by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
And it's not just the AI
Some of the more interesting new features quickly turn out to be irritations rather than useful innovations. The Lunar Corporation with its cool modular towers for instance, end up being hard to manage in a fight. It may be that you want to change the weapon type on your Battle Module from air defense to ground defense. Unless the battle module is the top of the tower, you'll be struggling to click on the right module as the parts of other modules will be in the way. By the time you've finally managed to select it, it will most likely be about to become scrap metal and in the mean time, you've had no time to direct the rest of your army either.
The alien faction is indeed very alien and therefore the most laudable species I've encountered in any strategy game. Sadly they're also the most unplayable for all but the most dexterous among us. New units are created through morphing basic units into more advanced ones. The problem with this is that you'll be so busy with morphing that you don't have any time to pay attention to anything else going on. In the hands of a fast and skilled player though, the aliens have the potential to wreak havoc in multiplayer games.
As I've mentioned before, the plot is revealed through the hero unit and in true Starcraft fashion, this happens in-game as you play. I've always appreciated this way of telling the story but Reality Pump forgot to pause the rest of the game so while you're listening to new developments or orders, your army can be wiped out and there's a good chance the enemy will be hacking away at your base defenses. You can't do anything about this as your controls are being disabled the entire time. Fun! Not?
The in-game sound is of good quality and leaves little to be desired. The voice acting on the other hand, isn't exactly top-notch but compared to the soundtrack, it's fantastic. The music simply sucks. Pretend that you've positioned your PC smack in the middle of an orchestra and they keep playing loud music as if something really big is about to happen, but never does. I could stand about 5 minutes of it and when I switched it off, I could hear a sigh of relief from my wife who is usually quite forgiving of all the noises my games pump out of my speakers.
Despite a gripping storyline that made up for some of the above problems, I simply had to force myself to keep playing in order to do this review. It's unfortunate that a game that tries so hard to do something new and different in a genre that could use a fresh take, fails so badly. Sub-standard AI and poor implementation of some of the more refreshing features, keep it from becoming a good game. I shudder to think that this is because the strategy genre has reached the peak of its potential and that this means we'll see evolutionary progress in the genre, crawl to a halt. The game scores some brownie points for its courage to try something new but still my conclusion has to be that the AI and the other irritations hamper Earth's gameplay to a point where I can only recommend it to the most die-hard Earth fan.
No Pros and Cons at this time