One of the advantages of working where I am at the moment is that we have a fairly decent internet connection that is unmonitored. So I’m planning on downloading a demo a week, playing them, and reviewing them here. At least until a message goes out about our excessive data usage.
|This week, we have Star Wars: Empire At War.
It’s been a long time since I was into RTS (real time strategy) games. So I was interested to see how graphics and gameplay had advanced in the last few years.
On graphics I was impressed, while in gameplay I wasn’t.
Many years ago I fell in love with a game called Imperium Galactica (there’s now a “2” and soon a “3” which I may have to review).
Given it was about ten years ago, you would think things would have moved on a lot. I can’t see that they have. SW: EAW has three modes:
In my memory, IG also had three modes (or possibly a few more). But it also had this awesome story about how one of your crew was an alien or robot or something (it ended up being you). The combination of RPG (role playing game) and strategy was freakin’ awesome.
|Ground mode is pretty, but in my opinion doesn’t add anything to the genre. You command forces, build buildings etc etc. As in all modes you can switch to “cinematic view.” This is cool, but is a bit weak.
I only played the demo, so haven’t seen all the units and buildings so can’t say anything for sure. In fact I’m sure you’ll get some jollies from some of the new units, so if that’s you’re thing, you should be pleased.
|Two things that did get my attention however. (1) You can call in reinforcements from orbit. (2) If you have bombers in orbit, you can call in bombing runs.
Whether there will actually be strategic value in having reinforcements is questionable (it certainly would be if you could call them in from other planets, but I’m not sure of this).
|The galactic mode is the highest level of your strategy. You choose the planets you want to target, move your troops and fleets around, and build space and land based facilities. There’s probably not a lot you can do with a mode like this, so it’s probably not too bad. It does what it’s designed to do.
|In my opinion, the “space” mode was the most enjoyable. I guess I thought this because I haven’t really played anything like this before.
You control your fleets at planet level and conduct space battles with defences or offences at planetary level. In the tutorial you control Empire forces looking to take out Rebel forces and their space station. Graphically it was pretty awesome, and things like ion fields and asteroid belts made things interesting.
It’s hard to draw too many conclusions given that it’s the first game of this genre that I’ve played in such a long time. However I think that if RTS was my current passion, I would probably be into this game. The graphics are great, and gameplay seems to have been well thought through, even if not revolutionary.
I would give it a tentative 7/10.
Battle for Middle Earth 2 — Due 11-12 March
Call of Duty 2 – Due 18-19 March
Conflict Global Terror – Due 23 March Edit: This game was actually released mid 2005, so I won’t be reviewing it.