Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Dawn of War: Retribution

Review: Dawn of War II: Retribution

4:00 PM on 03.02.2011 // Jordan Devore
  @DtoidJordan

Having spent an unreasonable amount of time with Dawn of War II and its follow-up expansion, Chaos Rising, there were few games this year I wanted on my hard drive more than Retribution.

The series' particular brand of combat -- beefy dudes shooting and/or smacking one another for minutes at a time -- appeals to me greatly. As does the loot system, which is both immensely satisfying and motivating.

Vanilla Dawn of War II was long, and repetitive. Chaos Rising was quite a bit shorter, but had a vastly more interesting narrative. And now with Retribution, the new standalone expansion, Relic Entertainment is offering single-player campaigns for six different races. We're going in exciting new directions, people.

Dawn of War II: Retribution (PC)
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: THQ
Released: March 1, 2011
MSRP: $29.99

So, you might be thinking, "How exactly did they have the necessary time and money to build six campaigns for a budget-priced game?" Unfortunately, corners had to be cut. There's a basic story that applies to all factions -- the impending threat of Exterminatus (a sort of last-resort, world-destroying measure) -- and it's molded ever so slightly to fit whichever race you want to play as.

This means that there's about seven or eight hours worth of content for each of the six campaigns, although much of it feels similar on a level-by-level basis. That may not sound too appealing, but it works well enough given the differences between the Space Marines, Chaos, Orks, Tyranids, Eldar, and Imperial Guard.

While the story takes a hit in quality as a result, those Dawn of War II mechanics I adore are still spot-on -- and now there's the option to give the Blood Ravens a break, if I so choose. A fair trade-off, in my mind. The most troubled levels are certainly the beginning few, which are tutorial-like and a pain to run through multiple times.

It's the same basic setup, at least initially. You outfit your hero units with gear, upgrade their abilities with any experience you've earned (a more streamlined process now, I should add), and select your mission from the map. However, you're given a choice: enter the mission with your four heroes, or swap some of them out for support squads and a raised population cap.

Interestingly enough, some of your hero bonuses apply to these replacement squads, so either option is totally viable depending on the situation. This also leads into Retribution's new-found focus on bigger armies. Long story short, Relic has brought elements of multiplayer into the single-player.

So, you have a population cap, requisition, and energy in single-player now. These can be increased by capturing control points scattered across the map, and allow you to reinforce your starting troops with, eventually, anything from the full family of unit types. (Completing a level lets you pick an unlock, some of which are access to new units.)

This sort of ties in with your global abilities. Upon killing enemies, you earn points which can be used to say, drop turrets on the field, or call in an air strike. These elements go a long way in making Retribution more action-packed and, well, interesting. While you can still play with just four hero units and probably perform just fine that way, there are now all of these options at your disposal to mix up the flow.

It's also worth quickly mentioning the load times; something is up with them. The game almost seems to freeze for me in the time between clicking "start mission" and having the actual loading screen appear. Similarly, completing a level and waiting to be brought into the mission-select screen has a similar effect. Not game-breaking by any means, but irritating nonetheless. (And yes, my PC is perfectly capable of handling Retribution, thanks.)

The biggest addition to Retribution is the inclusion of the Imperial Guard as a playable race. More so than any other race, these guys are actually kind of fragile. Almost. Given their newness, I'd recommend giving them a first or second chance when going through single-player. One of the abilities focuses on shooting your own troops to "encourage" everyone else to fight harder, and that's badass.

The Last Stand, a wave-after-wave co-op mode between three players, is even better now. The Imperial Guard's Lord General is new, as is the much-improved The Anvil of Khorne map. Rather than having to hit wave ten before the adrenaline starts flowing, this fast-paced map basically kicks it off with the notch turned up to eleven.

Given how much time I've put into The Last Stand previously, Retribution is worth it alone simply for this mode. It's really that good, if you haven't tried it -- challenging, intense, and full of sweet loot.

On the whole, this, campaign co-op, and the competitive multiplayer modes are a step up with the decision to drop Games for Windows Live. Steam itself is now the backend for the game's online, and it's a better fit. Even getting into matches seems noticeably faster.

To quickly touch upon the aforementioned competitive multiplayer, which I will gladly admit is not really for me, you can now play as the Imperial Guard. Beyond this, and whatever balancing work Relic has done since the Retribution beta, it appears to be essentially the same. For those who haven't played the previous two titles, though, it's a slick deal -- the multiplayer is fairly extensive.

It's a shame the story had to be generalized in order to mesh with everyone's faction of choice, but ultimately, the decision to do so was a wise one. Had it been merely the same handful of Blood Ravens again, chasing after the Chaos Space Marines and assorted demons, I almost certainly would've been burned out before the conclusion.

At $29.99, it's hard not to recommend Retribution. You're getting a standalone experience with an exceptionally large amount of replayability, depending on how into Warhammer 40,000 you are. And even if you ultimately only touch one of the campaigns, try out the multiplayer for a bit, and dabble in The Last Stand, it's worth picking up.

It's also worth considering for anyone who has yet to touch the series. You can absolutely dive headfirst into Retribution and have a blast. In fact, that might actually be the ideal way to do it, as much of the repeat content will feel fresh.

A solid effort by Relic. I eagerly await whatever comes next.



THE VERDICT

8.5

Dawn of War: Retribution - Reviewed by Jordan Devore
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jordan Devore, Managing Editor, Co-EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidJordan Tips
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Dawn of War: Retribution


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Review (Vita)

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Tell me who downvoted my smash 4 opinion or the cat gets it. I'm not joking around.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Is that new digimon game any good or no? I know there's the review but I'd like feedback from a couple others too
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
People bitching that "(insert character) Needs Nerfing" because they lost to them several times online, incoming in T-5 days.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
For some reason I had a dream that I was playing a new Jet Set Radio game. It was open world and had an amazing day/night cycle. It was wonderful, yet horrible...
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
4.6 Million XCOM operatives down and down! [url]https://xcom.com/xcom-2-stats[/url] 66% from Collateral damage. Never mind the Alien invasion, cars are the real threat
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth has cat-maids. It has cat-maids. Have I sold you yet? Cat. Maids. GOTY 2016.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Just a quick update, that you all should go Greenlight Hustle Cat, the magical cat dating simulator that is being released soon. Work in a cat cafe, date magical cats, be whatever gender you want - there is no downside! Also I'm alive, That's importa
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
What a damned good song. I'm very excited about Mick Gordon composing for DOOM =D
trippytip avatartrippytip
War not waifu lovers~ Must there only be one waifu? Why not have all the waifu? I enjoy my waifu like Lou Bega here.
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
So is the plural of waifu "waifus" or just "waifu"? I want to make sure I have it right when referring to my harem.
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
*Someday last week* Oh, so Toby Fox also made music for Homestuck. I guess I should read it *Today* Fuck it is 3:30 AM I have to wake up early tomorrow why I'm still reading this it is already chapter five someone help me please
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Holy shit, App Store. The copyright infringement is real. I didn't buy it, because I'm scared it'll make my iPhone explode and because the comments say the game's a generic zombie title with fake and misleading screenshots.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Pretty much in a nutshell
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Image of Myxococcus colony rising up after being submerged. I love bacteria so damn much you guys.
Nick R P Green avatarNick R P Green
Made a quick REACTion video to some of today's news storys. Hope nobody REACTs to it with a lawsuit.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Playing Halo 5: Guardians, got REALLY invested in this one match. It was intense from beginning to end and I was using A LOT of Power Weapons because it was so fun. We were literally seconds away from victory when the internet cut off. So disappointed. :(
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Streaming Civ V with a few of my friends. Twitch.tv/amnaumen
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
I must be in a weird mood, want to buy SMS games :3
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
How the fuck does Link tie his scarf? I really want to wear mine that way.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
As I recently mentioned I picked up Madworld, I also have acquired Pikmin, Red Steel and DJ Hero2 for Wii. For DS Feel the Magic XY/XX, N+ (shitty port I might add) Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and Some Suda51 I already misplaced :/
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -