previews\ Feb 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

Showing off the beauty of war, THQ invited GameZone out for an exclusive hands-on event to showcase Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising. After several hours, it’s safe to say we came away impressed.

Setting us up with three different sessions – single-player, free-for-all multiplayer, and team-based multiplayer – THQ and Relic Entertainment know exactly what Warhammer 40,000 fans have desperately been yearning for: more multiplayer mayhem.

Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising introduces a new playable race, in the form of the Chaos Space Marines, several new units to play with, a new single-player campaign and much more. There should be no fear of a lack of new content for returning fans as there were enough memorable moments in our four hour playtime to see the evidence of a wealth of longevity.

Meet the Chaos Lord

Not only do the Chaos Space Marines pack a walloping punch, but they all worship individual gods and are out to spread their propaganda and show humanity what the future is like. For multiplayer purposes, there are three hero units to choose from:

  • Chaos Lord: A melee specialist that can periodically summon Bloodletters at prime locations for defense.

  • Plague Champion: A zombie-like hero who brings an aura of his own to the battlefield. More of a supporting role with his Breath of Nurgle ability to protect infantry from ranged fire.

  • Chaos Sorceror: A wizard of sorts that excels at long-range attacks and spells.

Outside of the three heroes, Chaos Rising is introducing new units to go along with the heroes. The list includes: plague marines, chaos dreadnought, chaos predator, bloodletters, bloodcrusher, and the Great Unclean One. Of these unit types, the bloodletters, bloodcrusher and Great Unclean One turned out to be the most fascinating.

Chaos Deadnought is capable going on a rampage

The bloodletters are skeletal daemons that can teleport through warps, phase shift and are fast on their feet. When they are riding upon the back of a Juggernaut daemon, they are called a bloodcrusher and can charge through infantry with ease. As for the Great Unclean One, it’s the elite melee unit for the Chaos Space Marines and spreads a poison aura on the battlefield, while also vomiting on enemies and using his intestines to grab enemies.

There are also new units for the rest of the playable races. The Space Marines earned themselves a Librarian, and not the “Shh, quiet!” kind. This Librarian is the equivalent of Gandalf – a walking and talking powerful spellcaster. The Orks receive a unit by the name of Weirdboy, a long range support unity that also doubles as a caster. The Eldars on the other hand are receiving a heavy close range unit that is called the wraithguard. It is slow and benefits in speed when coupled with an Eldar warlock. Lastly, the Tyranids have two units: the genestealer brood and tyrant guard. The genestealer brood is an incredibly fast unit that has increase damage and the lifesteal ability while the tyrant guard is able to perform his duties exceptionally well due to the Shieldwall ability that allows it to regenerate health.

Space Marines take flight

When the multiplayer sessions began, I tended to head back to the Tyranids rather than using the Chaos Space Marines. There’s something special about how quickly I was able to produce units with the Tyranids. On top of all that, the Carnifex still reigns supreme as my favorite elite unit. Although, the Great Unclean One definitely ranks closely behind as a new favorite – especially due to its hilarious animations and grotesque looks.

We will continue to have full Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising coverage up until its release on March 11 in the US and March 12 in Europe, so stick around to find out the latest on THQ’s anticipated real-time strategy title.

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