Review by VampireHunterD4
"Star Wars/RTS fan? Our Day has come!"
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine has taken complete control of the Old Republic, creating the Galactic Empire. Rebel insurgents fight for democracy. Lucasarts hires someone who can make a RTS game, instead of relying on their own lacking ability. It is a good day. You command the Armies and Navies you love in the newest RTS from the team that brought you RTS, formerly of Westwood Studios.
I wish I had a better computer. If you are able to turn the graphics up all the way, you'll find space battles to always be stunning visuals. The lights, explosions, ships-every detail is faithful, complete, and amazingly well thought out. The only thing that could possibly bring this down is a seemingly lackluster land battle in comparison to the breath-taking epics of space. Not that they are bad-by no means, as it is better then most previous RTS' games, but it's not as good as it could be.
The sound is crisp and perfect. Everything sounds as it should, and any additions to what was shown in the movies are par for the course-finely crafted and worthy additions. The original and beloved John Williams scores are present, along with new compositions in the same theme- you never feel out of place, and all the new music fits in very well with the movie music. The voice acting is, amazingly, top notch. Everyone sounds like they should from the movies, and any new character as well as known ones do NOT sound terrible in any way. (None of this Resident Evil voice acting. Bleh.)
Gameplay: Galactic and Space: 10/10, Land: 6/10
This is where the only problem comes up. The galactic scenario is much like Rome Total War's, set to Star Wars. This variant is original in it's own way, but follows tried and true methods for how it works. The interface is simple and effective, and the game seems hard to improve on. The Space Battle goes the same- It is surely epic, to watch your navy clash with your opponent, snub fighters (one man spacecraft) whirling in dogfights, dodging the main guns as your capital ships clash. The unit selection is a no-brainer for any old hand to RTS, and the unit abilities are useful, neat, and easy to use. None of this WarCraft microing to death. The Battlecam means any battle you don't care about managing, or any battle you know you'll win, an enjoyable movie experience, as you are able to use two different camera types to track the fighting in 3d. 'Tis awesome.
The lackluster land battles, however, are troublesome. Any new player would assume X is better then y, but everyone needs to realize- troops are a necessary power. They are hard to kill, with decent health (based of the conception their "harder to hit"), and so an invasion of 40 odd AT-STs will be swamped, and mopped up, by the never-ending supply of troops. On that, a useful feature is garrisons. A couple squads per structures, slowly respawning troops help to defend in a battle with limited resources versus an enemy of unknown size. The only problem is anyone unprepared to counter infantry with infantry will be overwhelmed, or forced to rush buildings and kill. Which seems cheap and unfair, running past the bulk of the enemy. The battles and their maps also seem dull and repetitive in the main games, especially against AI. But they aren't too bad, and usually you'll do it anyway. The only problem with battles at all, really, is auto-resolve. It hates you, hates you, and thinks you're inept as a drunken monkey. So it acts like a drunk monkey controlled your forces in the battle, and easy kills 3-6 times what you would've lost controlling your army. This is grossly unfair, and the main pitfall of the game.
With two campaigns that will take about 5-10 hours each to beat, as well as 10ish galactic conquest scenarios taking 3-10 hours to beat, plus skirmish mode and online- you can play for quite some time. However, there is something even better. Petroglyph designed the game especially to be ridiculously easy to mod. How easy? To be any easier it'd have to be RPG Maker 2000. The company is also supporting and encouraging modding, and already the mod community is hard at work, pumping out amazing stuff. Each mod is a game onto itself, and it is possible that Star Wars: Empire at War will have close to the same following Starcraft still has, making for a long-lasting and ultimately worthwhile purchase.
Final Score: 9/10
Captures Star Wars perfectly.
Space Battles and galaxy map done almost perfect.
Epic Re-playability easily possible.
Lots of options.
Lackluster land battles
Some bugs being tweaked/fixed currently.
Star Wars/RTS fans- Our Day has truly come.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/22/06
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