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Dawn of War 2: COMRADE EDITION
on June 25, 2013
DISCLAIMER: I played the closed and open betas since April and clocked in about 50 hours or so with multiplayer on the open beta, so my review is based on my overall experience.
My overwhelming impression for this game is that it is almost exactly like Dawn of War 2, mainly in how terrible the netcode continues to be. Relic has chosen to continue to use the cheaper P2P multiplayer model, which guarantees that the game will run as fast as the person playing with the Pentium III processor. Lag is guaranteed and 4v4 matches rarely maintain all players as someone will eventually drop. Higher ranking teams frequently get sent against low ranking teams. The argument you may hear is that rank does not equate skill, which is true. However, aside from the massive flaw in thinking with this argument (a player who has played to level 50 against humans is probably more comfortable with the controls and command than a newer player), you receive "Bulletins" as you level up, which are essentially perks for your army that confer minor benefits. "Minor" is extremely subjective in this case as some of the later perks have benefits such as better armor, health, accuracy, speed, penetration, etc... around 5%.
The perks don't really matter much as the game is extremely unbalanced between the Soviets, who rely on infantry, and the German side, which gets early access to MG42s and a halftrack upgradable with a dual flamethrower which suppresses and rapidly roasts infantry. The German armor is also so hilariously superior to anything the Soviets can muster to the point where the only way to win is for the Soviets to simply spam massive amounts of AT guns, or sacrificial T-34 tanks. How are they sacrificial? The T-34s in this game can ram into enemy vehicles, severely damaging the engine of the target vehicle at the cost of the offensive capability and mobility of the T-34. Not that it matters since the T-34's main gun does damage to a Panzer IV 25% of the time when making a direct hit, even from the side or rear. A Panzer IV's main gun hits 90% of the time and does an average of about 40% damage through the frontal armor of a T-34. The German Pak does considerable damage, while the Soviet's equivalent is a joke, unless you build about five of them and point them all at one Panzer IV tank, which will usually respond by rapidly leading its buddies (German tanks have an ability which allows them to drive full speed for several seconds, like the T-34 ram ability, except the German tank drives fast and gets an evasion bonus, and not a disabled main gun and engine) around your defensive line, murdering poor Ivan with the upgradable MG42 mounted gun on the tank's turret, which the Soviets do not have on their medium tanks.
Grenadiers are also superior in that they have a powerful long-range tank buster (without an upgrade), while the Soviet conscripts have to upgrade to get a horrid sticky bomb which needs to be deployed while standing right next to the target vehicle. To its credit, it does a decent amount of damage and guarantees engine damage, at the cost of the conscript squad which flung it. In any case, the Germans need only hold back Ivan long enough to build a tank compound and start sending tanks into Ivan's base while the infantry seizes land and sends more tanks.
The Germans have an equally puzzling ability in the form of Medpacks that they receive upon receiving veteran 1 rank. The medpacks can only be used on another infantry squad, and take a second to activate.
Among the worst issues are technical. Apart from the lag, there is also a two second delay to commands, and the pathfinding is terrible. On several occasions, I ordered my infantry to abandon an area to leave a targeted zone. The result? They walk FORWARD toward the enemy, before slowly proceeding back into the target zone, losing half the men of the squad I sought to save by withdrawing from that particular skirmish. Sometimes the AI completely freaks out and decides to do nothing at all for a second or two, before finally deciding to run TOWARD a group of enemy infantry with low health. The pathfinding appears to be totally arbitrary in this regard.
Snipers are useless in that they have either one or two members, who die quite rapidly. Given their expense, and ineffectiveness against tanks, they are a poor choice.
Literally every Soviet tactic can be circumvented by driving the much better armored and armed German Medium tanks around defenses and passing straight into the base. Responding is difficult as tank destroyers are very expensive, and are terribly fragile.
There are very few maps, and the winter maps ironically play against the Soviets, who rely on infantry who freeze when blizzards set in.
One thing that bothers me is the large amount of people who claim that there are no sandbags and mines. Both sides can have their engineers/pioneers lay mines, and conscripts lay sandbags that take a very long time to build and can be destroyed immediately with a light vehicle. The Germans can build limitless bunkers which can be upgraded with reinforcement points, medical centers, OR MG42 NESTS. This is perfect for the German player who wants to point three machine gun nests on all the fuel depots so they can start producing those tanks or a flamethrower halftrack to troll the enemy. A Katyusha is a good solution for this, until the German player decides he does not like you raining down rockets on his carefully built bunker spam, and destroys your expensive Katyusha truck with one or two hits from a medium tank from just out of line of site. I know, as I have done this myself.
The graphics look better than DoW2, but the high hardware requirements are not justified.
Despite this, the game is very fun if you can learn to fight against the cheap tricks and the VA in the multiplayer is more than tolerable, though it is obvious that the VAs are faking the accents, and totally mispronounce foreign curse words. My suggestion is to buy a book while waiting for the game to connect with the other players. Also, you may want to buy this game when it is about 30USD, by which point it will probably be more stable, more fun, and have more than two maps per mode (sprinkling snow on a map does not make a new map).
As for the DLC, I actually don't think this is the biggest issue. 90% of the DLC is skins, which are impossible to distinguish mid-battle. The doctrines are just variations of existing doctrines in the core game, and do not really confer any advantage since the best doctrines are the doctrines you earn by level 45, by which point the Soviets get their great assault gun (with upgradable MG turret THAT DOES ACTUAL DAMAGE) and the Germans get their Tiger (which can take on five T-34s at once, unless they all sacrifice slam into it at once, putting them out of action for the two minutes it takes to fix the engine).
EDIT: The UI, Music, SFX, and detail are all great. My major problem is with the multiplayer lag. If I didn't have to struggle against it, I would have probably given four stars for the multiplayer.
EDIT 2: According to gamegpu, an nvidia Titan card can barely handle this game on full settings with 1080p.