Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II -- Chaos Rising
Chaos has, indeed, risen. Dawn of War II's wonderful singleplayer campaign and interesting take on RTS multiplayer made it Gamervision's Strategy Game of the Year for 2009, and the new standalone expansion, Chaos Rising, looks to continue the excellence Relic brought to PCs last year. In order to do this, they've reached into the collectibles bin and pulled out the Chaos Space Marines, a fan favorite for Warhammer enthusiasts. With a story that picks up a year after the first left off and an expanded multiplayer offerings, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising does a good job at bringing some much-needed RTS gameplay to the early months of 2010.
Many years before the start of the story, Aurelia, once a bustling planet, fell to the dark god worshiping Chaos. The a cold, frozen wasteland then disappeared from the universe in a massive warpstorm, and was thought to be a thing of the past until it reappeared, suddenly, and sent out a distress call. On it came the Chaos Space Marines, who look to destroy worlds as sacrifices to their dark gods. Obviously, the Blood Ravens take offense to this, and begin a campaign to stop the Chaos before it spreads to envelop the sector.
There is a traitor among their ranks, however, and the power of corruption is stronger than some expected. In terms of story, this means a fairly lengthy campaign with a number of twists and turns. In terms of gameplay, it means that each individual squad will struggle with the forces of Chaos with the Corruption system. Failing to complete side-missions and secondary objectives will have the Blood Raven forces slip towards Chaos, and while they'll never actually completely fall into the ranks with their enemies, their abilities will change depending on how corrupt they become. It's not as black and white as Fable's choices, and not as seamless as Mass Effect's, but it provides an alternate character build-out for each Marine, allowing the sacrifice of some abilities for others. The newest unit to the campaign, The Librarian, for instance, might lose a healing spell if he drifts into Corruption, gaining, instead, more damage dealing abilities. It all depends on what type of unit the player wants, and how many side quests he's willing to do to get it.