Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising
Game review on PC
Eamon Ward / Sat 18th Mar 2017
171 views / 1 bite
OVERVIEW Following in the tradition of introducing snowy wastelands in expansions, Chaos Rising brings forth the ruinous powers of the dark gods and with them, traitors and daemons.
The planet Aurelia, a world lost to the warp for a thousand years, has returned along with Eliphas, a champion of Chaos and long time nemesis of the Blood Ravens. Lead by Araghast the Pillager, the Black Legion has vowed to resurrect an ancient demon and lay waste to the Blood Ravens and their sector.
Chaos Rising's campaign shares many similarities with that of Dawn of War II. Once again you command a small number of squads, each lead by a hero unit. But there are some small changes that bring a new level of depth and purpose to gameplay.
First and foremost is a corruption, a system that allows your troops to slowly fall to Chaos. Heroes become corrupted through equipping heretical war gear or undertaking certain tasks in missions. Different levels of corruptions will have different effects. Some characters will talk to themselves, others will refuse to deploy and, when the time is right, someone will betray you. It's a constant balance between maintaining strength and limiting your corruption and it's pretty great.
GAMEPLAY Unfortunately, the gameplay is pretty much the same as it was before. The forces of Chaos are almost identical to the Space Marines in their unit types though the daemonic units are quite enjoyable. The major difference is in the skills, split between loyalty to one of two Gods. One allows the player to more easily heal units and summons demons, the other messes with enemy units, showing disarray and confusion amongst your foe. All in all, Chaos are probably the most interesting race available and it doesn't hurt that they're utterly insane.
GRAPHICS Built on the same engine, Chaos Rising looks equally great as Dawn of War II. The Chaos units are even more elaborately decorated than any other and look wonderful as they stomp about, spewing forth foul plague or spawning from the depths of the warp itself.
AUDIO Chaos Rising has some great new audio. There are unit callouts for when fighting Chaos and Chaos themselves range from uttering praises to the dark gods to laughing manically, cackling as they cut through enemies. The demons growl and gurgle with all the repulsive monstrosity one would expect. All up, it's pretty great.
VERDICT Chaos Rising improves on Dawn of War II in every way. The campaign is better, the new race is enjoyable and while the gameplay is still sorely lacking in scale, one can hardly blame an expansion for failing to fundamentally change major components of a game.