Load this baby up and prepare to lose yourself in the magic of the force. Strap yourself into your deathstar and get going
Screw taking over the world, Star Wars: Empire at War lets you attempt to take over the freakin' Universe! With a mix of space and land battles to be fought and won, this will provide you with the closest thing to a real Star Wars experience this side of sanity. Not only that, but you've got to keep the strategy of ruling in mind, constantly monitoring your planets and occupying others on your way to glory and total domination, or freedom from evil tyranny, whichever floats your boat.
How about these guys?
This isn't the easiest game to play though, not because it's buggy or badly designed, no, the real time element means that you have to stay on your toes constantly. If you get all amnesia-fied and wander away from the computer to get some tea or something, you may come back to the utter destruction of your forces and the ignominy of defeat.
So make your choice, the Empire or the Rebellion and deal with the consequences of your decisions. Each boasts different capabilities. Naturally the Empire is much more immediately powerful and richer, but the Rebellion has a certain amount of maneuverability and stealth which the Empire does not posses. At times they may be able to sneak right past Empire defenses without even being noticed at all.
The choices don't end there though, every planet possesses different qualities, which means that you can build different things on different sorts of planets. There are also some with special attributes which make certain types of production cheaper, or at all possible in the case of rarer, more difficult pieces of hardware. You can build defense systems on them, and/or use them to construct your fleet. Zooming in on a particular planet lets you see what is already there and what can be built. You can also set up space stations around the planet, and build factories, barracks and mines.
Finding suitable planets is a challenge that varies depending which side of the force you're playing on. The Empire must seek out Rebel planets with droids, whilst the Rebels can see all Empire controlled planets automatically, those sneaky rebels.
Prepare to re-live the glory of the Empire...
And ally yourself with rebel forces...
The more planets you control, the more money you'll make from their production. You'll need plenty of money to buy necessary technologies, as well as soldiers and military hardware. Defenses are also an important consideration, and this game certainly keeps you on your toes trying to keep all bases covered.
So then, you're setting up bases on various planets, ensuring that production is running smoothly, and exploring further territory when suddenly you run into enemy ships, or worse, are the victim of a ground invasion.
The space battles are definitely the superior of the two battle systems, with the land battles being a tad lackluster. It's the ground battles where you'll see your favorites from the movies mostly in action though, and I don't give a damn how bland the map may be, there is nothing like seeing a Jedi in motion. The AI is impressive in both space and land battles, though it really comes into its own in space where the computer comes up with some very nice flanking moves that will really have you scrambling if you haven't been paying attention. Land battles are a little easier in this respect, with the attacks mostly coming wave after wave. Slightly tedious, but infinitely more predictable.
Space battles require you to manage each of your ships, and to pick which of the opposing ships system to knock out in what order. It isn't just a matter of pounding away. You can choose to disable various parts of the ship before you finally put it out of its misery, and you're well advised to do this, as otherwise the guns could still be blazing you into oblivion as you harmlessly shoot at armor. There is an impressive range of hardware, everything you saw in the movies is now yours to play with.
There are also many different modes of game play available to suit various styles of play and whatever mood you're in. There's the story mode, galactic conquest, skirmish mode, and multiplayer. Story mode involves large scale campaigns, whereas the galactic conquests are smaller campaigns. Skirmish mode is exactly what it sounds like, an opportunity to just play out battles, whether you want to play them on the ground or in space. You can also play with up to 8 people over LAN. Within the campaign modes there are also options to auto resolve battles, which helps if you can't be bothered fighting off another wave of storm troopers yourself.
The graphics and sound are quite rightly awesome, with some nice effects when it comes to explosions and battles and things. This looks like you'd expect a Star Wars game to look like, which makes the battles a joy as your ships sweep impressively through space, and the hardware of the Empire bear down on you during land battles. There is also a cinematic mode which can be nice, but can also be incredibly annoying, depending on how you're feeling. The sound is predictable, but good, with tunes from John Williams, naturally. The voice acting leaves a bit to be desired as the voices aren't the "real deal."
Command your fleet...
Fight to the death!
Finally, a game that allows you to relive those Star Wars moments with some level of realism. Load this baby up and prepare to lose yourself in the magic of the force. Strap yourself into your deathstar and get going, little Vaders, or crush the Empire through your skill and cunning Jedi's. The battles are waiting to be won.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Feeling the force flow through me as the evil ones met their demise. Good
this game is.