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Aspyr Media
Strategy & War
Release Date

Star Wars: Empire at War
March 12, 2007 | Michael Scarpelli

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Vader is just as hardcore as he should be. He's worth at least 20 other men, and a couple of tanks.

Sheís Got It Where It Counts
The game, as you would expect, looks great. Environments are richly detailed and units are distinctive. Space battles look great, with dangerous and beautiful nebulas and tons of space debris floating about. The detail on the larger ships in the game is really great. I never experienced any real slowdown on my MacBook Pro while playing the game, despite the fact that there can be a ton of action going on at once.

Itíll take a powerful Mac indeed to run the game at peak performance and have it be playable, but the standard graphical settings (which are basically at the mid-level for the game) donít leave much of anything at all to be desired. Units can look blocky when zoomed in extremely close, but itís so impractical to view combat from that tight that it doesnít really matter. I had trouble getting the game to run happily with the widescreen resolution settings, but it didnít trouble me in the least to leave a little screen real estate black to get the game running silky smooth on a lower resolution.

To help the gamer better enjoy the quality visuals in the game, thereís a fun (though not terribly useful) cinematic button to hit in each of the battles. This gives the game control of the camera and will sweep in and out of battle and zoom in on points of action to show the battle from a more dynamic angle than simply top-down. This is fun to sit back and watch, but itís so rare youíll be in a battle big enough to want to watch that will be so winnable you can give up control by entering cinema mode. It keeps the feature far to the ďfun but extraneousĒ side of things.

Scoundrel? I Like the Sound of That
The audio in Empire at War is far and away the standout for the game. To hear John Williamís now iconic score playing in the background is nothing short of inspiring for a true fan. Voice actors for all the major characters (youíll have some Han Solo, some Darth Vader, some Mon Mothma, Grand Moff Tarkin, Boba Fett, and on and on) are all great as well. Their voices are excellent approximations of the originals and really feed into the experience.

Battle chatter is also great. I never get tired of Vader telling me that my ďlack of faith is disturbingĒ when I select him in battle, even though it makes no sense for him to say it there. Itís fan service and, well, Iím a fan. The laser fire is that same classic sound effect we all know and love from the films and the clank of AT-ST footsteps still means trouble for rebel troopers. All in all, the audio is what made this game an immersive Star Wars experience for me.


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