Review by Kloo_Shanko
A Star Wars RTS that doesn't make us want to puke.
The Kloo Review of
Star Wars: Empire at War
Replay value: 9
Overall score: 8.4
What do I have to say about Empire at War? That Lucasarts finally made a good RTS. After they delivered us into the horrible hands of Star Wars: Force Commander a lot of fans were disappointed, claiming that one of the things that it should be easy to turn Star Wars into was a major disaster. After that Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds was released, this game I did enjoy but it was only a clone of Age of Empires II with Star Wars units replacing the old ones. Now we've got a totally new game with gameplay not used in any other game.
So this is where we'll start, gameplay: you start out on the galactic map where you'll be able to see all the planets under your control and those under your enemy's. You'll also be able to build new units and structures as well as move units from planet to planet to coordinate defense, and attack. Resource gathering is simplified by a number of Credits (the currency in Star Wars) that you'll receive at the end of each galactic day which progress in real-time. If you don't have enough Credits then your best bet would be adding more mining structures or using your fleets to expand the planets under your control. Each planet has a set number of buildings that you can build. If your fleet has hit its cap then you'll need to capture more planets before you can increase its size. When you attack a planet you'll be forced to first destroy the fleet in orbit and possibly a space station then move onto the ground forces before it can be under your control. In my opinion, the space battles are much more fun then the ground ones.
When you see the graphics you really won't find much to look at unless you have a maxed out computer, otherwise the Millennium Falcon will look like an irregularly shaped piece of china and the ground will look like a muddy backyard. Even with the graphics turned up to high units still look blocky, C-3P0 seems to have taken to shoulder pads for some reason. At least the bloom effects make up for some of it.
As for Variety of units we don't really see anything new here; most of the units were seen in the movies and only a few come from the Extended Universe. I would have really liked to see some of the more famous EU units such as E-Wings or TIE-Defenders and at least the B-Wings or TIE-Interceptors from the movies themselves. You only get two campaigns and they're just the Imperial and Rebel sides of the movie stories moving a little before them. It would have been nice to maybe add the next ten years afterwards or some big conflicts from the EU. We also only get the Rebellion and the Empire as sides but that's no surprise.
Not much to say about sound. It's exactly what you'd expect from anything Star Wars: filled with laser blasts, screaming TIE engines, and the memorable Star Wars soundtrack.
Multiplayer does something I've been waiting for for a long time: it gives us a Galactic Conquest mode that actually allows you to work from the galactic map exactly as you did in single player, linking one match after another.
I'd happily replay this game, it always seems fun to take over the galaxy time and time again.
All in all, I definitely recommend that any Star Wars or RTS fan play this game seeing as how it both delivers new elements to the RTS scene and makes you not throw up when you think of what Lucasarts has given us for an RTS.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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