Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II

February 20, 2009 | 08:57

Tags: #40k #dawn-of-war #rts #space-marine #strategy #warhammer

Companies: #relic #thq

Graphics of War

One of the things we like most about this improved version of the Essence Engine is that it still gives players a chance to zoom right in on their units if they want, or take a step back if they want to see the wider view.

Too often nowadays do we see games that don’t let us zoom in or out enough, though there are other strategy games that give more zoomability than Dawn of War II, it has to be said.

The level of zooming allowed in Dawn of War II is enough to make screenshots like those easier of course, but it can also alter the gameplay a bit if you want. Thanks to the way the game has been re-jigged it’s entirely plausible to give yourself just one group of highly customised units, zoom in a decent amount and try and play DoW II as a squad RPG, if you want.

Model Detail

Zooming in so much to play in that way gives you a very detailed look at the models though, so before we suggest such a thing we’d better look at the Model Detail setting. There are two choices; High or Low.

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II Dawn of War II - Graphics II Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II Dawn of War II - Graphics II
Model Detail in Dawn of War II on High (left) and Medium (right), click to enlarge

Again, you’re going to have to ignore the slightly different lighting conditions here – they can’t really be controlled or avoided without altering other settings, unfortunately.

It’s interesting to note though that the level of detail on the units here is pretty much constant and that there actually isn’t that much discernable difference between the settings. There could be a number of reasons for that, that the changes are being well disguised for example, or even that the just isn’t a noticeable difference. It’s hard to tell.

As it is though, this setting doesn’t have a noticeable performance hit that we could pinpoint, so it may not even be worth fiddling with unless you’re getting really choppy framerates. Even then a quick memory upgrade would seem just as feasible.

Texture Detail

The second thing you’ll want to know about if you’re playing zoomed in (or even if you’re not) is whether or not the textures are up to scratch. This setting comes in three flavours; Low, Medium and High.

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II Dawn of War II - Graphics II Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II Dawn of War II - Graphics II Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II Dawn of War II - Graphics II
Texture Detail in Dawn of War II on High (left), Medium (centre) and Low (right), click to enlarge

By looking at the emblems on the boxes in these screenshots, as well as the floor and the interior of the trailer on the right, the effect of this setting is pretty obvious. Every time you drop the Texture Detail you take a hit in clarity that’s visible even if you aren’t zoomed in to this extreme.

One interesting thing to notice though is that the texture quality of the actual terrain doesn’t actually alter that much between the High and Medium settings, while the textures on objects do. It’s a small thing, but worth noting if you’re more concerned with how the level looks rather than the debris.

Texture Detail does have an obvious and noticeable effect on the overall fidelity of the game though, no matter what – so this is a setting you should push as high as you can.
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