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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.2.6    CPU: G4 @ 800 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 1600 MB    8x CD-ROM    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

Homeworld 2
November 1, 2004 | Michael Yanovich

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I never played the original Homeworld – it didn’t make it over to the Mac and I don’t own a PC – so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got this game. I’d just heard lots of positive buzz, and something about a real time strategy game set in outer space. So I wasn’t surprised when that’s exactly what I got. What did surprise me is how exceedingly cool this game is.

But first, a few words about most RTS games in general. In my experience, single player campaigns start off fairly slow and easy and gradually introduce new units as the storyline progresses. Many players finish up the single player campaign and then move on to multiplayer battles over the internet, where experience levels really matter. That is to say, most of us can beat a single player game with enough save points and a couple of tries. You just don’t have to be an especially good player. But multiplayer games tend to fall into two categories. The first, games with a few friends, all of whom know the game basics but aren’t particularly amazing. Then there are those players you frequently run into in online ladder games, opponents who are really great players. They know the ultimate build sequences, unit locations, rush strategies, resource gathering patterns… they have the entire battle plan in their head before they even start a game.

Well, maybe it’s just me but Homeworld 2 seems to require you be the second kind of player – the highly skilled one – to really get into this game. This is clearly not meant for casual gamers, and frankly I felt a bit overwhelmed at times. But even in the midst of a heavy battle where I was getting my butt kicked, I loved this game!

There seems to be a decent story here, which is told in stylized animated cutscenes with top notch voice acting. I confess to not fully understanding the major plot points, mainly because the “Here’s what happened in the last game” intro wasn’t particularly clear. But whatever. Seems like humanity’s survival is in jeopardy and you must lead a ragtag fleet of ships through space on a lonely quest for a planet known as Earth. Oops, that’s Battlestar Galactica. Sorry! Anyway, change the word Earth to Homeland and you’ll be relatively close to this game’s plot.

I know I’m in the minority when I say stories aren’t that important in many games. If I wanted a plot I’d watch a movie or read a book. Gamewise, the only story points I care about are the ones I need to know in order to play the game. But I will admit that these cutscenes were entertaining enough that I actually paid attention to what was going on, which seemed like a lot of “we’re getting our butts handed to us, let’s run before we lose more ships,” followed by a brief, “Whew, we’re safe! Let’s rest. What? Drat! They found us! Quick, fight them so we can run again!”

And that’s fine by me. It kept me focused on the end goal of saving our species from the alien hoards. But in all seriousness, there does seem to be enough of a plot to keep story fans satisfied in between epic battles. And that’s what this game is all about. Epic. Freakin’. Battles!


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