Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
|This article contains generic information about the title. For in-game statistics, walkthroughs and such, please visit our Dawn of War II portal.|
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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is the sequel to Dawn of War. It was developed by Relic Entertainment and released by THQ on February 19, 2009 in North America. An add-on expansion, Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising, was released in March 2010. A second expansion, Dawn of War II: Retribution, was released on March 1st, 2011, this time fully stand-alone.
Dawn of War II is a fast-paced and action-oriented real-time strategy (RTS) game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The scale is relatively small and there is heavy emphasis on micromanaging combat; the game could be classified as an action RTS or real-time tactics (RTT) as well as RTS.
Dawn of War II has a story-driven campaign mode that can be played in single-player or co-operatively with two players. There is also a multiplayer mode for up to 6 players (participating individually or in teams of 2–3), and an arcade-style survival mode called The Last Stand that was added on October 14, 2009 in the 1.8 update.
The game's campaign departs from those of its predecessors in several key features. One of the most notable departures is that there are no base-building elements, unlike in previous Dawn of War titles. Instead, the player chooses the units to be used prior to beginning a mission, cannot build new units once the mission begins, and has only limited reinforcement options.
The game has a "metamap" displaying province-like areas on three different planets. Deploying on a mission takes a day of game time, and each day new missions appear (and possibly disappear, if their time limit is reached). The player must choose which missions to attempt, and there are consequences – although minor ones – regarding which targets are chosen.
Once a war zone and mission is selected, the player chooses only three squads to take part in the coming battle along the player character - The Force Commander. Each squad is unique in its combat specialty, personality, and the voice acting of its sergeant. There is a strong narrative focus on the sergeants of these squads who can increase in experience and skills as the campaign progresses, and cannot ultimately be killed. Rather than dying in a mission, squad leaders are "knocked out" and can be revived either by a friendly unit in close proximity or upon completing the mission.
The campaign includes many elements traditionally associated with role-playing games. Squad leaders and the Force Commander can be equipped with wargear gathered from slain enemies and awarded for completing missions. The characters gain experience and "level up" to learn new abilities and gain bonuses.
Dawn of War II has a multiplayer mode for 2-6 players (human or AI) in skirmish matches decided by either Victory Points (i.e., holding control of key positions on the map) or destroying the enemy HQ building. Possible games are head-to-head, two-on-two, three-on-three, free-for-all with six players, and team free-for-all with three teams of two. The games uses the Games for Windows – Live online gaming service for multiplayer games and matchmaking.
Prior to a match, the player chooses a faction and one of three different commander units. The various commanders are used to complement different strategies. For example, a player who chooses the Space Marine army can choose between the offense-oriented Force Commander, the support-oriented Apothecary, and the defense-oriented Techmarine.
Unlike most contemporary real-time strategy games – including Dawn of War – most of the unit and research production in Dawn of War II is done from the single HQ structure, and unit upgrades are performed on the field of battle itself. The focus in the game is on frontline combat and unit-based tactics rather than the more traditional base-building style popularized in titles like Command & Conquer and the Age of Empires series.
The Last Stand mode
|This article contains generic information about the title. For full information on The Last Stand, please visit our The Last Stand portal.|
The Last Stand is an "arcade survival" multiplayer mode, where three players choose a single hero unit to control and team up to fight against ever-strengthening enemy waves on a small map. The characters will gain experience and unlock wargear by playing. The mode was added in the 1.8 major update on October 14, 2009 with two more heroes added in 2.1 on March 10, 2010.
The game opens with The Force Commander – the protagonist – and Sergeant Tarkus landing on planet Calderis to aid Captain Davian Thule and his Blood Ravens initiates in fending off an Ork attack led by Mek Badzappa. Although the Mek escapes, the Space Marines defeat the assault. They then deploy from strike cruiser Armageddon into a hamlet where Sergeant Cyrus is waiting for them. They manage to rescue the defender of the hamlet, Sergeant Avitus, and save the hamlet from Orks.
The Marines receive word that Orks have attacked two more key locations. They learn that leaders of both attacks have visited Fellhammer Mine recently, and that Mek Badzappa is there as well. Upon approaching the mine, they discover Warp Spiders scouting the area. The Marines are ambushed by Ork gunners and relieved by Sergeant Thaddeus. They find Badzappa under attack by an Eldar force, and he escapes again while the Blood Ravens fight the Eldar. As the Eldar commander dies, he mentions a greater foe threatening them all. The heroes remain unconcerned.
The Blood Ravens travel to planet Typhon Primaris to eliminate a Warp Spider Exarch stirring up Orks. Thule then asks them back to Calderis as Mek Badzappa is launching an attack against the capital, Argus. Citizens are also reporting plants mutating and small purple creatures killing livestock. The Space Marines arrive and kill Badzappa, but are swarmed by Tyranids instead. Thule is mortally wounded and the Marines are evacuated by Thunderhawks that bomb the area to kill the Tyranids.
The Space Marines return to Typhon, leaving the fatally poisoned Thule in the care of Apothecary Gordian. They kill the Eldar ranger Nemerian, who has been stirring up trouble, and return to Calderis to kill the Tyranid Warrior that wounded Thule, who remains unconscious and barely alive.
After this the player can choose in what order to accomplish three primary objectives.
- The Space Marines must gather a sample of Tyranid bio-toxin to develop an anti-Tyranid bioweapon and heal Thule's poisoning
- They need to secure an ancient high-tech Astronomic Array on Typhon to properly scan the Hive Fleet
- They must defend a factory called Angel Forge on Meridian to acquire manufacturing capacity for the bioweapon
Upon completion of all three objectives, the poison is ready for delivery and Thule is revived as a holy Dreadnought. However, the battle barge Litany of Fury (which has been traveling to the player's aid for some time) is psionically assaulted by the Tyranid Hive Mind and cannot reach Aurelia. Yet the Hive Mind is weakened from the exertion and the entire fleet invades Typhon Primaris to feed. The player's strike team deploys to administer the poison to the Hive Mind through its feeder tendrils. In the space battle above, the Armageddon is destroyed, both Gordian and Techmarine Martellus lost with it.As the poison takes effect, personal hope appears lost as the strike team cannot evacuate and a massive Tyranid horde attacks them. At the last moment, Gabriel Angelos and the 3rd Company arrive on the battlefield, bombarding the horde from orbit and deploying in drop-pods to hold back the Tyranids. Angelos himself joins the Force Commander's team and they kill the Hive Tyrant Alpha leading the invasion, eventually winning the day.
Dawn of War II was generally well received, with a metascore of 85 from Metacritic and awarded as "Best Strategy Game" in the Game of the Year 2009 reviews at Yahoo! Games. Most negative feedback was concerned with few multiplayer maps and monotonous campaign missions (it must be noted that the multiplayer mode was since massively improved in numerous patches over the year after release).
- Metacritic: 85 
- 1UP.com: A- 
- Eurogamer: 8/10 
- GamePro: 5/5 
- GameSpot: 8.5/10 
- GameSpy: 4.5/5 
- IGN: 9/10 
- Good Game: 5.5/10 (single-player), 8/10 (multiplayer) 
Most (or all) Dawn of War II bonus wargear has been added to the game's random loot system for all players in post-release updates, but installing the bonus packs will still grant the items automatically.
Known bonus wargear sets are:
- Chapter Command Wargear Set (register at THQ or pre-order from GameStop or EB Games)
- Artificer Wargear Set (pre-order from THQ or Best Buy)
- Sternguard Wargear Set (pre-order from Amazon)
- Vanguard Wargear Set (pre-order from Play.com)
- Destroyer Wargear Set (pre-order from GAME.co.uk or Direct2Drive)
- Sniper Wargear Set (pre-order from hmv.com or Fry's Home Electronics)
The Dawn of War II soundtrack has been released as a free download. Currently (May 2010) it can be downloaded from Steam; the link is located at the bottom of the Dawn of War II application page in their store.