I consider Dawn of War and its extensions (not expansions) to be the best RTS I’ve ever played. It was actually the first game I ever reviewed online (which sadly no longer exists). I have not been following all the hoopla over the sequel—probably because I’m on a kick of not spending premium dollars on games for a while. Today, I found myself surprised by this:
Yes, that’s a Dawn of War II icon in my gammercard. It’s my first experience using a Games for Windows Live game (which I was amazed at how well it worked). Anyway, the first ten minutes.
Before I begin, I want to state that I believe Relic should be lumped in the same group of developer extraordinaire as Valve, Blizzard, and Stardock. Just about everything that Relic has made has been golden.
Dawn of War II exudes polish and atmosphere. I’ve read a few Warhammer books in my time, and I’m somewhat familiar with the universe (although I’ve never played a table-top version of the game it’s all based on). However, the game is exactly how I’ve always imagined it would be.
Relic has taken the original Dawn of War formula and streamlined it. I was expecting a resource management type of RTS, and I was welcomed with a squad-based game. You play as a hero character that (so far) is pretty much invincible and the commander of the squads you acquire. Basically, they took all the fun of the first game and ramped it up. In the three missions I’ve played I’ve not been frustrated once like I was with the first at certain points in the game (I felt that upgrading the units in-game was a pain).
Some RPG elements add a nice touch. Your main character and the squad leaders gather experience while weapons, skills, and armor can be upgraded. There also appears to be an attribute tree that adds stronger skillsets to your characters.
Graphically, the game is stunning. I spent a few minutes just looking and exploring all the menus. It took some time to realize I wasn’t reading what was on the screen. I was too busy looking at the eye candy. It’s also appears that each and every unit has it’s own unique type of animation motions. I know that this is based upon some excellent scripting and coding, but this small touch adds a sense of individual realism.It actually appears that each character is acting on their own and not just following their units particular script.
I’ll definitely be putting some more time into this title (which I got on Steam). If this keeps up, I may have an early contender for my PC Game of the Year.