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Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising Review

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oMonarca 19th March 2010, 10:19 Quote
Unremarkable? Oh, let me see, is it "not enough MW2"? A game that in every way was more of the same (even if the same was great, bar the dedicated server scandal), got a roaring review. This stand alone expansion (keyword, expansion, standalone, cheaper, not a full overpriced sequel) also gives us more of the same, with a few twists to keep it really interesting, has a really balanced multiplayer, save some minor glaring issues and an improved leaderboard system.

Unremarkable? How many developers are putting out interesting expansions, that really further the concepts introduced with the base game?

Yeah, I guess it would be better if it was just an overpriced sequel working with the same engine and without major mechanic overhauls.Then maybe you would find it remarkable.
Azmat 19th March 2010, 10:23 Quote
Don't forget the addition of the Chaos Sorcerer and the Tyranid Hive Tyrant to The Last Stand. Although it is a bit of a shame there is no new TLS map, they're still some fresh wind.
Some balancing on the squads is also awesome. Thaddeus has become much better now imo; and the new traits/perks you can pick up are cool!
I do feel Jonah is a bit... crap. Me and my buddy both aren't fond of him and rather rip it up with our usual squads. He is just so damn squishy.
Baz 19th March 2010, 10:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oMonarca
Yeah, I guess it would be better if it was just an overpriced sequel working with the same engine and without major mechanic overhauls.Then maybe you would find it remarkable.

Unremarkable doesn't mean not great. Doom 2 was unremarkable, but still great as "more of the same, with knobs on," which is exactly what Chaos Rising is. Also, it uses the same game engine as DoW2, with few new mechanics bar the Morality system, so i'm not sure where your critism of review stands. Chaos Rising is a solid, well made and very enjoyable expansion, but it doesn't really add anything new to the mix.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azmat
Don't forget the addition of the Chaos Sorcerer and the Tyranid Hive Tyrant to The Last Stand.

Some balancing on the squads is also awesome. Thaddeus has become much better now imo; and the new traits/perks you can pick up are cool!
I do feel Jonah is a bit... crap. Me and my buddy both aren't fond of him and rather rip it up with our usual squads. He is just so damn squishy.

Gah, the new last stand units were mentioned but were edited out. Will amend.

Also, Thaddeus was invincible in the original! He had a perk where he was invincible for a short time after jump jetting in that also applied to teleporting. All you had to do was trigger his teleport as soon as the cooldown finished and he could never be killed.

I agree that Jonah was squishy, and I felt forced to use him just to see what he was like. He actually got pretty good towards the end though, and some of his spells like the controllable doom vortex are awesome.
CardJoe 19th March 2010, 10:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz
Doom 2 was unremarkable

Get out.

Doom 2 was a vast improvement, with better, more open levels and a more sophisticated attitude to level design throughout. It's wholly better than the original game, regardless of whether or not it shares textures and enemies.
Baz 19th March 2010, 11:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz
Doom 2 was unremarkable

Get out.

Doom 2 was a vast improvement, with better, more open levels and a more sophisticated attitude to level design throughout. It's wholly better than the original game, regardless of whether or not it shares textures and enemies.

Its just more the same, but with more cyber demons. ADMIT IT.
oMonarca 19th March 2010, 11:07 Quote
My criticism was aimed towards this site lack of consistency on it's general review values, and I don't mean the score values. Place MW2 and CR side by side: both are marginal improvements over their direct predecessors, but one is marked as a sequel, has fewer features than the first in the series and is overpriced. The other not only is an expansion pack that furthers almost everything found in the base game, but also keeps the community cohesive: there's no separation in the multiplayer community, unlike MW1 and MW2, for instance.

Yet, MW2 was praised as an excellent game, by most of the staff on the podcast. This expansion, that is in every way consumer friendly (except for the GFWL issue) and shows that Relic is listening to the community and trying to make the most of it's means, gets classified as unremarkable.

What the hell?
NuTech 19th March 2010, 11:23 Quote
Wow, people still have beef with the MW2 review...

On a more relevant note, what do I have to buy to play as Orks? They're the only part of the Warhammer universe that I remotely care about.
CardJoe 19th March 2010, 11:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oMonarca
My criticism was aimed towards this site lack of consistency on it's general review values, and I don't mean the score values. Place MW2 and CR side by side: both are marginal improvements over their direct predecessors, but one is marked as a sequel, has fewer features than the first in the series and is overpriced. The other not only is an expansion pack that furthers almost everything found in the base game, but also keeps the community cohesive: there's no separation in the multiplayer community, unlike MW1 and MW2, for instance.

Yet, MW2 was praised as an excellent game, by most of the staff on the podcast. This expansion, that is in every way consumer friendly (except for the GFWL issue) and shows that Relic is listening to the community and trying to make the most of it's means, gets classified as unremarkable.

What the hell?

The issue here is that, no matter what you think, Modern Warfare 2 was a lot more than 'just more of the same'. It had a completely new campaign, much better graphics, new types of gameplay. It had a brand new co-op mode. The multiplayer was hugely expanded. There was a new infrastructure for multiplayer too (and while everyone can cry about lack of dedis, I've still only rarely had an issue with it and thats another topic besides). It was a totally new game. To say that it is 'more of the same' can only be valid if you reduce it down to it's core components, at which point the entire argument loses validity.

Detaching MW2 from the matter (as it's something people are rarely objective on) what about Mass Effect 2? More of the same? Maybe, in the sense that it was a sci-fi RPG that followed on from the first game, sure, but it's also a new game. New mechanics, new characters, etc. It's better of the same, if you follow me.

Chaos Rising however is not a totally new game. It has new elements, but it also relies a lot on content from the previous game. There's nothing wrong with that and we don't slate it for it - it's an expansion, so it's expected. As it turns out it's also a really good expansion, but it doesn't have anything which really starts to set it apart from comparable titles and in that sense is unremarkable. If you were hoping for Chaos Rising's new ideas to radically alter, update or envigour the original then you will be disappointed for the reasons stated in the review. It is not a huge improvement on the original, merely an expansion - or more of the same.

Unremarkable does not always mean bad. AVP was an unremarkable game, but it was still kind of fun. I enjoyed it despite the fact that it didn't do anything new. Contrariwise, The Path was an incredibly remarkable title; astoundingly original and powerful and actually very brilliant...but it wasn't something we recommended. Granted, unremarkable can be a bad thing - just look at Bionic Commando - but that's why our reviews are longer than one word; to give context and explanation.

The moral of this? Stop focusing on just one word in an entire review and judge the review as a whole. We say that this is a fun game and if you liked DOW2 then you might like this, because it is an extrapolation of that title - but it is not (nor does it have to be) something wholly remarkable.

Also, MW2 was last year. Let it go, man.
Baz 19th March 2010, 11:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech
Wow, people still have beef with the MW2 review...

On a more relevant note, what do I have to buy to play as Orks? They're the only part of the Warhammer universe that I remotely care about.

They've been playable in multiplayer since Dawn of War 2, but have never had a campaign to themselves. Seems a shame since they're so hilariously fun and demented.
NuTech 19th March 2010, 11:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz
They've been playable in multiplayer since Dawn of War 2, but have never had a campaign to themselves. Seems a shame since they're so hilariously fun and demented.
That's crap, I cannot play RTS game multiplayer - I just get shockingly owned every time. Well logic dictates that the next DoWII game will be Orks, fingers crossed.
oMonarca 19th March 2010, 11:42 Quote
I was using MW2 just an example, and severely disagree on the features you mentioned as grounds for a "whole new game".

Lets see how Chaos Rising compares:
"completely new campaign", check;
"much better graphics" (didn't found MW2 all that different from MW1, since it was the same engine), but CR has some graphical optimizations - the engine is behaving better now, so half-check;
"new types of gameplay", new Free For All mode, check;
"It had a brand new co-op mode", does not check, since the original campaign already has that. On the other hand, you can save mid-mission, in co-op now. A nice new detail.

But yes, let's leave MW2 aside.

About ME2, there are significant changes, especially on the core aspect of shooting, character levelling and item management. It is, in fact, a very different game from the first on a basic level, sharing only the setting, the emphasis on story and the character interaction, which are already the strong points in the series and should remain as such.

I find "unremarkable" derogatory, since the trend to "milk" out a game with overpriced DLC - "new" maps that are rehashes from previous titles, quests that don't fit in an interesting way with the main game - are becoming ever more common, a bad thing.

Having a developer put out an expansion pack that keeps the community together, doing it the old fashioned way - new stuff in every aspect of the core game is remarkable in this day and age.

If this is unremarkable, then please tell me of a recent expansion pack that is remarkable.

And I'm using the remarkable bit because it summarizes the general tone of the review quite nicely. You explain much of what the expansion brings, and your stance towards it, and I have no issue with that. What I'm interested, in the review, is the conclusion and what sustains it. And with this I disagree.
NuTech 19th March 2010, 11:47 Quote
oMonarca 19th March 2010, 12:09 Quote
About a campaign with Orks: while they're are a fun race (you can hear a Slugga say "smashed it like a dry turd prrrt" on a multiplayer battle), you really can't create a compelling story with them as protagonists, since they're so unidimensional. An Ork campaign wouldn't be much more of a series of skirmish battles, since they're only interested in fighting.

Still, in Winter Assault, Relic gave them some measure of protagonism in the Disorder Campaign - you would alternate between controlling Orks and Chaos Space Marines, so let's wait and see. After all, Warboss Gorgutz still lives and hates the Imperial Guard very much.
CardJoe 19th March 2010, 12:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oMonarca

I find "unremarkable" derogatory, since the trend to "milk" out a game with overpriced DLC - "new" maps that are rehashes from previous titles, quests that don't fit in an interesting way with the main game - are becoming ever more common, a bad thing.

Having a developer put out an expansion pack that keeps the community together, doing it the old fashioned way - new stuff in every aspect of the core game is remarkable in this day and age.

If this is unremarkable, then please tell me of a recent expansion pack that is remarkable.

If you're going to put all those words in our mouths I'm not surprised you find it derogatory. Then again, we don't accuse Relic of milking and we don't say it's a rehash and we DO say that it's a fun game. We simply point out that it doesn't introduce anything stunningly original or new to the series. Yes, a few multiplayer enhancements and a new (smaller) campaign are added. Yes, they are pretty good. No, they aren't brilliant.

Whether or not I can point to an expansion pack which is remarkable (I can) or not is moot anyway. Just because I can't think of a book which is better than Dune doesn't mean there aren't any and it certainly doesn't mean that there are no other books which are as remarkable. Not that Dune is my favourite book, mind.

Still, on that topic and in order to prove that remarkable expansions exist; Dragon Age: Origins: Awakenings is both recent and pretty remarkable. Or Opposing Force? I personally thought RA: Uprising was pretty remarkable too (though that doesn't mean it was a great game) for the way that it added so much new stuff to the original gameplay.

Chaos Rising is a pretty good game, but it isn't brilliant and it doesn't add anything that will make it stand out as a 'remarkable' title. That's a perfectly fair line to take and one we stand by.
oMonarca 19th March 2010, 12:24 Quote
I wasn't putting anything in anyone's mouths, just explaining how I see the concept of remarkable/unremarkable at the moment.

Also, Dragon Age: Origins: Awakenings is both recent and pretty remarkable, in what way? I eagerly await the review, to see if it really adds anything "brilliant or stunningly original or new to the series".
Quote:
That's a perfectly fair line to take and one we stand by.

And I wouldn't appreciate the opposite. I like that you stick to your guns, even if I find them terribly lacking sometimes. I just wanted to spread the message that furthering a new direction to a somewhat stale and niche genre while refining good mechanics is something that's really hard to do successfully (see C&C4). And for keeping this ball rolling and interesting, Chaos Rising is pretty remarkable, in the sense that it's in a place where other expansion packs should aspire to be.
impar 19th March 2010, 12:50 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz
Its just more the same, but with more cyber demons. ADMIT IT.
It had a double shotgun!
Bede 19th March 2010, 13:05 Quote
Thaddeus' explosive teleport in termie armour. I have never seen a more entertaining way to take out hordes of heretics in a split second :D Totally agree with the review about the final boss battle, deeply boring.
Centy-face 19th March 2010, 13:09 Quote
Meh 30 quid for some new missions new a few new units oh Relic when will you learn
oMonarca 19th March 2010, 13:16 Quote
Oh, and another point: I find adding a whole new multiplayer faction, without breaking balance something worthy of note and more than a mere multiplayer enhancement.

It's especially true with CR since Relic itself has a track history of making the new race imbalanced at the start of the expansion life-cycle.

In fact, the new race actually brings back part of the concept of base-building, although in a very light way. Still, it's interesting, since a probable candidate for a future expansion, the Imperial Guard, has a "big base" heritage from the first game, so the future may yet reveal a another new race that also locks down terrain with buildings.

But since the multiplayer aspect wasn't approached with the same depth in the review as the singleplayer, while it is the portion of the game most responsible for it's long term presence, I conclude that yes, "guns are lacking".

Now I see better your point of view, and disagree even more with the review. This isn't a proper Chaos Rising review, but an adequate Chaos Rising singleplayer review.
NethLyn 19th March 2010, 13:25 Quote
30 notes, Centy-Face? I've seen it down to £18 at Amazon recently, probably building up to an Easter deal.

Even though I'm enjoying it especially in Co-op, I'm just glad that someone bought this for me as a gift, if I'd spent my own money I would have been hacked off at how short it was, even if I'd got the cheaper price I found.

When it comes to remarkable standalone expansions I still can't think of a better example than Supreme Commander Forged Alliance, its new SP campaign lasts up to 36 hours if you play for every objective, and you can play through with three of the 4 races and the 4th in MP. That's three years ago now though.
Baz 19th March 2010, 14:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oMonarca
Now I see better your point of view, and disagree even more with the review. This isn't a proper Chaos Rising review, but an adequate Chaos Rising singleplayer review.

We've covered the multiplayer aspect of DoW 2 extensively in the past, first with a look at the beta, then in the original review, then in a blog post, and then some news posts. I've played the game extensively online too, in both Last Stand and online multiplayer throw downs (although I always prefered CoH's MP for its lack of GFWL)

I myself am a huge, huge Relic fan, but adding as extra race into a game without breaking it shouldn't be seen as some enormous triumph (although it is nice for balance). I get the feeling you keep this game close to your heart and that's fine, but its important to keep perspective; Company of Heroes is by far my favorite game of the last decade, but it didn't stop me dumping all over Tales of Valor. In the same way, is adding an extra race to the multiplayer really that commendable? If they'd added Chaos and the Tyranids, with campaigns for both and a genuinely new multiplayer mode, then we'd be talking a fantastic addition. As it is CR is pretty by the numbers - very capable and loving made no doubt, but hardly earthshaking.
oMonarca 19th March 2010, 15:01 Quote
Well, although a new race in an assymetric game is a pretty big deal, I do agree that by itself doesn't make the expansion a must have. However, no mention was made about the uniqueness of Chaos on the review - the shrines, the high adaptability of the new race, etc, nor the impact on the resulting metagame. Neither was any mention made about TLS new heroes.

From a glance, your review states more of the same, and the same is good, if not innovating. I would agree with this, if in previous reviews I found that same line of reasoning being applied. But I see some games get such huge praise from bit-tech - something along the lines of "Yes! They have done it again and it's awesome!", and then an expansion comes that hits all the same notes but gets "oh, it's fun, just not super exciting".

Like I said, I'm going to wait and read Awakening's review. And then some others. I won't bother readers with this subject anymore, since I think I've made my stance clear and want to spare you the boredom of my rants.

Best regards and the hope of the continuation of a great work, even if it's a bit too attached to the way how film critics review their stuff. At least for my liking. A game goes beyond the emotion and fun it brings.
TWeaK 19th March 2010, 15:26 Quote
@Joe - I'm a bit disappointed. The first good expansion that came to mind for me was Balder's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal :p
CardJoe 19th March 2010, 15:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
@Joe - I'm a bit disappointed. The first good expansion that came to mind for me was Balder's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal :p

Not played it. I'm still doing The Baldur's Gate challenge (it's hard when you get distracted by other great games, like Mass Effect 2!"). I'm right at the very end of the first game, having done the first (lacklustre) expansion pack. I've played BG2 before a dozen times, so I'll be able to burn right through that soon enough though.
TWeaK 19th March 2010, 21:00 Quote
Make sure you find all the pantaloons and keep them safe!
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