Let's get this out of the way: I love Dawn of War,
but I found Dawn of War II
to be a much funner, faster-paced game. Chaos Rising
made things even better, with an incredibly good story campaign, the awesome return of Chaos, and one of the best uses of a Karma Meter
I've ever seen. While Retribution
cannot quite match the prior expansion's level of quality, it is nonetheless an excellent RTS, and well worth your time even if you're new to Dawn of War II.
First, you have a new army: the Imperial Guard. Gone are the bottom-tier, low-morale, late-game bloomers of the first series. This
IG has apparently soaked up some of the new codex, because they're now a far more viable force. They're still squishy as all heck, suppress easily, and don't get their really good units until the third tier, but now their lesser units can deal and take more damage, you have a better selection of units and powers, and you don't need to keep pumping out leaders to keep them alive.
The campaign begins ten years after Chaos Rising.
The various xenos invasions, the return of Chaos Space Marines, and the apparent treachery of the Blood Ravens' Chapter Master has forced the Inquisition to mark the entire sector for Exterminatus. Each of the six armies has its own story, but unfortunately, play through the same maps, with at most only slight variations between each. The changed narrative helps take some of the strain, however, and the maps are designed well enough to support multiple plays.
Multiplayer comes in two varieties. The main mode is based around capturing strategic points around a map, defending them from the other player(s) while slowly draining their victory points. There is almost no base building, save for building power nodes and generators and updating your HQ. Instead, the emphasis is on pumping out lots of units quickly, upgrading as soon as possible, and pimping out your commander. I have yet to try "The Last Stand," but it's more or less a multiplayer survival mode, and is one of the more popular online modes.
All in all, if you like Dawn of War II
, this game is a definite buy. If you're new to the series, it's a good starting point.