Overdue Reviews: Dawn of War 2

A space marine from the game

Overdue Reviews is an occasional series in which I appease my younger self's brief desire to be a videogame journalist by ranting or raving about part of or all of a game I've played in the past. This week: Dawn of War 2 on PC.

Dawn of War 2 is a very serious game. It's full of serious sounding men, with serious names like Cyrus and Thaddeus. I was given the option at the start of naming my character, so to lighten the mood a little I named him Billy.

It did not make the game any less serious.

Dawn of War 2 was a surprising sequel. Instead of following the well-trod path of repeating the first game but adding more units and features, developer Relic eschewed the large scale battles and base building of Dawn of War to focus on controlling a small squad of Space Marines. It was a bold move that paid off enormously; the focus on cover and strategy made for a compelling experience unlike any previous Warhammer game.

Sadly, the game suffers a little in the later stages as this subtlety is eroded as your units become steadily more powerful; hiding behind cover becomes secondary to heavily armoured troops trampling it underfoot. By the final mission Dawn of War 2 has almost regressed entirely to the first game as you take control of an army of marines and tanks to destroy the final boss.

Despite this, Dawn of War 2 managed to be so good that I can no longer enjoy the first game. I've tried, but it just feels formulaic and unsubtle in comparison. Dawn of War 2 is simply better. If you're into strategy and shooting and very serious men, I heartily recommend it.

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