Guest Author - James Shea
The second expansion to "Dawn of War 2", Retribution offers a new faction and a new campaign. It's more of the same, but that's hardly a bad thing.
The main new feature in "Retribution" is the addition of the Imperial Guard faction. Unlike their elite counterparts, the Space Marines, the IG relies on massive numbers and vehicle support to get the job done. There's a lot of concepts brought over from Dawn of War 1 and the tabletop game, but they don't really seem to fit as well. DoW2 has a much tighter squad focus with more enclosed maps, so the IG's traditional tactics don't seem to fit as well as they used to.
Still, there's some interesting potential. The basic IG unit is the guardsman squad, which focuses on improving its numbers rather than making soldiers more effective. Other guardsmen units include the stealth-based Catachan Devils, the specialized Stormtroopers, and the brutish Ogryn. Their heroes show the most diversity - the Inquisitor is focused on targeting enemy heroes, the Commissar Lord combines melee damage with inspirational bonuses, and the Lord General relies on more tactical options like troop drops and battlefield commands.
The game's other factions have gotten some attention, too, in the form of a new unit for each one. Space Marines get a mighty Land Raider tank, Orks get a massive Battlewagon, the Eldar get a powerful Autarch, and so on. I wasn't particularly enthralled by any of the new units, but it at least gives them some new options instead of ignoring them for the new faction.
The other new feature in Retribution is an expanded campaign mode - specifically, there's a campaign for every single faction, instead of just the Space Marines. This is kind of a neat idea, and holds some promise, but really it just boils down to similar missions on similar maps with RPG stats. It's fun in the same way that the old campaigns were fun, but other than new scenarios it doesn't seem to introduce much. It's good if you're okay with that old gameplay, but it honestly gets repetitive after a while. There's some ways it's different than previous campaigns, but that seems to come down to tech tree upgrades (in addition to character upgrades).
Basically, Retribution isn't a bad expansion pack by any means, but it gets old pretty quickly unless you really like the core gameplay. If you're already tired of DoW2, Retribution won't hold your attention for long. If you still like it, then it's a worthy addition to the game's content.
We purchased this game with our own funds for the purpose of this review.