Another release from early on in the year, Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II was one of the big Q1 titles and came in a cluster of Relic games at the start of 2009. More interesting than the chronology of the game though is the classification – we remain resolute in our opinion that Dawn of War II isn’t an RTS at all, but a tactical RPG.
All the hallmarks are there if you look for them, with your units levelling up over the course of the game and each grunt at your disposal getting developed far above and beyond the usual cannon fodder you’d find yourself ordering around in a strategy game. You can even outfit your troopers with specific gear to complement your tactics or improve their innate abilities – something which points heavily towards Dawn of War II as an RPG, rather than an RTS.
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II - 8th Place
Hell, there’s not even any base building in Dawn of War 2 and you’re only ever controlling a small squad of troopers, rather than a massive horde of same-faced soldiers.
When Dawn of War 2 was released and began to further explore the Warhammer 40K universe’s never-ending war these changes felt a little odd to some and there were plenty of disgruntled fans who didn’t like the new direction that the series had been moved in. Tempers have mellowed over time though and we’ve little doubt that Relic’s overhaul of Dawn of War 2’s mechanics was for the best.
Regardless of how you want to classify it though, Dawn of War II is still a great game – which is why you voted it into the Top 10 Games of 2009, right? The way that Relic and THQ have restructured and re-imagined the strategy genre into something that’s completely different but still retains the deeper tactical feel of an RTS is nothing short of brilliant.
With new content for the game still on the way in the form of the Chaos Rising expansion and the Last Stand pack that was released back in October, Dawn of War II looks set to have the same long-lasting appeal and active community as gathered around the first game.