Dawn of War II might as well be named an entirely different game. It steps just to the side of being a Real Time Strategy game and gives us something different, something a little more micro oriented. Micro, while normally an unwelcome task is actually made enjoyable by the persistent leveling up that the characters (note: characters, not units) experience over the course of the campaign.
There’s even bits of dialogue between them during the battles.
I had my doubts, to be honest. The micro levels in most RTS games were the ones I hated the most. I enjoyed base building and sending units out en masse. What I’m finding in Dawn of War II is that micro is the focus of the game. Instead of having to constantly switch gears between macromanaging an economy and tech tree, to the micro oriented play of giving commands to individual units, I can actually use units to set up flanking situations, set traps, and use concealment and cover effectively.
In this way, it’s more of a strategy and tactics game than it’s predecessors. I never played the tabletop, so I’m not sure if this is closer to playing it, but it’s certainly compelling, and fun to play.
I played the campaign for a couple of missions so far it’s pretty standard Warhammer 40k fare. Exterminate the Xenos, mankind doesn’t really know what it’s dealing with, WAAAAAGH!!, etc. Not that that’s bad, it’s just that it’s not doing anything different storywise, which is good.
I bought it on Steam, because Valve needs my money more than Gamestop does, and I found out that the retail version requires the Steam platform to play.
Well played, Valve.