May 072010
 

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising is the first stand-alone expansion to Dawn of War II, 2009’s popular real-time strategy/tactical role-playing game based on the Warhammer: 40,000 universe –Popular but pretty much under-appreciated.

Chaos Rising , actually manages to improve on the original game while introducing many innovative changes and gives a fresh outlook towards the game. No matter if you are new to the Warhammer Universe , Chaos Rising will bring you right home.

The gameplay at the core is same as the original game but a lot has been added to make the game feel new. Like the new Blood Ravens Campaign ,Chaos faction for the multiplayer (yay!) and two new heroes for the Last Stand and new multiplayer maps and a lot more small changes. Well, as this is a stand-alone expansion patch ,you would require the original Dawn of War 2 to be able to play with the other factions. This is a little bit of a letdown. But still, Chaos Rising is a gem of a game which will become evident as you pour more of your time in this.

The main problem with the original game was that it got repetitive after a while. While they seemed to offer a great deal of freedom in choosing whether or not to take on sidequests and other extra missions, most of the fights boiled down to trudging to the top of what seemed like the same map over and over again. The single player campaign can also be played with a friend called co-operative play. The old party of Dawn of War II makes a return with heroes like Davian Thule ( whose soul haunts a dreadnought)  and Avitus ( the battle hungry). Character import is supported but they will arrive without the great endgame gear of Dawn of War II which is again a letdown. Also a new character has been added –Jonah Orion who is a celebrated spellcaster and he can hold his own in battle.

Corruption points: In addition to gaining experience from battles, heroes can now get corruption points – a blessing from the Chaos Gods. Corruption points can be acquired from different sources namely by using corruption skills, betraying your kin,exposing to dark energies for a while etc. Corruption points can help you obtain corrupted war gear or corruption skills. Players who always play the good side always have the chance to redeem themselves in game so the pure war gear can always be yours considering you redeem yourselves. But as pure gameplay gets you one ability point as compared to corruption which gives two, it doesn’t take a genius to know why players tend towards the dark side.

Your Space Marines must do battle with the usual Orks,Eldar,Tyranids and the Chaos faction. The story goes like this -while fighting with the Chaos faction, it becomes known that someone inside your ranks has turned rogue. So while you continue battling outside ,you try to unfold the conspiracy. By the grace of God, you never play any map twice.

Multiplayer is same as that of Dawn of War excluding a few changes like new maps, a free-for-all battle mode. Still Last Stand is limited to the single map. In order to enjoy full playability, it is necessary to own both the original Dawn of War II and the expansion.

Graphics and Sounds:

Graphics are top notch in Chaos Rising. The intricate details on the dreadnought armour , the machine guns, the entrails of the Great Unclean One as well as on different units is pretty realistic as it gets. The voice acting is grade one as well as the background scores. If you play totally immersed in the game then chances are the music will haunt you even after you close the game, which is a good thing. The music nicely blends with the machine gun fire and the explosions.

Pros:

1. Brand new faction for multiplayer.
2. Robust characters, combined with an intriguing storyline,varied battles and excellent gameplay.
3. Addition of corruption powers gives a re playability to the otherwise short campaign.
4. Two new heroes to freshen up The Last Stand.

Cons:

1. Corruption side only affects the ending.
2. Single map for The Last Stand.

“As long as the enemies of the Emperor still drawn breath there can be no peace.”

Tech5 Score: 8/10.
Do yourself a favor (pun intended) and get this one.

“The chapter calls and we answer.”

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