Posted 07 October 2004 - 05:54 PM
EDIT - probably alot of spelling/grammer errors, but i'm not gonna re-read this ;)
I just finished Homeworld 2 today and so i think it's time i give my view on the game.
Homeworld 2 builds nicely from where the first game left off (but set quite some time later). The former Taidann, now known as the Vaygr, have started ravaging Hiigara and her allies. The new (and fully completed) Mothership flees from their blockaded Homeworld and goes on an journey to recover the 3 cores and resurrect Sajuuk.
Like it's predecessor, the story is told through beatiful animated cutscenes aswell as well as ingame sequences, all directed and rendered very well. However the story is noticeably weaker in some areas than the first game and some things are confusing or not explained well, but it doesn't subtract from the experience and is only a minor "problem", if a problem at all.
The graphics are rendered very beatifully no matter what option setting u have set. I was surprised at how well it ran on my 800mhz iMac, 32mb vRAM and 512 RAM. The dynamic LOD and dynamic texture stuff helps alot since the ships have good amount of detail on them, so the game will always try to run as fast as it can. My favorite part of the graphics are the backdrops, the vibrant colors and strange scenery.
The sound in this game really brings it to life. The zaps and wooshes of the lasers and missles, the roar and steady humms of fighters and ships, the chatter of the pilots. So far I haven't tired of hearing the voices in the game, even though i've heard them over and over. my main complaint is that many of the pilots never sound concerned or anything, a lack of emotion when they're going down with their vessels.
The soundtrack of this game is what really drives this game, just as it did in the first game. The soundtrack is as equally as amazing as it was before. I gotta get the soundtrack sometime...
the core of the game, the gameplay. Your mothership is the core of your fleet which can build just about every type ship, aside from Shipyards and BattleCruisers. You use resource collectors to harvest asteriods which are then used to build your fleet, just like many other RTS games out there, pretty standard. However, your mothership, carriers and Shipyard can't just suddenly build a ship w/o the proper facilities, so you have to build a module for that class of ship (fighters, corvettes, firgates, (super) capital ships, non-combat). Most vessels you won't need to research (it be kinda dumb if the mothership, core of Hiigaren fleet, didn't know how to build an interceptor) however some ships will need additional modules (like Advanced Research module and Hyperspace module) to be built. You can also research better armor and better engines for your vessels. The tech tree is pretty simple, nothing complex here, and it works well.
The camera and movement in 100% 3D space may take some time getting used to, but once you pick it up, it's fairly easy to use and is essetial in commanding your fleet throughout 3D space.
Commanding your fleet is also fairly easy to do. Select your ships, and click on the plan of space you want them to move to, or tell them to attack a target. Once again, standard RTS commands. However, you don't want to just command a mob of ships to go and attack a target, you'll want to organize them. I organize my ships by ship class by using the number keys to assign a group a number. You can select any number of ships and assign up to nine groups. With the unused group numbers, I assign those keys to strike groups. Strike groups replace the formations that where in Homeworld 1 (something i kinda miss in Homeworld 2, but isn't neccessary). You can also assign behaviors to ships to determine how (non)aggressive they're allowed to be. To be a good commander, you have to know how to use all of these features to comand your fleet effectively.
Another thing that is different that the first, is that fighters and corvettes are now built in squadrons, so no more hunting down for that stray cloaked fighter.
Units in the game fight with a simple rock, paper, scissor methode, and this is very apparent in the game. This ensures that there is no "super" vessel in the game (although Battlecruisers are tough cookies). This doesn't mean that an interceptor (anti-fighter) group won't do damage to a group of frigates, it'll just barely scratch them compared to an equal amount of bombers that would eat frigates alive. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your ships will help you build and command an unstoppable fleet. You will need to rely on all ship classes, all the time. There is no Ship class that will rule them all. ;)
The AI in the game is not dumb, but it isn't smart either. The levels are linear and the AI is scripted, but scriptd pretty well. You will face tough challenges if you aren't propery prepared.
There is no difficulty setting to choose from when you start the game, rather there is a system that examines your fleet after each level, and organizes the enemy fleet so that it won't overwhelmingly difficult or a "cake walk". I didn't find the game overwhelmingly challenging (not that it wasn't tough in some spots, ie: the proginator keepers), since i had built and managed my fleet rather well. I also didn't find the game to be a micromanaging game as it was said to be, not that you don't have to watch your ships and not that i didn't use pause button everyonce in a while to reassess a situation. It seems to be as difficult as the first game, to me atleast. Basically, i don't think the dynamic difficulty system worked very well.
There isn't any reply value in playing the singleplayer again, but player vs. cpu and multiplayer skirmishes should add some to the game. There are also plenty of mods, but i can't get any to work... like the Star Wars one.
ok, i'm done typing.... wow
Overall, I enjoyed the game very much. It's alot of fun and very worth getting, even if it's just for the story and music alone.
"Nothing here but us text"