Despite such few letters 'war' is actually a big word. When three more letters are thrown into the mix, RTS, we expect vast armies clashing and large bases supplying their advance. The chaps that brought us Dawn of War began to change those expectations. They introduced things like strategic capture points that doubled up as supply posts. Then with the release of Company of Heroes we were introduced to even smaller squads and simplified base building but enhanced terrain awareness and AI. The next evolutionary step is being attempted with Dawn of War 2.
I chose not to enter beta and pollute my first contact of DoW2. I have shut myself off from the majority of comments that cry "it's not the same game". Instead, I sit in a darkened room with my powergloves over my ears and wait.
Dawn of War 2, like its predecessor, is set in the Warhammer 40K universe. It’s rich in content and bursting with imagination. You know how the characters in Gears of War look brilliant in their over-the-top armour and enjoy chain-bayonets? That’s right; it’s ripped straight from WH40K.
Ok then, I could very well believe that Epic blatantly plundered WH40K for inspiration when developing Unreal and Gears of War. But who could blame them? WH40K is dark, gritty, deep, and excessively bloodthirsty and Space Marines look like they could stare down Death himself.
With this level of characterisation, why should we always send army loads of these faceless brutes out to an anonymous death?
Enter DoW2. You control up to four squads, chosen from six, as you progress through the campaign. Each squad brings a little something different to the table. A commander, heavy hitters, stealth orientated snipers and so on. Being able to count your controllable units on one hand gives you the time to devise cunning strategies. This isn’t an afterthought either. This is what DoW2 is about. You develop your units through missions. They gain levels and find equipment pickups on the field. You get to call them by name, dress them and feel real bad when they fall in battle. This is going to be a merger between RTS and RPG. Many have tried, but will it work this time?
So in my darkened room I sit, opening my mind, waiting to see if The Emperor will deliver me or cast me into Chaos.