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Empire Earth Review
developer: Stainless Steel Studios
PII-350, 64MB RAM, 450MB HDD, 8MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Nov 12, 01 (released)
|» All About Empire Earth on ActionTrip|
The name Rick Goodman is probably very familiar to all hardcore gamers. For a few years, there were countless real-time strategies that attempted to compete with Rick Goodman's Age of Empires (which was brought to the gaming world by Ensemble Studios). This time Stainless Steel Studios (a company founded by Rick himself) and Sierra have intently worked on bringing this epic real-time strategy to life. The recollection of how much fun I've had while playing Age of Empires never left my mind, and I kept that notion whilst anticipating Empire Earth.
Empire Earth has one main characteristic that will entice most of you out there. Principally, the huge lifespan and the history of man portrayed in a single game can really get your juices flowing. On top of that, carrying out various missions that can lead to important historic consequences is by far another appealing facet of the game. No matter which era you happen to choose, you'll find that every single detail remains truthful to the events that actually took place in history. As it has always been throughout history, some events remain hidden and undocumented; but now you get a chance to learn about many secret military operations that took place. Also, the fact that you can command over 200 different units all the way through the game makes the whole thing even more exciting. In addition, the game offers the possibility of advancing the units with special points you may gather during the mission. You then distribute those points to the units and technologies you wish to improve. Not bad and very handy at times.
Well, since I've offered you a peek at the game's plus point, I'll continue do divulge more on the subject. To start with, let's take a quick look at the in-game realism. Basically, Empire Earth has several features that ensure a realistic atmosphere. Primarily, I noticed that the development team focused on depicting the real-life ambiance as much as it was possible. This means that if you've decided to play, say the Russian campaign, you will notice that the environment has its own specifics - the surroundings in Russia are naturally cold, snowy, and will most of the time remain dark (especially in territories located in the far north, where it's mostly night). On the other hand, the campaign of ancient Greece denotes warmer and brighter settings. Such details have a strong effect on the player and they give you a clearer picture of what it all must've looked like in actuality. Even the futuristic missions seem convincing and they'll make you believe that such a future might happen. Other elements create a true-to-life atmosphere as well; things like trees and bushes shifting in the wind, seagulls flying above the ocean, and many other cool lookin' things.
Alas, not all aspects of the graphics are praiseworthy. Sincerely though, once I saw how a huge battle looks like, it all seemed far better than the old Age of Empires, or any other RTS. And if you zoom up to a certain degree right at the center of the clash, the game assumes an alluring epic quality. The camera allows the player to zoom in and view the skirmishes and battles to the smallest detail. But, herein lies the problem. As soon as the camera maximally zooms in, you observe the size of certain units, and their complete lack of realistic proportions. This can best be seen when you put a scout dog next to an ordinary citizen; almost instantly you will detect that the animal is larger than the human character (it's no biggy I guess, but it still looks lame).
The music and sound effects are first-rate. Each unit has a distinctive sound it produces when it responds to a command; a huge range of ambient sounds also contributes to the in-game atmosphere. The tunes are pleasant and harmonious to the action on screen...
8.5 Very Good
Good unit and backdrop animations, the atmosphere conveys a realistic epic quality, great sound effects, exciting significant missions and gripping scenarios, plus you can lead heroes like William the Conqueror and the Red Baron to victory using your prophets to summon and hurl calamities;
The anguish of the bad pathfinding system (example: the confusion that crops up when you give orders to your war galleys and ships...), apart from that no apparent weaknesses.