Dawn of War 2 Beta Preview

Written by Harry Butler

January 27, 2009 | 11:20

Tags: #beta #dawn-of-war-2 #orks #preview #rts #space-marines

Companies: #relic #thq

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Whichever race you choose to do battle with in Dawn of War 2, be it Space Marines, Orks, Eldar or the fiercely anticipated Tyranids, you’ll likely be taken aback by one the biggest changes – there’s absolutely no base building.

Each race starts with an HQ, wonderfully detailed and customised for each particular race, which produces and regenerates the health of every single unit. The more powerful units are naturally unlocked as you progress through the match for a reasonable resource cost.

The shift in focus away from base building and teching up, both of which have been forever at the heart of RTS games, towards concentrating on the actual fighting bit takes a fair bit of getting used to. Command and Conquer stalwarts might even accuse the game of being a bit shallow in this respect. After all, Relic has massively simplified one of the key RTS characteristics here.

However, when you stop worrying about what’s happening back at base and start concentrating more on what units and squads are doing on the battlefield it makes the game that much more enjoyable and easier to manage.

Dawn of War 2 Beta Preview Dawn of War 2 Beta Preview - Uber-Micro

One of the bigger criticisms of Company of Heroes’ multiplayer was that it tried to combine squad level tactics requiring a high degree of micro-management with base building and a varied tech tree, resulting in an experience that was just too complex and overwhelming for many, even veteran, gamers.

Dawn of War 2’s approach is something of a compromise, shifting the more simple squad based tactics of the original up a gear whilst simplifying the tech tree and base building to compensate. With bases specifically positioned to be very difficult to attack and by default protected by twin machine gun turrets, you also won’t have to worry about base rushes in the early game either – something we’re sure all but the cheapest players will be happy about.

Dawn of War 2 Beta Preview Dawn of War 2 Beta Preview - Uber-Micro

This move away from any sort of base building means that the only way to collect Dawn of War 2’s resources, requisition and power, is to march out and capture some territory. The format will be familiar to any who’ve played the original Dawn of War or its World War 2 incarnation, Company of Heroes, with the map divided into numerous power and requisition control points, the capture of which increases your steady flow of resources.

As well as the resource control points, there are also a number of victory points scattered about each map. Holding the majority of these special points will cause your opponent’s point tally to tick down from 500, with the winning team the first to reduce the oppositions tally to zero. It’s a game mode that's not only more entertaining than the standard “make all the enemy a-splode,” but also one that doesn’t take nearly as long.

Even in a busy 3v3 match where VPs change hands numerous times back and forth between teams, it’s unlikely the game will last for more than forty minutes, although due to DOW2’s fast paced action and steady flow of resources, you shouldn’t have any problem reaching the game’s top tier units in this time.
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