Finally got to try out Empire at War today – Thomas dropped by and we played a couple of campaign games and a skirmish. I think it’s safe to say that EAW is the first truly successful Star Wars strategy game for the PC – developers Petroglyph have really managed to capture a lot of the magic associated with Star Wars. I’ll give you a few examples.
I dropped an invasion force on a Rebel-held planet. After having my stormtroopers duke it out with Rebel soldiers and seeing my AT-AT (properly scaled and well animated) make short work of his puny Rebel tanks, Obi-Wan Kenobi appeared on the field. With his lightsaber, he cut a swathe through my infantry. Fortunately, I had Darth Vader on the battlefield – and as soon as they got close to each other, they were locked in a duel. Our other units could not interfere. Perhaps not that realistic, but very true to Star Wars and extremely cool!
Of course, the fact that good’ol Darth won was a nice bonus.
I’ve also had numerous dramatic escapes into hyperspace after meeting one Mon Calamari cruiser too many. That’s another one of the scenarios you run into that feel very Star Wars. I didn’t take many minutes of playing before I really felt like seeing Episode III again!
The main weaknesses I’ve observed so far have been the fact that space battles tend to get pretty messy. Now, the graphics and effects are good, so messy can easily translate to “epic”. However, it can get too much at times. I’m hoping that this is a training issue and that I’ll feel different when I’ve played the game more (I think so).
The other issue is a bug – even though we are playing with version 1.02, we have experienced strange battle results a few times. Example: In the last seconds of a battle, a spacecraft goes down in flames – yet it is not listed as destroyed in the battle results, and the player doesn’t lose it.
You should really try the demo if you’re into Star Wars or strategy games. This looks to me like one of this Spring’s great strategy games alongside Battle for Middle Earth II from EA.
Today’s link to important stuff: The Guardian asks – Can our way of living really save the planet? After reading through it, nodding all the way, I take comfort in the fact that I do contribute in positive ways. Buying ethical goods is however one part of ethical living I should get better at.