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Have You Played... Dawn of War 2 - Chaos Rising?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Whether there’ll ever be more Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of Warses is a matter for new Relic owners SEGA to thrash out with Games Workshop. Whether there actually needs to be any time soon is something I might debate, as all previous installments of the 40K RTS still hold up very well. My go-to game whenever I want to return to the series (which is surprisingly often), though, is Chaos Rising, the first ‘expandalone’ for Dawn of War II.

It’s the best singleplayer game in a series that has often faltered on the solo campaign front, I think. There are some fun choices to be made, the levelling and gear stuff finds a balance that didn’t quite seem there in DoW II vanilla, and there are enough units and factions in play to keep things lively without being entirely cartoonish.

For the first time, the plot manages to be a little personal too. I mean it’s still lantern-jawed men scowling and shouting – after all, we don’t want Space Marines in Dawson’s Creek, unless it was to purge the whiny heretic – but there’s a touch more character in there, enough to create a sense of who to trust and who to lean on. There’s still a sad lack of 40K games with great characters and tales, and for the time being this is probably as good as it gets.

It’s such a well-rounded package – missus – in a series that has been reliably good but usually drops at least one ball every time. I felt like Dawn of War II was going to be a multi-expanded mainstay that got better and better after this, and was always disappointed that the second add-on. Retribution, both seemed less confident and brought DoW II to a perhaps premature end.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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