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DoW II: Retribution review

Loyal fans of Dawn of War or Warhammer 40k in general, rejoice! Retribution has finally and with it, the Imperial Guards. That’s right folks, if you didn’t know already; the Imperial Guards are the latest race to be added in the repertoire of playable races in DoW II.

Well since I am on the topic of new stuff, every race is getting a playable campaign and like Chaos Rising, a new unit. That is, if you didn’t already know that. So what are the new units?

Space Marine – Land Raider Redeemer

Tyranids – Swarmlord

Orks – Battlewagon

Eldar – Autarch

Chaos Space Marine – Noise Marines

Imperial Guradsman – Everything

Finally go that out of the way, now back to the review proper. I’m only going to be covering the Single Player portion of Retribution as multiplayer is essentially the same as the original DoW II with new units thrown into the mix.

As Relic has promised, Retribution’s Campagin has gone back to its RTS roots, will kinda. Each race has access to 4 heroes, except for the Tyranids. Your main commander, aka the main character, is usually a melee oriented tank, or in the case of the Imperial Guards, a competent marksman. The rest of your hero rentinue will fill the roles of, sneaky git, range dps and crowd control.

Like DoW II, your heroes’ gain levels as they go through the missions, with ever level, you get a skill point as well. Skill points are used to purchase traits/abilities.

Instead of the long Skill Tree we are familiar with from the first DoW II game, we now have a simpler and more streamlined Skill Tree.T he Skill Tree is divided into 3 different branches, Stamina, Offense and Will. There are a total of 15 unlockable traits and abilities, 5 in each respective branch.

Every Skill Point in a branch will immediately unlock a new trait or ability, powerful abilities are of course are the furthest spectrum of the Skill Tree, requiring you to fully invest in a particular branch to gain access to these powerful abilities.

What is different from the traditional Dow II game is the fact that every trait you get, actually benefits your army. This of course requires the players to put the heroes in the side lines and pick up an Honor Guard.

So let’s talk about the Honor Guards, they are essentially powerful units, taken in place of the heroes. Honor Guards are the same units you have in your army except they are stronger and fully ungraded, choosing Honor Guards will also give you extra population count to increase your standing army during missions. As I mentioned before, choosing Honor Guards will also grant your army access to special buffs from the replaced hero, significantly increasing the effectiveness of your army.

As I have mentioned earlier, Relic going back to its RTS roots. This means that players can now capture Requisition points and Power Nodes; however these points only grant you a onetime bonus to your resource. This is the main difference between the Multiplayer mode and the campaign. Big huge army versus an elite smaller army lead by supped up heroes, choose your poison.

The missions within the Campaigns are essentially the same across the races; the only difference is the loot you get and the foes you might face which unfortunately don’t happen all too often. The mission can get repetitive but luckily, the distinctive style of each race helps somewhat negate this fact.

The other thing worth noting is the fact that units are unlocked every mission, well 2 new units and a wargear to be exact. At the end of every mission, players are given a choice between the choosing a new unit, a unit upgrade if you already have the unit or a piece of wargear.

Say, if you already unlocked Tactical Marines, you can now unlock Missile Launcher upgrades etc etc or you could unlock the Assault Marines you have been eyeing but then the new piece of armor would really make you hero more dakka. This is basically the conundrum you will be facing most of the time.

Having played through all the starting mission of each race, the one you should really play would have to be the Space Marines’ Campaign. They are after all, the canon storyline. As for the story, it is pretty straightforward.

When we last left Aurelia, the Greater Daemon of Nurgle, Ulkair was defeated but it was revealed that the Chapter Master of the Blood Ravens was in league with Chaos. Ten years later, we are still hunting the rouge Chapter Master Kyras but now an Ordo Malleus fleet approaches to destroy all the planets in Aurelia. Exterminatus.

I’m not gonna spoil if for you but let’s just say the end mission is the same and it is just a matter of which race you want to kill the big boss with, and of course watch said races’ ending cinematic.

So how did I find DoW II: Retribution? I actually rather enjoyed it, even though it is essentially the same game as before. Don’t fix it if it is not broken as they say.

I finished the game with Imperial Guards first and I went along the lines of quantity over quality. Worked pretty well but it made the game a micromanagement hell, for me anyway. It kinda became a game of attrition as you get resource refunds whenever you lose a unit. Eventually, it became a game where I just keep sending Imperial Guardsmen to their deaths at the frontline. Hey wait a minute! That is exactly what they do with Imperial Guardsmen in all the 40k lore! I approve!

Right now, I’m finishing up the campaign as an Ork Freebooter. In contrast, I went for a quality over quantity and even then I’m still making decent progress on the hardest difficulty.

All in all, it was pretty fun playing all the races, refreshing to play something else other than biologically enhanced super soldiers. So here are the scores.

Graphics: 8

Gameplay: 9

Story: 7

Overall: 8