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Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising Preview: The Darker Side Of Dawn

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The Chaos Rising expansion adds a lot of what you expect from expansions (new race, class, gear) – but it also introduces a corruption/purity element to change up both the plot and gameplay.

Now the only way the good/evil thing is any fun for me is if there's a character around to whine at me when I'm doing bad, bad things. Luckily, developer Relic Entertainment thought of that, too and so I'd like you to meet Jonah, the Librarian. Because nothing is more reproaching than a librarian.


What Is It?
Chaos Rising is an expansion to Dawn of War II's singleplayer campaign. The seven new maps that come with the expansion will be patched for other players without the expansion to keep multiplayer balanced.

What We Saw
I played through an early mission in the expansion on the planet Meridian and part of a level on the new ice planet, Aurelia.


How Far Along Is It?
The expansion is out in spring 2010.

What Needs Improvement?
Slightly Overwrought Dialogue: The first time I chose to do a "corrupting" action (knocking down a gate instead of going around it), the Librarian whined, "This may cost us our souls." The first time he said it, it was funny. But subsequently, when I used corrupting abilities or items, he'd keep whining. It was very annoying.

The Whole Squad Is Affected By Evil: Even if you select one character and give him all the Corrupted gear and make him do Corrupted things independent of the rest of your squad, everybody deployed on that mission comes away with a little bit of Corruption. You could of course split your party so that half your team isn't deployed (and therefore stays pure) and the other half gets more and more corrupted. But that's just a tedious way to min-max around a gameplay element.

Ease Off On Smite: The game is still unbalanced in terms of weapons and attacks. Jonah's Smite ability can currently topple buildings – which is way overpowered.


What Should Stay The Same?
It's Not the Tyranids Anymore! Chaos is the new evil faction, now, and they're way more brutal than Tyranids – what with the being ex-Space Marines made evil by a warp to another dimension. The first leader character I saw from the faction had both human skulls on his headgear and the flesh of a Space Marine's face stretched out like a flag. So boss.

Steady Gameplay: For those of you who liked the way Dawn of War II changed things from Dawn of War (namely, losing the whole protect-and-build-the-base thing), it'll please you to know that Chaos Rising keeps it steady with no major changes to gameplay besides the corruption/purity dichotomy.


Librarian Class: Jonah might be whiny, but I liked the Librarian class. It's basically a mage class with spell books that unlock abilities. But the abilities are diverse enough to where you won't get stuck with a too-vulnerable White Mage or limited with a destruction-exclusive Red Mage.

Final Thoughts
Don't get me wrong, I liked the Tyranids. I just like having different races to hate on when playing a singleplayer mode that makes me be the Space Marine faction.