Dawn of War, Dawn of War, Dawn of War. We get it wayward, you like Dawn of War. Get over it, already! Post about a real game, like StarCraft 2. Why should we care about this other, lesser game? Why do you keep harping on it when, let’s face it, we already have the paragon RTS experience to try and master, and to enjoy spending dozens of hours a week watching, just to keep up?
I’ll do my best to answer: here’s my case for Dawn of War 2.
The Background and the Art.
Dawn of War 2 is a Real-Time Strategy game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Warhammer 40,000 is itself a tabletop tactics game developed by Games Wokrshop. It’s played with dice, plastic rulers, and painted models, that players assemble and paint themselves. It’s a fairly popular genre, despite armies being expensive to assemble, and Warhammer 40,000 is one of the most popular games of the genre, perhaps the most popular.
Here’s some more info on WH40K (as it’s called).
The Warhammer universe is dark and violent. In fact, one of the common taglines around the franchise is the statement “In the future, there is only war.” Without getting too terribly side-tracked or overly complicated, the universe is made up of 12 (or so) races, fighting an endless battle of varying allegiences, purposes, and methods across a bleak and ruined galaxy.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the races (sorry to diehard fans for any inaccuracies)
I think you get the point. There is no story in this grim universe but one where war, suffering, decay and pain is featured. Which, let’s face it, is pretty cool. There are some birght spots, like how Ork craft can move faster simply by being painted red, or the Tau race who are the sole purveyors of progress and “good” (though even this is open to interpretation).
All in all, the universe is absolutely perfect for RTS and RTT games, as attested by the comparative success of Dawn of War 1 and 2 (at least, until StarCraft was released). The squad-based combat, unit upgrades, terrain and garrisoning, are all mechanics that really add tactical depth to a gameplay experience.
But I’ll get to that in a second. I’m still talking about setting.
Warhammer has an art style that has developed over the past 20 or so years. As you can see, it translates VERY well into video games. The level of detail in the models on the tabletop game has inspired one of the most visually appealing and detailed RTS games ever created. The individual unit models in this game are almost as detailed and active as characters in some shooters. The units are also customizable: no simple “red and blue” color palettes, here: commanders are able to color their forces with up to 4 different colors, chosen from a palette of official Games Workshop paint colors: primary, secondary, and 2 accents.
Also, more recently, Relic (the game’s developer) has been releasing cosmetic DLC for the game that allows users to have a stylistically unique army based upon one of the unique sub-factions in their race’s lore.
All of this makes for a visually stunning game.
I could write another 500 or more words about the gameplay, but I think letting you all watch it might be a little more effective:
As a follow up to that video, here are some gameplay highlights:
Here’s my TLDR: