Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising Preview for PC

On: PC
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising screenshot
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising screenshot

Chaos Marines. Emo Space Marines, basically. They're an unhappy bunch - something to do with a "disagreement" with the Emperor. In Chaos Rising, the first Dawn of War II expansion, however, they're more than unhappy. They're positively vexed.

Why? It's all down to those pesky Blood Ravens. They've only gone and returned to sub sector Aurelia where a long lost frozen ice planet has reappeared from the Warp. This simply will not do.

If that wasn't enough, the CSMs have to contend with the Space Marines, Orks, Eldar, and Tyranids all bolstered by new units. Of these, the showstopper is clearly the Tyranid Genestealer - the fan favourite, the jewel in Warhammer 40k's blood-soaked eye, the… horrible, nightmarish blur of claws and teeth that keeps all budding Space Marine commanders up at night. As any 40k fan worth his or her salt knows, the Genestealers are the tabletop equivalent of the xenomorphs from the Alien films, and the source of terror in cult Games Workshop boardgame Space Hulk.

If there's a unit we're most pumped for during our hands-on with Chaos Rising, it's the Genestealer. But, since the CSMs are the new race, it's only right to start with them. They work, predictably, like the SMs, but with an interesting hook: units can specialise by committing themselves to one of the three gods of Chaos. Licking Khorne's arse will lend you a melee focus, bowing down to Tzeench will improve your ranged abilities, and, finally, giving disgusting fat slob Nurgle a great big hug will improve your support abilities (as well as give you a horrible disease. Probably).

The three CSM commander units, however, have already pledged their allegiance to one of the Chaos gods, and so fulfil differing roles in a similar fashion to the other races' commander units. Of these, the Tzeench worshipping Chaos Sorcerer is most interesting. It's a powerful caster with useful summoning abilities, and it can take control of enemy units and turn them against their comrades. Take that, SMs.

Chaos Rising brings a new single-player campaign, which we're not allowed to talk too much about... yet!

Chaos Rising brings a new single-player campaign, which we're not allowed to talk too much about... yet!

The CSM base unit is the Heretic - melee fodder, basically. They're cheap to produce, making them useful control point and power node capturers during a match's early moments. And they have a useful trick up their sleeve: Worship. Activate this ability and the Heretics will gather in a circle around a sacrificed unit, supporting nearby friendlies with heals or damage buffs.

Havok Marines are the CSM version of the SM Devastator Squad, and specialise in heavy weapons. They can be upgraded with rocket launchers, making them great tank busters. At tier two, Bloodletters become available. These red-skinned daemons are great melee units, and perfect for strike assaults - teleportation makes them quick movers, and they're hard to kill, too, because of their phase shift ability. Then, of course, you have the CSM Dreadnought - a terrifying prospect, particularly when upgraded with a missile launcher which enables the rocket barrage ability. For the Bloodcrusher, picture a daemonic rhino charging into enemy infantry. Ouch. And then there are the durable Plague Marines, who are immune to suppression. That's right, kids, they're immune to suppression.

DoW II's quick, action-oriented pace means competitive multiplayer matches rarely reach beyond tier two, but our play test afforded us the luxury of taking our sweet time with the CSMs - enough time to pump out some devastating tier three units. The CM Predator is, like the SM Predator, one of the best vehicles in the game. Is it better than the SMP? Hard to tell at this stage, but it does have bloody spikes on the front, so it's definitely cooler.

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Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Also, Emo Space Marines? That sounds like the wording of someone who follows the False Emeperor? WES! EXPLAIN YOURSELF!
Posted 15:45 on 25 February 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade@ Endless

the wonders of steam I say lol
Posted 14:11 on 25 February 2010
sorcerus's Avatar

sorcerus

What about the 4th Chaos God Slaanesh, Prince of Pleasure?! They missed a trick if they couldn't squeeze in Chaos Marines wielding massive guitars!!! :(
Posted 14:06 on 25 February 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless

I'd still be playing DoW2 now if my laptops DvD drive would recognise the damn disc! Stupid dodgy thing :(

CSM never intrigued me, Wraithguard on the other hand. Awesome. It's just a shame the old rules for the Wraithcannon aren't still in place ;)
Posted 07:10 on 25 February 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Pounding out the previews eh Wes :p
I'm not a PC gamer so I can;t appreciate it, but it certainly sounds fairly good.
Nice preview man.
Posted 19:08 on 24 February 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Well, i'm glad to see they're not splitting the community like they did with the original, split in 4 and i believe it was Dark Crusade that was the least played online.
Posted 15:33 on 24 February 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade

Im still not 100% its on steam for 30 pounds and you get saints row 2 free lol, I cant decide xD
Posted 15:10 on 24 February 2010

Game Stats

Release Date: 12/03/2010
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Real-time strategy
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 91 2
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