One of my favourite game series of the last five years is about to be given a sequel, and so with the multiplayer beta released, I jumped on it as if it were a trampoline full of sweets and happiness as soon as I could. It really was not as I expected it to be.
I knew that the formula has been completely re-written, but instead of a puppy that has the traits of its parent, it seems to be a kitten with a big wheel where its legs should be.
Since base building and resource collection have pretty much been removed from this latest offering, you are thrown right into the thick of conflict faster than water off of a Teflon coated duck.
This completely removes the tense build up of fortifying a base and amassing an unstoppable army before your opponent can.
I am trying to decide if this is better, worse or just simply a welcome breath of fresh air. I’m one of those annoying people in RTS games that likes to turtle in as much as possible, even to the point that turtles themselves feel ashamed when compared to my armoured, turret guarded fortress of impenetrable doom.
The action is quite nice however now that I no longer need to worry about my base, which in DOW2 multiplayer is a single structure that does everything that multiple buildings normally do in other games. This means that it produces all of your units and has a very simple, three tier tech tree.
Building up a few squads and sending them into battle with your chosen hero feels very different this time round as it is vital that you utilise cover in the terrain.
Just yesterday, I was able to hold off an entire army with just one small team of three hidden behind a wagon, because the orkish horde charging me had to face an unstoppable barrage of heavy bolter fire.
Whilst this is quite fun, the shoe is very easily placed on the opponents foot, as they can then do the same, making advancement a very risk job and a trial of testicular fortitude.
The tactical elements that this introduces is staggering, as flanking is now of a much deadlier use when compared to most other RTSs (I haven’t played Company of Heroes, but I gather that flanking in this is also vital).
With so much to think of in terms of unit positioning, I am now quite glad that I do not have to constantly flick back to a base just to make sure it has not been reduced to smoking rubble and dead bits.