8.5

Homeworld is a gorgeous game that RTS gamers will undoubtedly enjoy.

Homeworld was a space RTS made back in 2000. It was also the first outing by Relic. You'll probably know Relic best for its Dawn of War and Company of Heroes games. Well, this was the game that got them started big time, and for good reason. It ain't without its letdowns, but Homeworld is still a great looking RTS game that most RTS gamers should play.

In Homeworld's single player campaign, you play as the Hiigarans, a race that is struggling to survive on a desert planet called Kharak. Thanks to the faulty launch of a space satellite, the Hiigarans manage to discover an ancient ship buried in the sand. Within that ship, they discover their true history- and their true Homeworld- Hiigara. So the Hiigarans build themselves a massive Mothership with which to make the journey to Hiigara. But of course- they just have to face aggression on the way- this wouldn't be an RTS without aggression, now would it? They encounter the aggressive Taidani empire, which uses everything in its disposal to stop the Hiigarans from reaching their homworld. Its your job to lead the Mothership through fleet upon fleet of Taidani war vessels, and make it to your home!

The single player campaign is Homeworld is quite lengthy, so it'll take you a while to complete. In all reality, there isn't a very wide variety in mission objectives, but each mission is entertaining since the campaign offers you quite a bit to work with very quickly. Each mission has limited resources for you to use and harvest, but thankfully this isn't a problem since your fleet is persistent throughout the entire campaign, so any ships you build in one mission will be with you in the following missions until they are destroyed. You still have to manage your fleet wisely however if you are to face the taidani and the campaign's other enemy fleets. The only real odd thing about the campaign is that you can chose to play as either the Hiigarans or the Taidani. I'll cover the races of Homeworld below, but the campaign really doesn't change at all which side you play. The sides merely switch as to who's rushing home, and whos the aggressive empire.

When your done with the campaign, you've got a skirmish mode against the AI and multiplayer as well. The AI in Homeworld is satisfactory, especially at higher difficulty levels where its more aggressive, quicker, uses a wider variety of ships, and becomes capable of flanking attacks and hyperspace jumps. A standard skirmish in Homeworld actually tends to be fairly slowly paced with a fairly long build up time before anything starts to get dicey. Of course- you can always rush- which is easily done in Homeworld.

But this brings us to Homeworld's primary weakness- long lasting replay value. There is really only one mode in skirmish gameplay- and that is to destroy the enemy mothership. Then there's the game's two "races". In all reality, they use the exact same ships, with only 2 unique ships per side. Its a pity that some of the campaigns more unique races couldn't of been added into Skirmish gameplay. This lack of variety limits Homeworld quite a bit, but it could of been way worse.

Graphically, Homeworld was a beautiful game back in 2000. Its graphics are definitely a little rough for today's standards, but the game's graphics have aged remarkably well. The ships are all extremely detailed, and the damage effects on ships is also effective, both from a gameplay standpoint and visual standpoint (If you zoom into an enemy capital ship, and see flames, you know that it won't be long before it goes boom...). Sound wise, Homeworld fares just fine. Its music is ultimately underplayed, but effective. And the sounds of battle can be very dramatic when your hearing mass drivers do some rapid fire, and Ion cannon volleys go off. The voice acting is decent, but lacks variety as just about every ship uses the exact same voice clips.

Despite its variety issues, Homeworld is a blast to play all matters considered. The campaign will last most RTS gamers a while, and the skirmish mode is enjoyable, so Homeworld is highly recommendable to just about any RTS gamer.

Pros: Excellent graphics. Wide variety of ship types to use. Enjoyable campaign.

Cons: Pace might be a bit slow for some people. No fleet variety between races.

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