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on July 30, 2010
Gaming hours on this game: 40+ hours
Good Replay mode

Summary:
I have purchased almost every dawn of war RTS. These games get you immersed into the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. I like that with these two installments more and more lore is getting put into the game making it much more realistic yet still science ficition. Unlike the other games your not allowed to build bases which for me is a dissapointment. I understand that it makes sense to have a mobile army for some of the factions like Space Marines but I didnt like that they focused less on building minature civilization and base defenses. I like the old version (Dawn of War, Dawn of War: Winter Assualt Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, ) of the games because its nice seeing the base explode and have the enemy suffer. In this version of the game your forced to either take cover in the enviroment or hide next to your HQ building which offers only 2 turrets. For that reason it makes defending your HQ nearly impossible in mid game and its annoying becausing your chances of making a counterstrike is limited. This game has a high replay value meaning that every battle feels different and your allowed to chose different paths or weapons.

Campaign(No Spoilers):
The first campaign Dawn of War II consists of you the Space Marines battling against several factions. There is limited decision you have to make in battle aside from knowing to take cover and using your special abilities. It is repetitive at times and the objectives are usually the same thing over and over. While the second campaign of Dawn War II: Chaos Rising offered a variety of missions and it picks up right after you've left off on the previous campaign (it includes your weapons, levels, and characters). The campaign is a couple missions shorter than the previous one but the in game action is more exciting. My main complaint was that some of the levels were downright frustating because they were confusing. You did not know where to go or if you were going to the right the direction. In one of the missions it could actually take around 1 hour just to defeat a single character. In addition sometimes the enemy units randomly spawned across the map wether their bases were destroyed or not.

Graphics:
I don't think graphics get any better for a Real Time Strategy game than what the graphics this game has. The soldiers have a reflection on the water, Bullets hit their targets or kick up dirt when they hit the ground. When the soldiers fight they are actually striking blows on the enemy soldiers instead of hitting thin air or beside them. There is lots of gore in this game if your into that when there is napalm the units are charred and while if the unit is hit with a shell the body is shredded. The graphics are great but at the same time this game much more demanding for computer requirements and even higher computer requirements online. The game will automatically drop a player online if there computer lags for longer than a minute. This a good thing because it stops your game from freezing if their lagging and its a bad thing because if your ally gets dropped when your in a middle of a massive battle it defeats the point of playing the game. I think that this game should of least given the players the option of dropping the person who is lagging instead of automatically dropping them.

Multiplayer/ Difficulty:
The difficulty of this game on a scale of 1 to 10 is 7 in my opinon for the simple reasons that it has a steep learning curve. If you do not select the right upgrades you will find yourself having a difficult time both offline and online. On online the battles are short and in a single engagement you could find that you've already lost the battle. Once an enemy has taken the advantage wether it be a resource or cover there is almost no chance of victory unless you take it back within a minute. I also find it really frustating that unlike the previous games that you cannot win if your lacking in a single unit combination. Even though in this game you do not have bases it does not make the strategy anymore easier for me. I usually relied on my base defenses and artillery to do the job. Now your forced into an offensive game where you just grab as many command points and kill as many of the enemy as you can.
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VINE VOICEon June 1, 2010
Since it is the number one consideration I make in choosing if I'm going to buy a game, I have to talk about the copy protection. Yes it's not the game, but it is a part of the overall product. If you can't play the game, then it's of no use to you. Dawn of War 2 is more intrusive than the CD keys of the old days. Those keys were perfectly reasonable and fair, but nowadays I can't understand why companies punish their paying customers with annoying activations. I purchased Max Payne 2 and the protection couldn't recognize my CD drive so I couldn't use it; their response was tough luck. I have almost entirely stopped buying PC games because the protection adds risk.

That said, the protection scheme that Relic went with is at least not as bad as it could be. You have to install Steam by Valve software and there is a CD Key too, but as far as I can tell Steam isn't evil and it doesn't do anything to screw with your system. You do need to have an Internet connection the first time you install the game, but after that you can put everything in offline mode and not connect. While this isn't as bad as it could have been, if you're a US Army trooper stationed in a country without access to the Internet to validate your copy or if you just don't have a connection, you're out of luck. You also have to have a Games For Windows Live account, but you can create an offline one. When playing single player it's slightly annoying to be asked/reminded multiple times if you want to be in online mode.

So, on to the game. The first thing you'll notice is that this is NOT Dawn of War. The first game was kind of like StarCraft or most RTS games where you build a base, then units, then fight it out. At least in single player, Dawn of War 2 is more like those StarCraft levels where you had a small group of soldiers and your goal was to reach the other side of the map. Whether you like this change or not, well that's a matter of taste. I kind of like not worrying about the base development. At the same time, it does make the game a little less interesting because you lose that base defense and resource management aspect.

The characters are great. You get a little bit of RPG angle to things because you can customize the armor, weapon, and special bonus that each squad gets. This isn't all that deep, sort of like X-Men Legends 2 character tweaking. There is an interesting touch where you can gain certain bonus skills if you reach milestones adding points in certain areas. For example, if you add points to the scout's "will" (mana) attribute you can get a skill to not drain energy if concealed while standing still. You get the idea. I liked it since you get to choose whether to round out your squad or take a risk and get some benefits for focusing in on one or two areas.

Dreadnoughts are back and just as fun as ever. They'll still pick up the bad guy sometimes and toss them around the map. Plus, they don't need cover; they ARE cover. In single player, he's about useless until you get the "self repair" ability. Unlike your normal characters, he won't heal over time. Once you get that ability, he'll can fix himself and becomes a major player. You can revive fallen comrades if you have at least one guy left, but I couldn't ever get him to revive anybody so it's probably a limit to balance the abilities of this unit type.

Controls are tight and the characters will generally do what you want them to. I occasionally had problems selecting all units at once, though. Graphics look good. Sounds fit the game nicely and the voice acting is quite good. You've got a good story and entertaining Multiplayer. Overall though, to me it just didn't meet what I was expecting. I do enjoy it, but I'd have rather had more of an enhanced version of the previous game with some levels like this thrown in. As with the first game, you only get Space Marines campaigns. Too bad. I probably won't stick around too long after I finish the single player campaign, but I'll have fun until then.

This package is perfect because you can import your DOW2 campaign into CR and start off with your earned skills and some of your equipment. DOW2 and CR differ signifigantly in their mechanics. DOW2 is easier; you have a lot more chance to play random missions to level up or for goodies and supplies boost everybody's special equipment. Chaos has fewer random missions and throws in tasks that leave you more pure or more tainted by Chaos. It's an interesting idea, but does make things annoying at times when you have to use a specific character or replay a mission just to avoid corruption. Supplies are type specific so you get fewer uses. Both games are fun.

Check the system requirements well before you buy it. It requires significantly more power than Dawn of War did. You also need a decent video card. My system beats the suggested specs, I have an Athlon 5600+ CPU, 3 GB of RAM, and a GeForce 8400 GS video card and it's a little jerky at times. The game has a cool feature that rates your setup and can automatically configure for best performance. My card apparently isn't up to snuff even at the lowest settings, so I can still play but it thinks I'd lag out of online play. Just as well, I have no interest in that.

I did find one trick that can help a little in Vista. Right-click the Steam icon (since Steam has to run to play the game) and choose Properties. Now go to to the Compatibility tab and check to Disable desktop composition. This will shut down the Aero features and should give a little bit of a graphics boost. If you have a nVida card you can go into nVidia Control Panel, view Advanced Settings, manage 3D settings, and change the "Texture filtering - Quality" to "Performance". Do a search online if you need more detailed instructions how to change that setting. Those seem to have helped a bit for my setup. Really though, you need a decent card if you want to play online or if you care about it being super pretty.
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on June 13, 2011
I've seen a few other reviews about how the purchase and install process went at Amazon so I thought I'd chime in with my own experience. Frankly, it could not have been an easier transaction. I purchased the game from Amazon and didn't even have to bother with their downloader. I input the game key into Steam and it validated my purchase and I was able to download all the game files through the Steam Client. Piece of cake. DoW:2 does ask you to connect to Games for Windows Live to get achievements and play MP, but if you have an Xbox Live account, then you're already set. Just login with those credentials. Amazon provides a great deal, even better than Steam's regular price for this pack.

Oh and the game is fun too! Nice take on the RTS genre. As someone who doesn't particularly like micro-management with base building and resources, this is a fun twist in gameplay. Warhammer Universe continues to be very entertaining.
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on August 4, 2010
I liked the previous Dawn of War games and was excited to get this in the mail today. When I went to install, there was no game on the disc... just the Steam client. The game would not install properly and when I went online to start troubleshooting, there were so many poor reviews and dramatic accounts of difficult installs that I put the game back in the box. Amazon gave me no issues about returning it, to their credit... Amazon was the only honest broker in this transaction.
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on August 5, 2010
Please be aware of what you are actually getting when you buy this. You are not actually buying an installable copy of the game, you are in fact buying an installation disk for an older version of DirectX and an older version of Valve's 'Steam' software. Included with this is an unlock code so that you can go on the Steam software and then download the actual game, this is the only way to get the actual game (legally). If I wanted to get the game this way I could have just gone onto Steam and purchased it through there, I wanted the game on a disk so I wouldn't have to download it. It took 3 days of straight downloading over a DSL connection to get the game. Valve's download servers are sslllloooooowwww!!!
I am very disappointed in this digital/download only method of getting the game, and in the load time of the game (which has been getting worse with each game in the Dawn of War series). However I like the gameplay and have liked the series since the very first one came out. I have not tried the multiplayer in this game, but I expect it should be the same fun as the other games in the series.
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on November 19, 2012
In general, this game is pretty kickass (after I finally found out how to play Skirmish against bots). What I really dislike about this game is 1., it needs to be registered through Steam and 2., you need to be logged into Games for Windows Live to do ANYTHING. So, if you planned on playing this offline, good luck, because you aren't. This really hurts a consumer like me who's been living off of Sprint's hotspot for the past year and I really hate using data just to log into Steam and have to sit for a few minutes just for it to log into Games for Windows Live... All of this just to play against bots...

However, if you have the internet capability and buying it to play it online, more power to you.
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on March 25, 2013
Maybe Im just getting old, but I like the orignals so much more. This new update has very little todo with the orginal. NO BUILDING WHAT SO EVER. You just control a small squad. Not really my thing.
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on May 25, 2012
Used versions can't be installed or run. This is because once the original owner registers its CD key with STEAM, it will not be accepted by anyone else.

Nevertheless, Amazon sells used copies of this game which are useless to you (unless you are willing to pay $10 or so for the manual and a worthless CD) so beware.
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on May 11, 2014
The price is low since this game is old, it looks great from the videos I have seen and it is on many people's greatest games of all time lists, but for some reason I am unable to install it with Windows 8.1. I have yet to search for the solution, there is probably some kind of Win7 mode I can use or some .dll file out there I can drop in place to make it all go, but straight out of the box it will not work on Win8.
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on December 31, 2015
Wasted good money and a lot of time. Put the game in, won't install. Have to have a Steam account. Reactivated account since I don't like Steam and quit using it, have to get a special activation code to use it on a new machine. It's not a new machine, but ok, go to email and get code, Steam account now set up. Still won't load, aux_installer.exe and xlive.dll missing. Looked it up on Steam, tried to add -install e: to Steam icon target line just like they said and every way that made sense, Windows won't accept it as a valid path. Tried to get help from Steam Support, have to have a SUPPORT account different from your Steam account to get support. Set up new account, can't post without logging back into regular Steam account too. Logged in, need another special code to use a new browser, (same one I used the first time) only to find there is nowhere to post for actual support from Steam personnel. You can only get help from the community.?? Without much hope I posted my problem. (Checked back 3 hours later and there is still no answer) Can't imagine why I don't like Steam.
Went looking on my own and eventually found the files on Microsoft's website. Had to download and join Games for Windows Live to get them. More than 3000 people have posted this problem. Why aren't the files on the installation DVD?? FINALLY got the game to load. Had put in different CD keys given to me by Steam for both games.
After 4 hours the game started with no sound and an invisible mouse courser. Messed with it and got the sound working but still cannot see the courser. It makes navigating the menus extremely difficult and game play impossible. How can a Windows game be this hard to run on a Windows system?
After considerable frustration, wasting all that time installing it and the money for the game, it is not playable.
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