Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Game of the Moment - Dawn Of War 2

I was a bit of a fan of the original Dawn of War, well at least after a couple of the addons came out, I'd taken her on a few dates and met her parents. Even though I could never really find anyone to play against I thought it added a bunch of new options that really shook up how an RTS should be played. Map control was the most important part here, much more than in a regular RTS. Combined with the relatively slow pace, this suited players like me (i.e. Lovers/Not fighters) who prefer to defend rather than rush in (like fools).

Dawn of War 2 keeps that basic feeling of combat but like someone hooking up in a nightclub toilet, it completely does away with base (relationship) development. Instead, players pump out units and thrust them directly into battle, shifting gameplay from strategic to something more tactical (if there truly is a difference). I haven't really ever played Warhammer 40k, but I imagine DoW2 is more like getting it on in a dining room; i.e. a lot closer to a tabletop game than the original ever was. To be honest, I'm not sure where this leaves me, or whether I can continue casually tieing this to sex and relationships.

Sure, you can still bust out a bunch of different playstyles, and technically there's nothing 'missing' in that. Removing base-building has only simplified the build order. But thats probably the biggest problem here, everything seems overly simplified. As far as units go, you don't get that many to choose from, but I guess you get enough for each race to have a few strong tactics. Following that, considering how little troop variation there is you'd expect there to be more races to choose from. I for one miss Chaos, and those crazy outerspace commies, the Winter Guard, and it couldn't be that hard to add a couple of the other races from the expansions. After all that, even considering the small numbers of troop types, its still not that greatly balanced.

The other major win DoW1 has over DoW2 is that it can run well on my computer. I know I may not have the greatest computer EVER... But I can-not-for-the-life-of-me work out what is causing DoW2 to be running so slow on both mine and my housemate's computer. There is honestly not that much going on screen, but it seems to take a godly amount of processing power to do it. Furthermore, I bet I could get a decent LAN game going in DoW1. DoW2 seems to handle online play fairly well, but LAN play was like a pile of broken dreams, soaked in tears.

It's not all doom and gloom though, the single player (or co-op) campaign is pretty cool, coming off as a kinda linear Dune 2 meets RPG. I'm not sure I'm entirely following the plot, but whatever. It's different and kind of cool. Furthermore, as limited as it is, playing skirmish maps is fun. I haven't played against anyone yet (and probably never will) but judging by the reviews it's gotten I guess there must be a little bit of magic in the multiplayer.

So there we go. As far as I stand, I'm still in that awkward place before I'm ready to see her exclusively or decide to go for her older, slightly more traditional sister.

This has gotten very creepy.

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