In 2009, the game Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War 2 came out, and I must confess that while I’ve been eyeing the game a bit, I’ve never dared to play it. The game never really popped up on my radar, and all I can say about this is that I deeply (very?) regret it now.

Corruption

Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising is a standalone addon to its original. This means that although the game continues where its predecessor left off, you can still play it without owning Dawn of War 2. This is why when I started Chaos Rising, I was a little worried that the game would rely heavily on my knowledge of the original, or rather, my lack of knowledge of the original. Fortunately, this wasn’t too bad and I was able to get started right away, as a summary of the previous events was already given before I started and although I still missed the necessary details every now and then, everything was easy to follow.

The story of the game is about a group of Space Marines called Blood Ravens. These sturdy lads have already had the necessary adventures in Dawn of War 2 and before the wounds of their previous battles have been able to heal, there is **** again. This time a new planet has appeared out of nowhere, which at first seems uninhabited, but nevertheless shows the necessary signs of life. After closer inspection, it turns out that there is much more going on and the Blood Ravens come into contact with the so-called Chaos Marines. These are people who are said to be demon-possessed and have a corrupting influence (more on this later) on everything they come into contact with. The story has plenty of plot twists and the characters are well developed. It’s definitely a step above the average game story and feels great.

RPG and RTS

The gameplay of Chaos Rising is more or less the same as its predecessor. For those who don’t know what that entailed: it is mainly a mix between RTS and RPG. As a player you get a number of heroes under your care. These each have their own skills that they can use and also level up. Some of these troops carry a number of units with them that are less valuable and support the hero. Every mission you get the opportunity to go out with a few of these rascals. So this is more or less RTS light, since you don’t have to worry about setting up a base and strengthening your troops. The pace is a lot higher than the average RTS which makes this an extremely entertaining game experience with the emphasis more on managing your units than continuously pooping new slaughter food. It reminded me of games like Dungeon Siege or Defense of the Ancients at times. That pretty much indicates what kind of gameplay you can expect.

An important point of the gameplay is the shootouts between your men and sometimes gigantic hordes of enemies. It is therefore good to notice that the gameplay is more adapted to that and when you can even have your units look for cover behind walls, you know that this is a rather tactical game. Every now and then you also end up in screen-filling boss fights that you have to tackle smartly. It’s a shame that some of these fightable whoppers are so hard to take down that you’re more concerned with managing your units and staring at the numbers than actually paying attention to the action. The game is generally quite difficult for newcomers anyway and although there are the necessary text boxes with tips and explanations, you are still thrown in at the deep end. This is of course because the game more or less builds on the principles of the original Dawn of War 2, but it could have been a little easier in its time. On the other hand, it was nice that the game started a bit faster and you didn’t have such an extensive tutorial that you learn to walk all over again.

Moral Choices

Between missions you can further develop your heroes to your ideals by, for example, providing them with some nice new weapons or just getting them ready to take a defensive role in your team. The most notable customization option, however, is the corruption system. Throughout the game you will be faced with different choices regarding the way you handle certain situations. This can be, for example, whether or not you do that sidequest, but also whether you take one of your navies on the mission, if he specifically asks if he can come along. If you don’t do such things, the corruption in your delicate body will increase. However, if you are the eternal good guy, you will remain “pure” and that also has its bonuses. The consequences in focusing in either direction mainly manifest itself in special equipment you get, which is a shame, since there was a lot more to be gained from this.

Multiplayer innovations

The multiplayer of Dawn of War 2 is also back, and now a new faction has been added: the Chaos Marines. To keep everything in balance, the existing factions have been given the necessary units, but whether that balance is still completely right is still a point of contention. In addition to the Chaos Marines, a handful of new maps and heroes have also been added, which will provide a wonderful, and for the veterans, refreshing multiplayer experience. In addition, there is of course the option to play the great campaign in co-op alone, which only adds to the fun.

On all fronts, Chaos Rising is also a great game. The always varied worlds come to life beautifully and the character design is fine. Everything also runs wonderfully smoothly, which is certainly a plus during the moments when your screen is quite busy. The music in the game is also wonderfully bombastic and the sound effects are also great. The only point I have something to complain about is the voice acting, which can be quite over the top and short-sighted. This doesn’t change the fact that the characters are portrayed believable, so you won’t hear me complaining.

Overall, Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising is a great and complete game. The single player mode is great and very varied with a good story, which can almost be called a rarity in gamesland. There are still some minor flaws, such as the save system during missions that automatically stops you when you save, but they certainly can’t spoil the fun. Furthermore, the multiplayer is solid and everything looks spick and span. The best of all, however, is that you get this entire package for only 30 euros, so it’s a bargain!

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Author: Joost Verplak | Genre: RTS | Release: 21-03-2010 | Publisher: THQ | Developer: RelicGraphics: 9.0 † Sound: 8.1 † Gameplay: 9.1 † Controls: 8.3 † Playback: 8.6 8.8+ Excellent single player experience+ Good story+ Only $30!- Annoying save system- Some minor glitches and bugs-

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