Dawn of War II - Retribution
Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
2010 was a good year for strategy games thanks to a number of fantastic releases including Relic Entertainment’s first expansion to Dawn of War II, entitled Chaos Rising. A full year later, we are graced with yet another stand-alone expansion, this time it’s all about Retribution. Rather than simply continuing the story of the Blood Ravens from the last two entries, for this outing we have the choice of playing through the game’s campaign from the perspective of any one of the six available factions. Other changes have been made to series, both big and small, which make Dawn of War II - Retribution quite the treat for long-time fans of the series.
Retribution takes places ten years after the events of Chaos Rising. With corruption from the Chaos Space Marines still spreading across the galaxy, the Inquisition have deemed it necessary to perform Exterminatus (complete destruction) in order to rid the sub-sector of all the evil forces. Because the entire galaxy is in potential peril, you have the ability to play as any of the six factions, including the newly implemented Imperial Guard. While there are technically six different stories, each only changes marginally, with the same maps and requirements playing out in each campaign. For those unfamiliar with the Warhammer 40,000 storyline, most of what happens in Retribution will not make any sense, nor will you have any real connection with most of the characters in-game, especially on the Space Marine side of things. Even though the story is geared towards seasoned players and fans of the series, thanks to great level designs and constant action, those wanting a challenging and rewarding RTS experience will keep playing well after completing the final mission.
One thing long-time fans will quickly notice is that the single-player story has a very multiplayer vibe to it. Unlike previous games where you would often have missions with very limited resources and units at your disposal, Retribution’s missions are structured in such a way that massive units are not only suggested, but required. As you trek through each level, you will find additional Requisition points, power nodes, and other structures which increase your unit capacity and allow you to build new and stronger units.
Another thing that has changed is the way you can incorporate Heroes in each mission. In Chaos Rising specifically, you had the ability to select certain Heroes for your missions, some of which even required you to utilize a certain Hero. That aspect is gone in Retribution. While each faction has four Hero characters, outside of your primary one that must be used in each mission, you have the option of replacing a Hero with Hero Guards. Hero Guards are stronger units which have special enhancements, increase your unit capacity and can be replaced for free if they fall in combat. This change does open up some interesting situations and encourages replaying missions, but for those who feel that their Hero Characters are stronger or more suitable will probably not fool around with this feature too much.
Once you’re done with the sixteen missions in the single-player campaign, you’ll definitely want to jump into the multiplayer, which is still just as fantastic and engaging as past iterations. The same two multiplayer modes from Chaos Rising return. For those who like a co-operative challenge, The Last Stand pairs you up with two other players to see how long you can survive wave upon wave of difficult foes. This mode is certainly easy to grasp but can be quite challenging, especially as you progress deeper and deeper into it. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some player vs player combat, the standard array of multiplayer matches return and still perform quite admirably. For those who only owned Chaos Rising, Retribution lets you play as any of the six factions rather than being limited to just one. Each faction offers quite a different experience and each of the Heroes bring something different to the table. While seasoned players will have their favorites and stick to them, those new to the fold will enjoy sampling as many as possible before picking their preferred group.
As expected, the audio and visuals hasn’t changed all that much in comparison to the previous entries of the game, which by no means is a bad thing. The environments are lush, filled with plenty of detail and the audio delivery from all the characters is considerably strong. The only real issue graphically comes with some of the level designs. There are a few sections where structure or environment placements can get in the way. This doesn’t happen too frequently but in a few stages, such as the finale where there is so much going on, it can be easy to lose sight of some of your units. Happily, the strong voicework once again has returned. Thanks in part to the nice number of returning characters from Chaos Rising, fans of the series will feel right at home. Even the ambiance - both in sound effects and the game’s score - does a great job in adding to the overall presentation of each mission.
Retribution stays the course and all the modifications introduced doesn’t hurt the series in any shape or form. This expansion is certainly geared towards satisfying long-time fans instead of bringing new people into the mix as the story will be lost on those unfamiliar with the lore. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a fun multiplayer RTS experience, then you won’t be disappointed.
+ Hero Guards offers a nice alternative to single-player missions
+ Retains most of the core-values of DoW II
+ Lengthy campaign
+ Good Voicework
+ Can play as any of the six factions...
- Unless you know the lore, new players can easily get lost or not care about the story or its characters
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Release Date : 2011/03/01
System : PC
Publisher : THQ
Developer : Relic
Category : Real Time Strategy
ESRB : M
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