- The Elder Scrolls Online Details Crafting and Exploration in New Video
- Final Fantasy VIII HD Re-Release Announced for PC
- COMIC: XCOM The Healing Process
- Evenin '13
- SimCity's Amusement Park Pack Leaked, Releases May 28th
- Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Re-Confirmed For PC Release
- Game Gear Games Coming to 3DS eShop
- Nintendo Open E3 Gaming Doors to Public at Best Buy
- The Wonderful 101 Gets a Release Date
- GTA 5 Screens - Cars, Motorbikes and Scuba Diving
- Black Ops 2 Uprising DLC Ships
- Driveclub PS4 Screenshots
- The Elder Scrolls Online Gathering & Exploration Video
- The Elder Scrolls Online
Gathering And Exploration Dev. Diary
- Gran Turismo 6
- Batman: Arkham Origins
Batman: Arkham Origins features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline occurring several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Taking place before the rise of Gotham City\'s most dangerous
- Metro: Last Light
- Resident Evil: Revelations
Panic Dev. Diary
- Command & Conquer
Beyond the Battle Dev Diary
Empire Earth 2 Review
publisher: Vivendi Games
developer: Mad Doc Software
PIV 1500, 256MB RAM, 1.5GB HDD, 128MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Apr 26, 05 (released)
|» All About Empire Earth 2 on ActionTrip|
Branka "Nikerym" Todorovic
If you asked me what the crucial catalyst in human history was, I would answer 'war' without a moment's hesitation (I would say the invention of the Nacho Grande platter -Ed.). There wasn't a single moment in the history of mankind which was devoid of people that were fighting with each other in their struggle for domination, expansion, independence, or simply survival. From this point of view, some of these wars were trivial and minor, while some had a lasting influence on the further development of human events. However, if you are a part of the war or in direct charge of it, you soon realize there is no such thing as a trivial war. Every battle, no matter how 'unimportant', has the power to change the course of war. Mad Doc knows this, and their sequel to Empire Earth demonstrates their understanding of this.
Not without a fairly high price mind you.
You see, as soon as you start playing Empire Earth II, you will notice two very important things: first, the learning curve is so high it will take you quite a lot of time to get used to playing the game. While learning the controls isn't difficult thanks to the helpful tutorials and an intuitive interface, mastering them requires a lot of patience, as you will be forced to use shortcuts as much as possible because of the great number of details you'll need to pay attention to. Playing Empire Earth II is one thing, and playing it with a satisfying result is quite the other.
The second thing you will notice is that the first few epochs are quite a drag. Even with the fact you'll always be busy with your unit production and citizen management, there won't be many interesting things going on because of the low tech level, so the initial epochs will be repetitive and sometimes even, well, boring. After a while, things will start moving at a faster pace, so your patience will be duly rewarded. But let's just take things one step at a time.
EEII includes several standard game options, such as campaign, skirmish, and scenario in the single player mode. There are several main campaigns: Korean, German, and American campaign, as well as the so-called Turning Points, featuring important historical events such as the battle for Normandy, as well as the Three Kingdoms campaign, with the possibility of playing as both sides in the conflict. Each campaign is massive, covering several historical periods and following the story of a nation (or a tribe yet to become a nation through expansion and/or unison with other tribes) in its struggle to dominate the world. All campaigns start in different epochs, following different historical events as their subject: for example, the Korean campaign dwells on the beginnings of the Korean nation, while the German explores the last segments of the Prussian history leading to the foundation of the German state. While many historical facts are accurate, the player is always given the freedom to change the actual outcome of a conflict. Maybe the Germans did win the war, and the Japanese became the leading technological force in the world. (The latter is true anyway. Still, it's nice to have it confirmed.) Although the early epochs go at a slow pace, you will always find something to keep you busy, so you will be more or less prepared for what comes next by exploring the options and the possibilities of the game. The main problem of the game is the lame citizen manager, which always keeps you wondering about the whereabouts of your citizens. This will sometimes needlessly lead you into confusion, as you will assign a citizen with a specific task with not being quite sure where they are exactly on the map. That is because the citizen manager doesn't inform you of the location of your citizens. What's the point of assigning them with a task when they may be on another end of the map?
On the other hand, the unit management is done in a very satisfactory manner. It features some advanced options, such as producing a specific unit infinitely, or assigning it to your army (or one of your armies) after completion. Selecting units is also made easy by organizing them into groups and focusing on them via shortcuts. If you want to get things done, you'd better learn to use the shortcuts; otherwise you won't get very far. EEII does not seem overly complicated on the surface, but this is a complex game where a good strategy must be coupled with the ability to make snap decisions and act on them. Playing on the medium level of difficulty means you'll constantly be switching from one part of the map to another, taking care your citizens aren't lazing under a tree looking at the clouds, the production hasn't halted, or your army isn't on some suicide mission. Luckily, your units' AI is quite satisfactory, so although they'll be prone to getting stuck at the gates and at the bridges from time to time, most of the time they'll rise up to the occasion, defending themselves, attacking the most appropriate target etc.
As I've said, the relatively slow tempo of the first epochs will allow you to be more at ease with the game mechanism and let you get used to the things. Your opponents' behavior will also differ in the initial and in the later epochs: at the beginning, they will be more prone to launching small surprise attacks, sending a small number of forces to your territory and trying to destroy your buildings, as well as sending their citizens to gather your resources and construct buildings on your very borders. However, these attacks will never be thoroughly planned, so you will manage to fend them off with ease, and if you manage to build a big enough army to launch an assault all you'll have to do is locate your opponent and launch a counter-attack, destroying the little that's left of his army. Later on, the opponents' AI will improve to the point of being truly challenging, so with time you will find it very difficult to control several 'battlefields' and at the same time manage the internal affairs even on the normal difficulty setting. Luckily, a War Planner has been implemented into the game, which will help you plan your and your allies' moves and strategies to a great extent and organize your troops successfully.
One truly realistic aspect of the game are the weather conditions, which are crucial when planning an attack - you'll understand why if you try attacking your enemy during a blizzard; if you manage to find them, that is. Weather can be predicted, so you can consult your outposts for a weathercast and see if you should postpone the Third World War for Tuesday, or simply wait until it stops raining.
The good thing about EEII is that the elimination of every enemy unit on the map isn't necessary. Apart from being pointless, the process of annihilating your enemy can also be maddeningly frustrating, and in EEII you won't be seeing any of that. Every campaign is split into chapters which feature different main and secondary objectives which need to be successfully completed before moving on. Ruthless elimination of your opponents isn't the primary goal, although you are allowed to pursue your interests if that's what makes you happy. Depending on the historical moment, various objectives can be set before you - from forming an alliance with your opponents or destroying their city centers, to holding certain territories for a specific period of time. Many of these objectives offer you a choice; however I did not notice anything truly groundbreaking about the missions. The game play is typical for an RTS and the game objectives do not offer you anything that hasn't already been seen in the genre. The campaigns are engaging enough, but they are also so massive and complex in the sense you will need a lot of time to play them through, that you may eventually lose your patience.
8.7 Very Good
Detailed diplomacy and War Planner system; some engaging and cleverly conceived campaigns; solid overall AI; the influence of weather conditions; the Crown system; large number of different units, with many of them unique to each nation; engaging multiplayer;
Overall complexity; high learning curve; complex options; useless citizen manager; relatively low enemy AI in the first epochs; some uninspiring and slow-paced missions.