought as a special edition from Amazon.

    • westyfield says:

      Is he Doctor Zhivago’s evil twin?

    • Xocrates says:

      This preview: link to

      Suggests the campaign is story driven, but takes place on the same levels for all races.

    • imirk says:

      OH NOES! The Evil Dr. Embargo and his minion Enn Dee Eh(who is Canadian obv.)? Someone LIGHT THE BAT-SYMBOL!

    • Eightball says:

      Is there a link to the Amazon collector’s edition? I don’t see it on (America Edition).

    • bascule42 says:

      Did you know Doc Embargo is rather tickilish? Get him in the right place and you can do a +3 Leak Attack.

    • Shatners Bassoon says:

      I have waited long for this day. I still surf. For the Emperor. I still surf. Even in death I still surf!

    • Stompywitch says:

      CE pre-ordered, ready for a weekend of ONLY WAR :D

      Not sure whether I want to play the Orks or the Nids first, but that trailer did make me think about the SM’s.

    • Hirmetrium says:

      but I have not been! I played it in London with THQ not long ago.

      The campaign is not like Dark crusade, its more like Chaos Rising – with some of the mulitplayer mechanics bolted on and changed radically to be balanced for single player. You can mix it up a lot, choosing between heros and “honour guard” whom replace an entire hero with a squad, but you’ll always need your force commander/leader/commander/etc.

      Its linear, with a lot of scripted missions, with some missions repeating between races with their own twists.

      Also, all the “exclusive abilities” are tied to the exclusive wargear (since it grants them, duh, like master crafted grenades for the original).

      There is still cooperative too, so don’t worry about missing out on that.

      I’d say the campaign is faster paced and gets a lot bloodier and brutal sooner. Abilities come thick and fast, so its very enjoyable, and when you complete one race? You have another 5 to do!

      Last stand also has a new map, FYI.

    • subedii says:

      Man, why do you guys get hit with an embargo when IGN already have a review and video review public?

      I guess they cut a deal or something?

    • Stompywitch says:

      I know, I should have expected this, but IGN’s review basically tells me nothing.

      And I haven’t even been keeping up with the news about this one (Because I already knew I wanted it).

  2. Hikkikomori says:

    I know that the “multiple versions” marketing tactic is supposed to generate more sales, but is it just on me that it has the exact opposite effect? I feel that I will be missing out unless I pay the £40 so I will buy neither instead.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Pokemon! Gotta Catch ’em alll!

      Except pokemon’s thing was you could buy one and trade for the pokemon from the other version… this is some bastard child of that and pre-order exclusives…

      so, yea, you’re not alone in your thinking. I’ll buy a game where the game is 100% of what’s on offer, rather than some strange piece-meal of “bonus content” based on who/when/where I acquired it.

      It limits choice to which combo of bonus and “trusted” seller you want to take advantage of, rather than giving everyone the simple choice of “best price” to buy it from.

    • Chucrute says:

      It’s just a bunch of wargear. If you played any of the previous DOWII games, you’ll know that you are constantly upgrading and deleting your wargear, i don’t think you’ll miss anything. Buy the race pack that you like and have fun, that’s all.

    • mwoody says:

      But the text above specifically says “abilities” are included in this preorder bonus, so I dunno.

      To the above poster, I agree entirely. I hate preorder bonuses with a fiery passion, because I never enjoy the content I do get, but I mourn the absence of what I DON’T get endlessly. I doubt we’re alone, either: I know many gamers more neurotic still than myself, and so I doubt I’m the only one even in my little social group driven to distraction by this feeling of vague incompleteness.

      The only reason publishers still do this stupid crap is because it’s hard to enumerate statistically how many sales they’re losing.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      It’s a way how to donate money to the…uh…franchise you like.

      Those different packs have NO MEANING in this case – Single player is ridiculously rich even without them and these bonuses don’t apply for the multiplayer, which is the thing about this game that does last.

      So I pre-ordered the Imperial Guard pack, because I LUV guard & Inquisition. (Cheers to Dan Abnett !)

      Just because I like this feeling that in my copy of the game – guardsmen have lil’ something extra.

      Generally speaking – I agree with you – these separate packs are mostly stupidly done.

      Then, there are games that, in my opinion, could’ve been very successful with these – like Just Cause 2.

      I swear I’d buy every single DLC for JC2 they’d make – if it contained new missions.

      Instead, they just released DLCs containing things….. that you had to buy again in-game…… for a in/game currency awarded only for missions….. which there weren’t anymore as I’ve completed them all.


    • Reapy says:

      I think dow2 chaos rising had pre order war gear, but was unlockable via mods or some other such simple means for you to play with in your SP campaigns if you wanted, I imagine that it’ll be the same here, well mostly I think you can mod in whatever wargear you want I think, so technically you could probably recreate any ‘missing’ war gear via a mod as well anywho. Either way I don’t think it’s a big deal, just pick the race you like the most from previous games and give it a go.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      It’s worth noting that I’ve heard somewhere that, whatever version you buy, the edition extra items can be purchased later as DLC.

  3. Mr_Hands says:

    This. All of this. Looks (and is) tremendous.

    The pre-order bonuses are a little bit crazy, but I got the collector’s edition for $10 more, which, were it any other franchise, I’d be a little upset about, but DoW II (as its predecessor did) snaked its tentacles deep into the cockles of my insides.

    Beta is coming along swimmingly although I largely don’t play against humans because they’re smarter and better than me and when I lose I pitch a massive, unreasonable sulk. I love the feel of the Imperial Guard, and – yay – noise marines!

  4. Pijama says:

    I pre-ordered the Imperial Guard version… Didn’t know which to pick :[

    Hopefully won’t be any gamebreakers. I like having some wargear progression mmkay

  5. Afro says:


  6. coldvvvave says:

    I played about 150 games on Retribution beta 1v1.

    It was unbalanced.

    • iniudan says:

      The game is multiplayer tend more toward teamplay, for quite a few of the commander you choose are somewhat poor by themselves, game is mostly balanced for 3 vs 3.

  7. Iskariot says:

    I bought the Dawn of War 2 Gold Edition for 5 bucks and it is a good thing that I did. The graphics are very much improved, but the gameplay in single player stinks big time as far as I am concerned. It is extremely repetitive and unexciting. Your AI opponents stand around waiting most of the time until you decide to eliminate them via use power-cover-shoot-use power-cover-shoot etc etc ’till hell freezes over. And those bosses..ugggh, so repetitive.
    I had none of the exiting battles I had so often in DoW 1 with a great variety of units, full squads, a cool base and an aggressively map conquering AI. I played almost all of the DoW 2 campaign, but I just was so bored with it that I could not finish it and I never even touched the Chaos Rising Campaign expecting only more of the same tedium. I will buy this new addition when it is in the bargain bin.
    Mind you, I was not talking about the multi player. I am not very interested in that aspect of the game at all. But as far as the single player goes I’d choose DoW 1over DoW 2 everytime. I still play DoW 1. Gameplay wise it is far superior as far as I am concerned.

    • karhax says:

      The single player part of Chaos Rising is a lot better than DoW2.

      DoW 1 felt like playing skirmish mode over and over. Fighting the main stronghold of the enemy was fun though.

    • Iskariot says:

      “DoW 1 felt like playing skirmish mode over and over.”

      Yeah that is definitely true and for example making the bases non-persistent in Soulstorm was a very stupid move (and do not even mention the abysmal hovering flying units in SS). I am not without criticism as far as DoW 1 is concerned. It was not perfect, but still I wasn’t bored like I was with the campaign in DoW 2. And also skirmish (with skirmish AI mod) in DoW 1 was/is still much more fun for me than skirmish in DoW 2. I like having a base of operations that is also a great strategic objective and I like the much greater variety of units and full squads and larger maps. I was very disappointed with DoW 2 for those reasons.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Huh. I was already rather underwhelmed with the short-and-samey campaign of DoW1. Did it get better in the expansions or something?

    • Iskariot says:

      Well, like said the campaign in DoW 1 was more like a repeated skirmish. As far as I am concerned what made these repeated skirmishes itself still more interesting than the campaign in DoW 2 is the fact that the enemy was not just statically waiting to be slaughtered, but instead was actively seeking to conquer the map and destroy your base in exactly the same way you as the player were doing vice versa.
      But what is also important and of great added value to me is the fact that in DoW 1 you have a true base of operations that is a logical strategic target, that you have a greater general variety of units and more vehicles in particular, full squads, larger armies, larger maps etc.
      Everybody seems to have a disdain for base building these days, but I think it really ads strategic elements to a game. Crippling the enemies base and resources, cripples his troops and strategic options. That’s one of the most important and exiting parts of strategy. You can be devious, you can be sneaky, you can sabotage the enemies war efforts. I love making a comeback with fresh and upgraded troops and vehicles after an assault has gone awry. I love holding off the enemy with a few squads, while my main forces attack his base and the AI is forced to call his troops back. And I love researching too. DoW2 has lost all this. The gameplay feels dead, shallow and uninspiring to me.
      The campaign in DoW 2 to me didn’t feel like battling, more like puzzling. The levels are quite linear and although the graphics are nice, that makes them rather boring as far as I’m concerned. You follow your route to the obligatory boss and the enemies just wait for you like zombies. You move your soldiers from cover to cover, shoot, use ability, move, use ability, shoot, move, use ability etc. etc. etc. It doesn’t feel right to me and it bores me. I think compared to Dow 1 the game has gained some nice rpg features, but it also lost the addictive raw atmosphere of total war that was DoW 1.

      I’m probably an old fashioned guy, a gaming species on the brink of extinction. Skirmish possibly is still fun to do with your friends online, but off-line it totally s.u.c.k.s as far as I’m concerned. I played multiple skirmish battles and I suddenly noticed that I felt nothing while playing this game. I didn’t care about it at all, not like I cared and still care about it’s predecessor.

      Sorry for this long rant. :)

    • Vinraith says:


      For some reason everyone in this thread is saying “DoW 1 campaign” but really means “Dark Crusade campaign and/or Soulstorm campaign.” DoW1 base had a linear, scripted, by-the-numbers RTS campaign. I believe i Played a mission and a half before becoming insanely bored. I believe Winter Assault was a branching linear campaign, I never bothered with it. Dark Crusade was a Risk-style map with persistant bases and genuine, emergent strategy as you and the AI fought over the map. It also had stronghold missions and some attempts to interject story, whose successes varied wildly. Regardless, the DoW1 campaign and the Dark Crusade cmapaign bore no resemblance to one another. IMO, Dark Crusade’s campaign is one of the all time great RTS campaigns, I still play it now and again with the skirmish AI pack.


      DoW2’s campaigns are vastly more fun if played in co-op. I agree, though, that I wish Relic had tried to refine and improve Dark Crusade’s campaign structure rather than going back to linear storytelling.

    • Iskariot says:

      Vinraith, you are right. I liked Dark Crusade’s campaign structure best. I have played the Dark Crusade campaign with all the available races, twice. Soulstorm removed the persistent bases which was a big, big mistake, because it made defensive battles into an mind numbing repetitive chore. But I do not mind the DoW 2 campaign structure that much. Most of all what I do not like is the way you do the battles themselves. It doesn’t feel like raw RTS 40k warfare like in DoW 1, it feels like small scale RPG in which the enemies like zombies wait for you to attack them with your little band of heroes. And I hated those boring bosses at he end of each DoW 2 level, who just waited in one place for you to wear them down. And I miss the full squads, and the variety in vehicles, the larger maps, and most of all the base building and it’s strategic importance.

    • Vinraith says:


      Yeah, it’s not just a different game, it’s arguably a different genre. DoW2 more closely resembled an action RPG in some ways, which may actually explain why co-op makes for such a dramatic improvement. Coordinating small scale tactics can be fun, but it’s not remotely epic, and 40k really does cry out for an epic treatment.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Huh. Might pick up DoW Platinum sometime, then. (Soulstorm is generally not worth bothering with, right?) I rather liked the strategic map in Rise of Legends, even with all its flaws.
      Too bad there was a DoW Steam sale relatively recently.

    • Vinraith says:


      Yeah, you can safely skip Soulstorm, Dark Crusade is the best of the lot.

      You’ve played the original Rise of Nations, right? It did this kind of thing quite well too, and is a very different game than RoL.

    • Iskariot says:

      I would still want to own Soul Storm if I were you. True, it has flaws, like some sloppy texturing and modeling, its flying units, and the already mentioned non-persistent bases in campaign, but it also offers two new factions I found interesting and fun to play in skirmish. When I play skirmish I only play SS. The two new races are worth it, I think.
      The modding community offers texture fixes and many must have mods for SS too (like the superb Skirmish AI mod). This year alone several big mods for Soulstorm will see their release. So with the current price (as little as 7 bucks or even less. I bought a second copy for 5 euro) I would definitely buy it. I do not think you will regret it.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Only played the demo of Rise of Nations, didn’t like it much. Never was a fan of Age of Empires-style RTS games with twenty factions, six resources and hundreds of unit types.

    • malkav11 says:

      The original Dawn of War II campaign features mostly boring unscripted missions where you move from location to location clearing small squads of not terribly aggressive AI troops and then fight a boss, with a few exceptions. This was some fun in coop, but I’ve never gotten all that excited about repeating the experience. Chaos Rising makes every level scripted full of huge battles and exciting objectives, plus introduces the complication of corruption. I would recommend at least -trying- it. You may still not care for it – it’s still fundamentally RPG-lite gameplay with small squad tactics (though, honestly, I feel like this is more appropriate to the fluff about how overpowered space marines are than anything in DOW1 ever was). But it’s oodles better than the original. Since Retribution is expanding things to all of the races it offers, and widening the focus a bit (if you read previews, you can swap out heroes for an alternate more numerous but individually weaker squad, also get baseline troops for reinforcements), I’m confidently expecting it to be more fun still.

  8. Archonsod says:

    Pre-ordered the IG version cheap off D2D when they had one of those 25% off promo code sales. Quite liking the IG in the beta, hearing the Inquisitor shout out Monty Python quotes while calmly executing xenos scum is quite amusing.

  9. GenBanks says:

    Is DoW 2 Retribution multiplayer any closer to Company of Heroes than its predecessors in the DoW2 series?

    • Chris D says:

      It’s pretty much identical to the other DoW2 games only with some tweaks and more stuff

  10. fallingmagpie says:

    I bought Chaos Rising a few weeks back when it was on sale on D2D for about 4 quid, whacked the code in Steam, downloaded it, then got an email from PayPal saying my order had been rejected and they were refunding my credit card.

    But I already have the game.


    But I can’t play it, or Retribution, until I move back to the UK and have something more graphically powerful than my work laptop. Sadface.

  11. Alex Bakke says:

    This one even syncs up!

    link to

    I will never tire of the Five-Oh.

  12. pkt-zer0 says:

    A bunch of different pre-order exclusives? I’d hoped those’d remain console-exclusive.

    Also, article still missing the “NOTHING COMPARED TO STARCRAFT 2” tag. (Keepin’ the meme alive, one post at a time)

  13. Xocrates says:

    Didn’t the beta finish yesterday or somesuch? Said so on twitter and it vanished from my games list (I uninstalled it after the twitter message since I hadn’t been playing anyway, waiting for the full thing).

    I notice the full game is available for pre-loading however

  14. Vandelay says:

    Shit! Didn’t realise that this was out next week. I’ve still got to finish DOW2 and Chaos Rising! I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

    So far, I’ve reached the Angel Forge mission and thinking I must almost be there. I’m enjoying the single player so far, but it can get quite repetitive. Most of the levels just boil down to moving slowly forward, taking the map piece by piece, until you reach the boss battle, which is just doing some damage, running away and then doing some more damage. Having said that, if Chaos Rising really is a large improvement over DOW2, then I know I’m in for a treat.

    New expansion looks like it will be pretty awesome too. Got my pre-order in with on the Collector’s Edition for just under £27.

    • subedii says:

      Yeah, Chaos Rising ditched the “generated” mission approach for a more structured singleplayer campaign, works much better. I was surprised in that I was actually interested in the events taking place, which is rare for an RTS game.

    • Sassenach says:

      Chaos rising largely ditched the boss fights (or rather, concentrated their health and DPS into the final boss), and I felt it was much improved for their departure.

  15. apa says:

    Will this run on last year’s 13″ Macbook Pro if you put Win XP on it?

  16. Arathain says:

    I do like that chap’s voice.

  17. Radiant says:

    There will be.
    Snacks and aperitifs.

  18. TheTourist314 says:

    Still not as a cool as TABLETOP 40K!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111111

  19. Darko Drako says:

    Who is the guy who looks like guy fawks with a flamethrower? (i am presuming an imperial guard unit)

    I like!

    • Davie says:

      That would be the Inquisitor hero, who is in fact female. She does have a nice hat.

    • Ravenholme says:

      @ Davie

      Doesn’t the Ork campaign revolve around Captain Bludflagg chasing the Inquisitor ‘cos he wants her hat?

  20. Xifirg says:

    Anyone else thinking that daemon at the end is the one from the first DoW?

  21. adamiani says:

    Still no Tau, then?

  22. JayeRandom says:

    For some my Steam copy went ahead and unlocked this morning, instead of 2 days from now. Should I expect Steam to reverse this later today?

    Edit: nm, I just now noticed the staggered release dates. Why do they do that?

  23. spelvin spugg says:

    I liked Dow2 quite a bit but I just don’t see myself getting this for a variety of reasons. I felt like the multi in Dow2 was a step backward– contrary to some others I like the campaign much better in it, replaying it now as a matter of fact– and I didn’t care for the campaign much in Chaos Rising for some reason, so yeah.

    The boss battles in the Dow2 campaign are totally for the loss though, they are just terrible and none of them are fun. Anyone know of a mod that removes them? Or is there a cheat code?