We learned a valuable lesson at CES last week: Don't demo an RTS game on a trade show floor. Why? Because it's nigh-impossible to hear a developer's instructions over the deafening noise of geek-outs. It turns into something like this dialogue snippet from our hands-on experience with Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War 2:
Relic: "So, you'll quickly want to set a rally point here." *taps screen*
Joystiq: *clicks on random units* [units march off-screen]
Relic: "Okay, so if you look at this icon, you'll see that your character is earning zeal. You might want to build some heavy firepower units for support."
Joystiq: *attacks enemy power generator* [cue: bad move!]
It was just too darn loud at CES to get good instructions, and Relic only had one demo station on hand, which obviously did not feature any PVP gameplay. Naturally, we had StarCraft 2 in mind as we fooled around with Dawn of War 2, measuring Relic's RTS against what we've played of Blizzard's next blockbuster. We can say that Dawn of War 2 is currently winning in the looks department. As we watched an Imperial Tank literally roll through walls and crush them into powder while Space Marines jumped over the action with jetpacks, we were remiss to have left our drool bib back home in the hamper.
We've embedded a pair of videos from our session after the break, including producer Mark Noseworthy blowing stuff up!