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.

It was obvious from the get-go that the focus of Retribution, and I feel rightfully so, was the Space Marines.  The Blood Ravens are the central Space Marine chapter in the series, and the end of Chaos Rising demanded a sequel.  So when I started playing the Ork Campaign, and discovered that each race plays the same basic overall story, just from their perspective, I was very conscious of how the missions and story compared to the Space Marines.  Oh yes, there are comparisons that can be made, after all each race plays the same mission, but the feel is so different from the Orks to the Space Marines that once you get into the meat of the story I found myself focusing less on how different or the same they were and just got engrossed in the story.

The biggest difference between the two stories, besides perspective, is tone.  The Space Marine story is full of gravitas.  This is the future of their chapter you are playing out.  Will Chaos reign supreme and take control of the Blood Ravens, or will good ultimately win out?  And at what cost?  But the Orks?  The Orks are almost light hearted.  The comic side of the Orks are definitely pushed, but not at the cost of their viciousness.  I think this is where the writing really shines.  Because the Space Marines are the obvious focus of Retribution, but in many ways the Orks campaign is more entertaining.  The writers really nailed it.  They achieved that delicate balance between killer and clown that makes the Orks my favorite race.  I mean yes I'm inclined to like the Orks more, but I was very nervous that sustaining the Orks through an entire campaign was an impossible task.  But they did it, they did it well, and they made me laugh several times throughout.  Anything from Kaptin Bluddflagg having trouble remembering what planet Calderis was by just its name to some of the conversations between the Orks.  There were many times I literally laughed out loud as I listened to them.

Here's an example of a conversation between Kaptin Bluddflagg and Mr. Nailbrain (the mekboy), trying to keep the Orky slang of course:

Bluddflagg:  Mista Nailbrain, it looks ta me like dese Eldars want ta run off wiv all dese nice shiny bitz an' gubbins.
Nailbrain:  Well Kap'n, dat's jus' rude dat is. An' after wez came all da way down 'ere ta steal 'em! Wut shouldz wez do sir?
Bluddflagg:  Well, Mista Nailbrain, I reckin' we should kill dem. 'Orribly of course. 

That's not to say that the Orks are all comedy.  They love a fight, and will bust intoone when they can.  And since it is a Dawn of War game there's lots of fighting to be had.  The Orks do well in missions that obviously had the Blood Ravens in mind when they were designed, and I actually found I did better with the Orks in the finale than I did with the Blood Ravens.

I think there were only two problems with the Ork Campaign that I had.  One was the second cinematic for the Exterminatus.  I would have loved there to be a different cinematic to present the aftermath from the Ork perspective.  The first one works since it's the Inquisition commencing the Exterminatus, but to hear Gabriel Angelos discuss the fallout jarringly took me out of the story.  The second problem was the closing cinematic for the Orks.  It was good, and funny, but it was too short.  I mean they really could have made it longer and I would have loved every minute of it.  And really these complaints aren't all that bad, they just were the biggest complaints I had about the Ork Campaign once I got into it and got used to the campaign dynamic of Retribution being the same basic campaign from each race's perspective.

In the end, I loved the Ork Campaign.  In many ways it was far more entertaining than the Space Marines - and I freaking LOVED the Blood Raven Campaign.  While I had a couple jarring/letdown moments (the realization that the campaigns were the same basic story and missions, the Exterminatus cinematic, and the shortness of the final cinematic), it wasn't enough to really rob the Orks of their glory.  Now I hope that Relic has caught the Orky bug.  Based on what they've done, there is no reason to think that if my fondest dreams of each race getting its own DLC add-on campaign at some point, that they couldn't recapture that magic again.

1 comment:

  1. I remember saying myself the same things you wrote about the Ork campaign.

    It was quite refreshing and I loved it ! After playing the Space Marines and Chaos Marines campaings, having a chance to laugh and kill (at the same time) was a great thing.

    I love the Orks and was a bit afraid of how the dedicated campaign would feel, but it wasn't disappointing at all !

    I also enjoyed the way Captain Bludflagg was enjoyed killing some... greenskin.