The best strategy Star Wars game yet. Is that enough?

User Rating: 7.7 | Star Wars: Empire at War PC
After mediocre strategy games based on the Star Wars franchise such as “Rebellion” or “Force Commander”, we can finally play a game that is worthy of the name Star Wars. But is this enough to make it a great strategy game?

Gameplay: The game puts you in charge of multiple aspects of the Galactic Civil War. From managing production, placing troops and strategic structures in different planets, to space and ground battles. Different planets offer you different bonuses that will aid you with your conquest. Heroes, such as Darth Vader play an important role in ground battles as they can mean victory or defeat.

Unfortunately the game feels as if it tried too hard to copy from other games that are much more successful in their respective fields. The strategic map is great, but nothing we have not already seen in such games as Rome: Total War. The space battles, while very well presented, leave a lot to be desired if compared with old games like Homeworld, or not so old games like Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. If you expected full 3d space battles, you are in for a disappointment. The game feels too much in that sense like Star Trek: Armada. While it was a good game in its time, now it would be outdated.

The ground battles are decent but the “Hero” factor seems to be a poor attempt to copy the heroes from Battle For Middle Earth.

Even though you have two story lines for the two factions, the single player campaign stories leave a lot of holes. Luckily, if you have watched the films, you can piece them together pretty well.

Graphics: The space battles, even though are not in real 3d, are a feast to your eyes. The ground battles are mediocre at best, especially when you use the cinematic camera or zoom in to watch your troops closely. Graphics are blocky and the use of bloom is a poor attempt to conceal this problem.

Sound: In this department, the game does a pretty good job. You have all the classic tunes and sound effects from the films as you would expect from any good Star Wars game.

Value: Even though you will have plenty of fun with the fairly long single player campaigns, the fact that the battles are unimpressive will shorten the replay ability.

Tilt: I must confess that if it had not been for the massive hype this game has created, I would have probably rated it higher. Perhaps I expected too much from it. I expected 3d space battles, a meaningful use of heroes and a fresh use of the strategic map in the game. Unfortunately the game came short on those fields. However it’s still the best strategy game based in the Star Wars franchise and a must have for any Star Wars fan.