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Star Wars: Empire At War
(hx) 12:52 AM CET - Mar,09 2006

Developed by Petroglyph (ex-Westwood crew), Star Wars: Empire At War is a real-time strategy game which takes place in the period between the prequel and original trilogy of films which actually makes this an interesting blend of content from both sections of the Star Wars backstory. The two playable sides in the game are, of course, the Empire and the Rebellion.

The game includes three primary play modes: a single-player, story-based campaign mode (actual storylines for both playable sides) that will unlock various sectors of the galaxy as you complete certain missions; a persistent-universe "galactic conquest" mode that can be played either alone or in head-to-head multiplayer for two players; and the quick-and-dirty skirmish multiplayer, which is focused entirely on combat.

The story-driven campaign and the Galactic Conquest mode are quite similar to each other, though the campaign is obviously somewhat more linear and doesn't give you as much freedom. Galactic Conquest can be played on a variety of maps, from as little as 10 planets to over 40. Basic starting conditions for each map are customizable, meaning that the player can adjust the beginning tech level, maximum tech level, and starting credits. This is a very open-ended gameplay mode that you will find yourself dabbling in a long time after you defeat the Campaign mode. In skirmish, you and your pals can choose the map type (space, land, or objective-based land maps in which you can win only by capturing reinforcement points) and limit a specific amount of funds you can use to purchase armies. This mode supports up to eight players on two teams.

Both story-driven campaign and galactic conquest modes take place in the game's huge 'galactic' map, which is what you'll use as your strategic interface to plan out your next planetary acquisition. As you build up your fleets and armies, you'll want to send them out to take over neighboring planets. If an enemy owns the planet, you'll need to defeat their space forces before sending your troops down to the ground to take control of the planet itself. The more planets you control, the more money you'll make from their production. Each planet you own can be populated with ground forces and special buildings. Barracks allow you to enlist soldiers, space stations allow you to build ships, shield generators protect your base during ground attacks, mining facilities help increase your daily planetary credit income. Resource management is simplistic (not necessarily a bad thing), limited/limiting (can be a bad thing), and unengaging (definitely a bad thing). In other words, it's essential enough so that you have to pay attention to it, but you really don't have that many options, and it's not all that flexible or interesting.

The space battles are probably the finest and most addictive point of the game. It's all about reacting quickly and coming up with the right tactic throughout the course of the battle. You can target specific hard points on ships and space stations like their shield generators, missile launcher, laser cannons, engines, etc. Then there're the land battles which are somewhat slow paced and the AI always seems to know which units you've got garrisoned on your planets, and counters with units whom are strong against yours. The only part I really enjoyed about the land battles was playing the Imperials and controlling Darth Vader. He kicks some serious butt in the game. Both land and space battles can be played in real-time, but if you desire you can use the Auto-resolve option. The space battles are very 2D, but will appear 3D - if you switch to the cinematic camera which is pretty cool.

The galactic map also makes use a wide variety of heroes, each of whom has a unique role to play in your overall strategy. C3PO and R2D2 allow the rebel player to steal technology from the Empire. R2D2 can also hack into the Empire's defenses and turn their laser turrets against their own units. Darth Vader, for example, is capable of stopping entire platoons with the handy force shockwave ability. I found this to be a most useful addition during certain missions and it helped me turn the course of battle.

Is it worth your time and money? Sure, why not. If you approach the game without wild expectations it is a lot of fun. If you are a fan of Star Wars, and enjoy real-time strategy games then this might be a title you might enjoy. Hardcore gamers looking for a deep strategy game, or a complex real-time strategy, may look elsewhere.

related links: trainer +2, hints/cheats, Empire mod, Rebel mod, patch v1.2, demo.

System Requirements:
Minimum: Intel Pentium 1.0 GHz or AMD Athlon 1.0 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB 3D Graphics card with Hardware Transform and Lighting (T&L) Capability, Required: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible PCI, USB, or Onboard Audio Device, 8X Speed CD-ROM drive, 56Kbps or faster connection to the Internet

Recommended: Intel Pentium 4 2.0 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 2.0 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 64 MB 3D Graphics card with Hardware Vertex and Pixel Shader (VS/PS) Capability, 16X Speed CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, DSL, Cable, or faster connection

snd: 4/5 - solid sound effects, voice-overs are terrible, music fits the game perfectly
gfx: 4/5 - good, cinematic camera mode (that you can trigger anytime you like during any combat)
playability: 4/5 - great space battles, auto-resolve combat option, hero units, good tutorial, multiplayer up to 8 players (LAN/Internet), space/land battle maps are very small, can get a little repetitive, AI needs more work
genre: real-time strategy
release: February 2006
developer: Petroglyph Games
publisher: LucasArts
Overall: 78%

last 10 comments:

devilhood(02:43 PM CET - Mar,09 2006 )
It's definately a cool stylized game, I really enjoyed playing it LAN with a friend on Campaign mode, but most of my week has been spent playing Battle For Middle Earth 2 :D

Gaz(10:16 PM CET - Mar,10 2006 )
Well after playing Empire at War, i can say the best of the game is the space battles, but at that point, Nexus : The Jupiter Incident is alot better. Well hope they learn with them for a better Empire at War :)

ambazador(09:16 PM CEST - Apr,10 2006 )
ggrobot> of content from both a full review


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i have finished it on hard diff., the game iz best after ground control or some hardcore based str. games around, the pickering story iz not worth power off the game, the strategy system of AI or programating developers must be broken u know how u move againts him so u celebrate at first place [learning curve was so bloody 2 me], and i will say only im ready, coz its done by myself, the game iz great!!! thnx , the battles will solve AI himself or u can push space if u loaded battlefield with armor and voyage like in cinema inzide New York City:]]
the game ruckus, thnx for thet, uff really nice piece this year, i cant play kiddies systems like in LOTR1,2 rts or warcraft on middle difficulty:)braingames returnz


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