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Dawn Of War 2: The Last Stand
Review Score:

I’m a strategy whore, I admit that. I love having legions of troops to command and “dispose” of as I wish, it soothes my god complex. Dawn of War 2 is my latest squeeze in the RTS genre and it doesn’t help that I’m also a life time fan of Games Workshops Warhammer 40,000 franchise. So, really, Dawn of War 2 is almost my perfect strategy game.

I have a review of Dawn of War 2 kicking around on the site so I will only give you the bullet points here. It’s good, really good and it fractures the RTS genre and even its own game mechanics from tried and tested to something of a risk. It removed the base building (which I was very dubious of) and reduced the squad sizes and even the amount of units available. But what you got was a streamlined RTS that concentrated on combat and micro-management in its best forms.

Enough brown-nosing, I’m here for serious business. The Dawn of War franchise has famously had excellent and numerous expansions and Dawn of War 2 has yet to be graced by one (Confirmed: Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising set for spring 2010…Yay!). Considering that Relic have only had a year so far (and released some great patches), those who whine for more content falls on deaf ears. Some people are never happy.

But what’s this? Relic have spoilt the community and given us a FREE downloadable content! Now that’s after market support!

Dawn of War 2: The Last Stand is an online multiplayer mode which pits 3 players against waves of bad guys. Not the most original idea but a in an RTS it’s a perfect break of pace for this genre of game. You get the choice of 3 characters, an Eldar Farseer, an Ork Mek and a Space Marine Captain and each can be customised with your own pimpin’ colour scheme. Each character differs wildly from each other and boosts unique strengths and weaknesses.

I’ll give you the run down, The Space Marine Captain is the tank and will power on through the enemy ranks, the Farseer is your personnel support and uses her Psychic power to devastating effect and the Ork Mek who is your goal keeper, gunning and running and planting mines. All characters can be levelled up and gain new wargear and abilities and its up to you to balance it well.

Thing is, unless you have a 2 friends who have chosen their characters and you have a mix of all 3 its ok, but in online you can end up with any mix of characters. So you can get 2 Space Marines and 1 Ork Mek or end up with 3 Farseers! (Which is hilarious when the psychic powers start to fly) It’s not unbalanced though and I have heard of teams consisting of these strange selections making it to the top wave, wave 20.

The waves get harder and harder (no! unbelievable!) and consist of different enemies from all factions in Dawn of War 2. The map you fight on isn’t too big and you have to make use of the cover if you want to survive until someone demolishes it was heavy ordinance or monstrous foot steps. Each wave comes from 4 gates in each corner of the map, some not at the same time and can change from gate to gate at random.

Sometimes the odds get wildly unbalanced and I personally got stuck on wave 16 but its all about tactics, being clever with your wargear selections and, most importantly, team work. I do love a good online game that relies on teamwork, not because if we lose I can blame everyone else, but because I love finding people with the same mentality to work together and win. Victory is so much sweeter that way.

I find it hard to score add-ons like this. It’s not in dept enough to pretend to score it as a stand alone game as it really is only something you will dip into. But it is so good it’s not fair to augment the original games score to reflect later additions. Hmm. In truth I think I will base it on how the game feels and reflects upon the original, if it remains faithful and enhances it. In this case it’s doing well.

All in all this is a fantastic add-on and very welcome and a surprise to boot. Relic has been one of my favourite developers for a long time, and because of stuff like this, remain in my top 5. Thank you Relic. Only one last thing to do, Put on the Runes of Warding, slip on my armour and grab my Singing Spear because I got me a team to assemble and kick some miscellaneous ass! Reviewed for the PC. Oh yeah, and wave 20 has a special, ruinous surprise.

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Dawn Of War 2: The Last Stand, 8.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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