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THQ Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £23
inc VAT

The original Dawn of War is one of the most successful multiplayer RTS games of recent years. Despite this popularity, or perhaps because of it, the biggest changes in this sequel are to be found in the single-player campaign.

Rather than epic battles, the emphasis is on small-scale tactical engagements. Each of your specialised Space Marine squads is led by a characterful sergeant. You can upgrade the squad’s statistics and equip it with superior weaponry and armour. The troops bicker and explain the plot between levels, making the game feel a bit like an RPG.

Most of your squads have a clear purpose. Your scout squad can infiltrate, thanks to a cloaking device, while the devastator squad is best deployed in cover to provide supporting fire. Your commander and tactical squad are more flexible, and you can hone their abilities to match your style of play. The small number of units makes it easy to stay on top of things, even when each squad has multiple abilities.

The graphics are colourful and crisp, and fans of the tabletop game will appreciate the accurate recreations of the Space Marine, Ork, Tau and Tyranid forces. The levels and missions could be more varied: once you get the hang of making a strategic advance – laying down covering fire and using grenades on clusters of the enemy – little else is required. Many levels end with arcade-style boss fights, though.

The multiplayer game has changed to a lesser extent. Base building has been axed, and each player has a single HQ. There aren’t many maps either, which will frustrate serious players. Dawn of War II is certainly a game of two halves. If you think you’ll play both, it’s well worth the money, but if you’re interested only in the single-player campaign, its lack of variation prevents it from being a must-buy.


Price £23
Rating ****