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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

But make no mistake, DoW II isn’t a skill-spamming clickfest. Taking on more missions bolstered my party with additional squads, but more importantly, the new cover system created a package that felt both action-oriented and more manageable. We weren’t mousing units through static maps, but using each grizzly shrub as interactive cover, à la Company of Heroes.

Having a wall to lean on, so to speak, builds a buffer for decision-making and reflects the game’s turn-based tabletop roots. We see it in action as we’re saddled up behind a grove, holding position to plot our attack on a Tyranid Warrior and the pack of Gaunts around him. They haven’t seen us yet. We click to cling to the flora separating us from the aliens, select a single marine, and lob a satchel charge through the brush. Once a timer clicks down, the Tyranid lieutenant’s claws and carapace get blown in six directions. The handful of leftover Gaunts go into shock (because they’re psychically separated from their superior), making them easy to mop up with our bolters. Being a hive mind–controlled race, expect these synapse-linked effects to be a trend among the Tyranids.


Above: None of your units are disposable. You’ll need to take advantage of cover and think strategically to succeed 

Like having a stable of chess pieces with strengths and weaknesses, managing and upgrading your squads over the course of the campaign will be a big focus. Tarkus’ Tactical Space Marines excel at soaking up damage and peppering enemies from the front lines with a constant rain of bolter fire; Cyrus and his sneaky Scouts can destroy cover with their explosive charges, or snipe down high-value targets from afar with High Powered Shot; Thaddeus’ Assault Marines can Squad Jump, lighting jetpacks to leapfrog over obstacles and stomp enemies below.

Yes, there are times when DoW II screams “I’m an RPG!” - such as when your eyes are drawn to the green text descriptors on equippable loot you’ll find along the way. But when my Space Marines were overwhelmed by waves of Tyranids, my fingers flew straight for the number keys to assign control groups. When the dust settled, I had a new set of power armor to upgrade my Force Commander, stat points to spend on boosting the health regeneration rate of Avitus’ Devestator squad, and a distress signal urging me to help quell another Ork uprising.

 

Above: See Dawn of War II in action

Nov 20, 2008

 

+ Adding RPG goodness in equippable items and persistent units, and focusing on smaller squads could be a breath of fresh air to the genre.
– Micromanagement masters who enjoy controlling large armies may not like DoW II’s focus on small groups of squads.



Casual game lessons
Dawn of War II producer’s insights on what hardcore can crib from casual


The Tyranids have landed
We face Dawn of War II’s most fearsome faction yet

13 comments

  • Akiira - December 3, 2008 6:36 a.m.

    lol no ig suck, space marines ftw but seriously ig are cool to
  • PCG_Evan - November 25, 2008 12:28 a.m.

    Excitin'. As someone that tends to ignore RTS campaigns, I'm really drawn to the sense of persistence and reward Relic's promised for DoW II.
  • Akiira - November 24, 2008 6:48 a.m.

    i played Necromunda and the fantasy version mordheim, both awsome games and would make sweet pc games tho prolly not popular enough to warrant making a game out of them sadly enough.
  • Weasel - November 21, 2008 10:33 a.m.

    From the sounds of it so far only the Space Marines will have a single player campaign, much like the original DoW. And much like that game, I imagine other factions will get some sort of campaign in expansions. Still, looks pretty cool so far.
  • ReaperOfDarkness - November 21, 2008 3:52 a.m.

    thank god im a subscriber :) I for one am a huge fan of the 40k universe I play the tabletop and i even have the pen and paper rpg.Ive read over 20 of the novels. Despite being a fanboy I think this game will be very good I like what they are doing I just hope that the campaign will be suitably long.
  • hun23 - November 21, 2008 1:47 a.m.

    I'm so looking forward to this. When did Tyler Nagata become a member of PC Gamer us, or it that just a typo?
  • Yourself - December 3, 2008 4:10 a.m.

    I hope they have the Imperial Guard.
  • fallofasiankind - December 1, 2008 3:10 a.m.

    want....to...play...so...bad!!!
  • Jbo87 - November 21, 2008 3:10 p.m.

    This game does look rather damn good. Anyone know the PC specs to run this, my lappy's o.k. but not really a hardcore gaming rig. I love the fact that the game is moving to a unit based system. always preferred strategy games that take this approach. Like Battle March, that was brilliant imo, reminded me of Dark Omen for the PS1. True classic.
  • GamesRadarTylerNagata - November 21, 2008 4:21 a.m.

    Did you ever play Necromunda Reaper? I'd really love to see a good PC title based on that old Warhammer game.
  • GamesRadarTylerNagata - November 21, 2008 3:36 a.m.

    I'm glad you're looking forward to this game hun23. From what I've seen so far, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I wrote this preview for PC Gamer. The full version of the preview will appear in their January issue with some additional information and some sweet images that you haven't seen yet.
  • Deathcon56 - November 21, 2008 12:47 a.m.

    First, This looks epic
  • Spybreak8 - December 15, 2008 6:54 a.m.

    me wants, soooo much.

Showing 1-13 of 13 comments

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