This article originated on the original FileFront
Formatting may be lacking as a result. We apologize for this inconvenience. If this article is un-readable please report it so that we may fix it.
This is a must read!
About yesterday a German preview of Dawn of War II hit the interwebs (gamestar.de), which basically talks about the single player campaign and the multiplayer mode for the game. One thing that is odd with the preview is that some of the info written, contradicts what Relic has announced the past (ie. Relic said that there would be base building for multilayer, yet these guys say there is none); so I would suggest you don't take this article as gospel and believe every word.
Anyway, enough of that, you just want the damn article so here it is:
And here is the translation (thanks to sporty):
Originally Posted by gamestar.de Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War 2
In early 2009, the Space Marines will ravage the battlefields of Warhammer once more. High time for us to pay the developers a visit, and for the first time play the RPG-campaign as well as the multiplayer mode ourselves.
Is this war ever going to end? Our strike cruiser is just orbitting around the swamp planet of Typhon, when we receive a distress call from the neighbouring world Calderis: Orks! Goddammit, didn't we just root those greenskins out over there? Whatever, our Imperial Space Marines of the elite chaper "Blood Ravens" aren't here for a joyride, but on permanent assignment: In the campaign of the RTS-hope Dawn of War 2, we are to protect the entire Aurelia sector of the Warhammer 40k galaxy. As we visited the developers of Relic in Vancouver, Canada, we were able to try out the single- and multiplayer mode for the first time. Enough talking, duty calls: We open the galaxy map, click-select the sun of Calderis and watch our mothership leave Typhon via warp jump. No, this war isn't going to end. It hast just begun.
War of the characters
The mission on Calderis is the most important part of our trial campaign, but not the first one. Previously, we fought the chaotic Orks and the snobbish Eldar here and also on Typhon. Before we engage in the next battle, we find ourselves at the campaign's lynchpin: the command centre. From our strike cruiser we observe the contested planet's surface, where sometimes one, sometimes more available missions can be chosen. Many of them are optional, if we lose them we're still able to continue the game. We do have to forgo their rewards though, usually additional equipment for our soldiers. In Dawn of War 2, we don't command faceless armies, but individual squads, whose leaders we upgrade with looted items between missions. Tarkus and his Tactical Marines are all-rounders, they wield Bolters and Chainswords. The Devastators commanded by Sergeant Avitus decimate foes with heavy weaponry like Plasma Cannons; the Assault Marines of Thaddeus jump into melee with their jetpacks. Cyrus leads the Scout Marines, he's able to use precision rifles and sneak around invisibly, for example. Our strike force is commanded by the powerful Force Commander; other units (like the bulky Dreadnought) are unlocked by completing mandatory or optional missions later in the game. Enhance and gear up
During skirmishes, the leaders gain experience, on level-up (maximum level is 20) we may upgrade one of four base-stats: Vitality, Energy for special attacks, melee and ranged prowess. For example, a unit focussing on vitality learns the "Taunt" ability, which distracts enemies from your weaker troops. Nice idea: Unused items may be converted to experience, to improve your rookie Marines. Even your equipment requires tactical thinking. If we equip the Force Commander with a two-handed Hammer, he becomes quite a force in close comabt, but is unable to engage enemies at range. Therefore we give him a one-handed Chainsword and a pistol, at the expense of melee damage. Additionally, every squad leader may take some special items that grant extra abilities. Will Thaddeus pick grenades, or rather the "Pray of Righteousness", which improves his armour rating? Will Cyrus gain precision attacks against infantry, or sticky bombs against vehicles? This way we refine the equipment before each mission, to orchestrate our Marines' abilities. Not only is this motivating, but also important, because we're unable to switch items during a mission.
Shelter from bosses
We can only pick a select number of troops per mission, only the Force Commander is always present. After Calderis it's three, we pick Avitus, Cyrus and Thaddeus. Then our marines burst into a rocky desert with their Drop Pods - and immediately face an Ork chieftain and with Slugga and Choppa! The Force Commandar and Thaddeus engage in melee; Avitus and Cyrus take cover behinds some rocks. This works just like in Relic's blockbuster Company of Heroes: Upon moving the cursor over an obstacle, colored dots indicate the positions your soldiers will take around it. The color shows the quality of cover, ranging from red (no protection) to green (perfect cover, units take less damage).
When we engage bosses like the Orkish cieftain, a bar on the top of your screen displays their hitpoints. Most side missions in Dawn of War 2 go according to the book: We fight through waves of enemies, until we reach the final boss. He will always use powerful special attacks, an Eldar Warlock for example disrupts squads with Psi-Blastwaves. Those skirmishes are very entertaining at first, but can get somewhat dry later on - especially when certain boss types recur. Different from the mandatory missions, there are also no surprises or scripted sequences. We hope for more variety. The chief on Calderis however acts nontypical: He flees! Showdown at the gates
Upon pursuing the Ork, we encounter a band of greenskins fortified behind a wall. The beasts fire with heavy weaponry, and pin Thaddeus and his squad in the open. Therefore Cyrus takes out the gunner with a precision shot, enabling Thaddeus to lob a grenade. The explosion blasts away several Orks and parts of the wall, because just like in Company of Heroes, several objects can be destroyed. This is seen when the Force Commander bursts through the wall with his assault talent "To Victory", in order to finish off the remaining Orks with his Chainsword. Pleasant: The defeated Orks leave crates of ammo behind, which we use to stock up on grenades for Thaddeus.
This way we hunt the chieftain to the gates of the city of Argus, where he manages to escape again. However, we also meet Imperial Guardsmen there, who beg for our help: An Orkish warband approaches, we are to repel their assault. So we entrench in a bunker, since infantry units are now able to garrison buildings. At the same time, high command makes three gun turrets available, which we immediately deploy. While Cyrus takes cover behind one of them, the Force Commander strides to the frontline. Then, waves upon waves of Orks charge our position, grenades explode, turrets shower the brutes with lead, Thaddeus and his squad jump into a group of greenskins and scatter them. Then the Assault Marines rush their downed victims with rattling Chainswords. In the meantime, Cyrus cloaks, sneaks to the front, throws a stachel charge, boom! Orks and debris fly are flying through the air. Finally the chieftain appears again, our Force Commander confronts him in a duel. The boss strikes back with an explosive attack, which blows up dirt and Marines along a straight line. Fortunately we're able to dodge it, additionally the turrets lock on the monstrosity. This way he goes down quickly - but the mission isn't over yet.
Insects everywhere A distress call! Captain Thule, leader of the "Blood Ravens", is stuck near our position. "We're facing worse enemies than Orks and Eldar here!", he shouts - then the transmission ends. Before we rush to his aid, we take a control point in front of the city gates, because there we may replace fallen Marines. Many sidequest maps also feature neural buildings we can occupy, a communications centre for example grants the "Signum" item. Equipped with this, a squad may then call in artillery strikes in every mission on the same planet. Another reason to complete those optional assignments.
On our route to Thule we encounter Orks, but they have other worries: Hormagaunts! The clawed beasts tear the greenskins apart, before we can blow them away with ranged fire. Dammit, the insect monsters are Tyranids, the fourth race of Dawn of War 2! In a village we finally find Thule - and an endless flood of beasts, who assault his position. Our Marines shoot, hack, kick (!) away at the mass of enemies, yet Avitus falls. Now we could revive him with another Sergeant, but we rather use one of the Force Commander's healthpacks, which also heals nearby allies. We won't spoil the ending of the battle against the Tyranids. Just one thing: It takes a dramatic turn, together with one final bang. The war has just begun.
After the mission, Dawn of War 2 judges us: How long did we take? How many enemies did we take out? How many Sergeants have fallen? The better we do, the more bonus experience our Marines get. Additionally, we unlock mission points this way. Those are used to accept side missions, otherwise those options expire after some time. After the evalution, Dawn of War 2 continues the plot, only in dry, but well voiced portrait dialogues though - no match for the impressive cutscenes that Blizzard promises for Starcraft 2.
Anyway, the fascinating thing about the Warhammer spectactle is the tactical coordination of the squads: Even though we only command a few units and exclusively the Space Marines (other races won't be playable in the solo campaign), the battles never get boring - thanks to the varied talents and RPG elements. Sadly we weren't able to try out the coop mode yet, which lets two players take on the solo campaign.
Threesome [what a clever pun -.-]
Speaking of which: In the regular multiplayer mode we also fight together, mainly in teams of three. Duels with less participants are possible, but Relic focusses on the 3v3 variant. "It's more fun together", Lead Designer Jonny Ebbert justifies. Before the start of a match, we choose a hero, which every race offers three of. For the Space Marines, it's either the Force Commander (potent fighter), the Tech Marine (repairs vehicles and places turrets), or the Apothecary (heals infantry). There's no base building, every general starts with only a headquarter, where he can recruit troops. This barracks can be upgraded in two levels in order to unlock more units.
Ressources (Energy and Requisition) flow from captured points to a team pool. In order to win, we have to take control points and hold them for a certain amount of time, just like in Company of Heroes. All units gain experience in battle, and can level up to 10 times, heroes automatically unlock abilities this way. Drop Pods (deliver reinforcements) for example, or the devastating Orbital Bombardement, which requires a massive amount of energy though. Every regular unit can be further upgraded for a certain price, for example Scout Marines can be equipped with shotguns, which increase their short range damage.
Additionally we often fight on multiple fronts. For instance, our Tech Marines secures ressource points with turrets, while we support the Force Commander with plasma gunners at the frontline, send a Dreadnought to relieve the surrounded Apothecary and deploy a Drop Pod right into the midst of our enemies, all at the same time. And just like in Company of Heroes, the fast-paced battles are a continuous back and forth, with control points changing hands multiple times. This may not suit fans of cosy turtling strategies, be to us it was most entertaining. Even though we could only command the Space Marines again, the other three races with their respective heroes will surely further increase variety considerably. We can hardly wait to go to battle again in early 2009. A good thing that this war has just started!
Michael Graf: Dawn of War 2 plays just like the brilliant Company of Heroes, further enriched with RPG aspects and cooperative multiplayer - great! Die slightly too common "Kill the boss" missions and undramatic portrait dialogues prevent the "outstanding" classification. On the other hand, the non-linear campaign should offer considerable replayability. Because of this, for me Dawn of War 2 is THE RTS-hope besides Starcraft 2.
There are no comments yet. Be the first!