Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dawn fo War II - Retribution Dark Angel DLC Announced

THQ Announced today that they will be releasing a DLC Pack for Retribution that features custom Dark Angel units and skins for multiplayer.

The Dark Angels Pack adds the iconic Space Marine chapter to the game with eight unique models for the major multiplayer units as well as new color schemes for the others.  The Force Commander is replaced by a Dark Angels Company Master complete with winged helmet, the Tactical Marine squad all sport the iconic Dark Angels robes.  Additionally, the Scout Squad, Assault Marine Squad and Terminators all receive similar chapter-specific revisions.

I think this is really cool.  If there is one Space Marine chapter I like more than the Blood Ravens, it's the Dark Angels.  Also, it warms the cockles of my heart to know that THQ and Relic have actually started down the DLC road.  I will again say, I hope this ends up with some race specific DLC campaigns made available at some point.  Also, this DLC will cost money, and while some people may have an issue with that (we all love free stuff), and I would have liked a DLC pack like this to be free, if it helps give them the incentive to do other more exhaustive DLC packs then I'm okay with it.

The DLC will be available on April 6 for $7.50

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dawn of War II: Retribution - Thoughts on the Ork Campaign

The other day I finished the Ork campaign in Dawn of War II: Retribution.  For those who read my review of Retribution it was based on having played some multiplayer, The Last Stand, and completing the Space Marine campaign.  I had started both the Ork and 'Nid campaigns to see how they worked, but didn't feel my review really needed all the campaigns completed to be written.

But I'm still playing all the campaigns and will write up my thoughts on each campaign as I finish them.

Hit the jump to see what I thought of the Ork campaign.  And please keep in mind, this write up is chock full of spoilers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Last Stand Content for Retribution Owners

Yesterday Relic announced they were going to release new wargear and achievements for The Last Stand.  These achievements and gear unlocks will only be available, like the new map, to owners of Dawn of War II: Retribution.

You can read the entire press release over at the Dawn of War II Community Site.

I'm not sure why this wasn't included in the initial release of the game, but I don't care.  It's just another reason for me to play if I really needed a reason anyway.

Monday, March 14, 2011

40K Neotube: The Voice Actors of Dawn of War II

So you might have noticed that 40K Neotube has gone from a weekly segment to an occasional one.  Sorry but after a while I just wasn't finding anything original, so for the time being I'm just going to pop this kind of thing up when a cool video comes my way.

Like this entry that Relic posted to YouTube today featuring the voice actors of Retribution. I happen to think that the voice work of the Dawn of War games is one of the standouts for the series (except maybe the narrator of Dark Crusade who is just a little too over the top).  So if you want to see who does what voices for the game, hit the jump and watch it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dawn of War II: Retribution Review

You know what's impressive?  Surpassing the hype.  Not just the general media hype, but the hype in my head.  When I'm looking forward to something, I mean really looking forward to something, I have a tendency to build it up in my mind so much that it rarely - if ever - meets those expectations.  So I can sum up Dawn of War II: Retribution one way:  It didn't let me down.  Actually it hasn't just met my expectations, at times this game has blown them (and me collaterally) away.

Retribution is the follow up to Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising the expansion to Dawn of War II, it's set 10 years after the events of Chaos Rising, and while I'm not sure it's as revolutionary a follow up as Chaos Rising was, it is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination.

Here's what Retribution has to offer:
  • A new race available to play, the Imperial Guard
  • New multiplayer units such as the Land Raider and Battlewagon
  • A new map for Last Stand game play that features new waves of units, and a tweaked arena layout
  • Multi-race campaign that allows players to play more than just the Space Marines in single player
  • A new Imperial Guard hero (Lord Genera) for Last Stand
  • Steam Achievements
  • Steam for multiplayer replacing Windows Live for Games
  • Excellent story telling
  • Continued awesomeness in the voice work (a hallmark of the Dawn of War games)
Here's what Retribution doesn't offer:
  • The ability to play Last Stand with friends who have not purchased the new game.  Yes, you can go back and play Last Stand with them through Chaos Rising, but then the new hero and map are not available.
  • Race specific campaigns that utilize different mission
  • Anything resembling a quick load time 
    Decisions, decisions, decisions...

    I've played the Space Marine campaign to completion, I'm halfway through the Ork campaign, and I've started the Tyranid campaign.  The game designers have made some nice tweaks in singleplayer gameplay.  Gone are the limitations on heroes/squads you have on a mission, but gone too are the heroes with squads.  With Retribution you have the heroes, but they are separated out - more as Independent Characters from tabletop 40K.  Cyrus is back, but it's just Cyrus no squad of Scouts with him.  However with Retribution you can bring Honor Guard squads in place of your heroes, or you can capture HQs that allow you to reinforce your 4 heroes and squads with other squads such as Tactical Marines, a Dreadnaught, or even Terminators.  There are limits to how many units you can have but there are also points you can capture that increase your population cap.
    Judge me all you want, but there's something about a chick in all leather who is
    capable carrying out Exterminatus.  It's just really hot.

    Gone too are the limited abilities that you have to resupply.  Frag grenades, healing and other items and abilities that were limited resources in the previous games are now energy based.  This frees up the reinforcement crates to provide resource and energy points for getting other units onto your battlefield.
    And I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George.  And I will pet his
    bill and stroke his pretty feathers... Hey! Wait a minute George, bunnies don't
    have feathers...

    Last Stand is a treat.  The new Lord General comes with several weapon choices at first, but he's not the reason I love Last Stand in Retribution.  I love Last Stand gameplay because of the new map "The Anvil of Khorne."  This new map has tweaked the waves to include Chaos Marines and Imperial Guard, and the waves seem more relentless and difficult.  The farthest I've made it is wave 11, and a couple times we've been overrun in wave one or two.  This would never happen in the original Last Stand setup.
    I'm tired of pretending I'm not a total bitchin' rock star from Mars

    Unfortunately, Retribution doesn't play nice with previous versions of Dawn of War II when it comes to Last Stand play.  I was kind of expecting this knowing that Relic had moved away from Windows Live for Games to Steam for multiplayer gaming.  This change might be one of the best things they did for this expansion, but I'm disappointed they couldn't figure something out.  One of my fondest memories of Chaos Rising was the first time I played with a friend who hadn't picked up that expansion and I brought out the Chaos Sorcerer.  He thought it was so cool I think he bought the game the next day.  So this time around I have several friends who have not made the upgrade, and while I wasn't expecting them to be able to play the new hero, and possibly the new map, I was hoping that we could play together. Sadly the only way to do this is through Chaos Rising.  Not  a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, and likely out of Relic's control, but something I was hoping they would be able to work around.
    This one is for any Doctor Who fans..."Are you my mommy?"
    I'm not sure what the deal is with load times in this game, but they take longer than they should.  Now I know my computer isn't bleeding edge, but it has no problem handling current games.  I have had some rather long load times for missions and to unload the mission and go back to the star map.  Even in Last Stand where I was ready to log off once, but by the time my PC got back to the lobby the countdown for the next game was underway (which grays out the exit button).

    Finally the biggest disappointment I had with Retribution was the multi-race campaign.  I played the Blood Raven campaign first, as we all know they are the focus of the Dawn of War games.  After that I jumped into the Ork campaign and was a little put off that I was replaying missions.  I did some research and sure enough the campaign for each race utilizes the same missions.  The enemy units might be different, and the framing story is completely different, but the missions are still the same.  This isn't a bad thing, because there is so much put into this expansion, but it was not clearly spelled out before the release and the discovery was the one thing that really bothered me.  Sort of like the back when Dawn of War II came out in 2009 and I discovered there was no Ork campaign.  I loved the game, but there was a disappointment I had to overcome.  And now that I have overcome it, I've been able to really enjoy the Orks for their brutal comic relief, and am fascinated with how the developers handled the Tyranid hive-mind.  And the missions are good enough, and the stories different enough I will finish all the campaigns.  But having something geared specifically to each race (beyond story, voice work, and sprites) would have shot this game to the stratosphere and made it an instant classic.

    I have spoiler stuff to mention after the jump, but to sum up I love Retribution.  Relic really did an awesome job changing the campaign to make the it feel new.  Combine that with the Last Stand additions, and the continued compelling story telling, and Retribution is a very worthy addition to a great game franchise.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Dawn of War II: Retribution Has Arrived

    Today I got home from picking my daughter up from school and there was a Fed Ex package on my porch.  It was my copy of Dawn of War II: Retribution Collectors Edition that I had won a few weeks ago (funny story, I knew I couldn't swing the game because I'm currently unemployed but Relic had a giveaway on Facebook, change your profile pic to something 40K related and comment on a commenter would be randomly selected to win the CE..I already had a 40K related profile pic so I commented "dakka dakka" and won...).

    Anyway, if anybody needs me I'm going to be knee deep in playing the game.

    Also, for the record the CE is really cool.  There's a poster, some art cards, plus you get all campaigns AND some neat unlocks.  So yeah....I'll surface sometime next week with an update.

    And of course a big THANK YOU to Relic for randomly selecting me and showing me that *sniff* dreams really do *weep* come true.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    40K Neotube: Retribution Cinematic Trailer

    It hit last week, but I didn't see it until a few minutes ago.  With Retribution going live today I was perusing to see what was happening (my copy comes soon...I hope), and I saw it.  And if you haven't seen it, well it's full of Gabriel Angelos goodness.

    And if you haven't seen it, you can see it after the jump.