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Star Wars: Empire at War Strikes Earth

Published February 17, 2006 in PC Games
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of LucasArts
Star Wars: Empire at War Star Wars: Empire at War
If there is one thing that makes me just as gitty as watching highly anticipated movies it is video games that are based off of these same movies.

For years now LucasArts has been delivering video game adaptations and spin-offs based off of the Star Wars universe. Each game released ranged from pretty good to poor; especially when LucasArts tried its hand at real-time strategy.

Do you remember the PC game Star Wars: Rebellion? The game had a brilliant idea-- give the player an entire universe to control including hundreds of planets. There was no campaign, there were no missions. Instead, the user was giving the job of taking over planetary sectors one by one through force or by diplomacy. While doing so, there were about a hundred different factors the user had to look out for.

Do I have enough resources? Do my controlled planets have a large enough security force to prevent sabotage? Have my reconnaissance planes returned from their missions? How did the assassination attempt go? Are my own sabotage missions going to plan? How is R&D going on the new cruiser?

Star Wars: Rebellion gave the player every resource they needed to dive right in and control just about every aspect required in the Star Wars universe. The only problem was that the game also came packed with some major drawbacks.

Being promoted as a game that featured RTS strategy for its giant space battles, many gamers purchased Star Wars: Rebellion just for that RTS element. The only problem was that the RTS appeal for the game blew Chewbacca balls. Not only were the graphics poor, but the gameplay itself was horrid.

My favorite part was when you zoom in to take a look at your fighters (X-Wings, Y-Wings, etc), you could see them flying sideways or backwards. Did the pilots get into Yoda's liquor cabinet last night or what? At first I laughed, but after a bit of time the gameplay got so annoying that I began to allow the game auto-decide the battles for me.

Real-time strategy games never really got any easier for LucasArts. They tried again with Galactic Battlegrounds and the game served up a sub-par RTS that was only cool because it featured vehicles and other units from the movies.

I have constantly hoped LucasArts would finially sack up, purchase the latest Command & Conquer engine, and create an RTS game up to the standards of Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth; a great RTS game by the way.

Now, though LucasArts took a different route, it looks like my, and many others, hopes have been answered.

Star Wars: Empire at War Released

On February 16th LucasArts released their latest Star Wars video game adaptation, Star Wars: Empire at War, which looks like a perfect mix between tactical gameplay and real-time strategy. Combining the best aspects from Star Wars: Rebellion with a great looking RTS engine has never tasted sweeter.

Star Wars: Empire at War Star Wars: Empire at War

Star Wars: Empire at War Star Wars: Empire at War

Star Wars: Empire at War puts the power to command an entire war for the Star Wars galaxy in the hands of players, giving them the freedom to determine how they lay the game within the completely scalable and accessible gameplay. Set a few years before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, LucasArts' new PC game lets players wage war on ground and in space, as well as experience the creation of the rebel alliance, the strengthening of the empire and the beginnings of the galactic civil war.

Using an entirely new game engine created by the Las Vegas-based developer Petroglyph, Empire at War features beautifully rendered land and space battles set on memorable planets such as Yavin IV, Tatooine and Dagobah, as well as never-before-seen environments taken directly from the Star Wars films and expanded universe novels. I the game, players choose to join either the rebel alliance or the galactic empire, building and setting up tactical forces to unleash upon the enemy in real-time 3D. Memorable Star Wars hero characters can be brought into the action to help turn the tide of the battle as players build, manage and upgrade their space and ground-based units, vehicles, troops and base structures.

All of the gameplay and action within Empire at War is persistent, meaning that strategic and tactical elements from previous events will have a permanent effect on the galaxy. In addition to the single-player campaign mode, the game includes a two-player campaign mode and online skirmish modes for up to eight players.

Empire at War has already begun to receive some great reviews including this one over at GameSpot. By heading over to GameSpot you can also check out up to ten gameplay videos that look nothing short of excellent.

Expect a review on Empire at War soon.

Long live the rebellion and may the force be with you... always.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Ryan Parsons
Sources: Image property of LucasArts

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