The game is about the fighting of 4 races, 3 of which are playable past 2 missions. It doesn't really matter because the game is terrible and cluttered with performance and technical problems that will make you want to rip your eyes out. You won't care about the story or where it's going when you can't even stomach the pain to keep playing it. After a few hours of this torment you'll want to smash the game with a hammer, or in my case, uninstall and delete it as quickly as possible.
First of all the game requires far too much of a beast computer to run. You mean to tell me my 2009 PC that costs 650$ dollars can't decently run this 2007 game when I can run the 2009 Dawn of War 2 with much better performance and graphical effects? That's maddening! That's bad design right there. The graphics look nice, but you'll never get to see them unless you have a 200-250$ video card years further up than the game itself, which I doubt most players will be packing in their game rig. Were they crazy? I can't imagine trying to run this on a 2007 computer when my 2009 computer barely runs this game without its graphics set down really low. It's terrible, and my computer isn't to blame. It runs most games with full graphics, and at least great on games with reduced graphics if not. Wtf is this?! I also tested its performance on the 360. It runs without the problems on that console, but unit management is even worse and the frame rate is far worse. There's simply no way to enjoy this game, and this "Universe at War" feels more like a wasted universe that's at war with its own design and problems more than anything else. Hard to be at war and care about the Earth when your screen freezes in the middle of a load screen or shoot out.
On top of it, the game is loaded with a huge host of technical issues that destroy gameplay, mainly causing you to redo missions again and again and again... The game has frozen during my gameplay and load screens several times, forcing me to restart the game, and the mission if it was during one. It freezes more sometimes if you try to minimize it, and will crash if it gets minimized by another program without it's "must pause first" say so. How come any other game can minimize without a fuss but this one has so many problems?! I didn't even finish the Novus campaign before wanting this trash off my computer, after my 5th or so mission reset due to technical problems I decided to end the pain. Having to relaunch the game again and again and restart missions again and again due to bad game design is not my idea of fun. How anyone can endure a game like this for more than a few hours is beyond me. Having to save every 10 minutes because I don't know when the next crash is going to occur is an era of gaming that I've left beyond me in my years of gaming. I no longer accept games that force me to do so, since most games evolved at least enough to run properly.
How it got a 7.5 by Gamespot is beyond me even further. Maybe they rated it based off the opening intro and nothing else. Severe lack of interface convenience and technical problems alone could not let it get that high. Other games with these problems they rate 4-6.
I could go into further detail about the game, but simply put, there's no way to enjoy any of it. Anything good about the game will be overshadowed by the bad. Glitch filled graphical effects where things appear as a faded "box" over units, boggy frame rate issues during any kind of action, and a terrible interface are all this game provides while playing it. Abilities have bad hotkeys or no hotkeys at all, especially buildings, where you must click the picture of each and every single one. Heroes can't be revived and fail your mission the second they die, making you question using them at all since it's very hard to keep them alive sometimes.(Keep in mind there is no way to heal them, aside from sitting them out and letting their health slowly recover) The screen is cluttered by things you don't want nor need to see, like the Flow Condult Power Lines of the Novus and qued up units when a building is selected. Whatever happened to having 1 picture with a number on it like logical games do? Nope, not here, this game prefers to clutter your screen as much as possible by having a picture for each and every qued up unit, even if it isn't the same building. 3 buildings with a full que will show lines of pictures blocking your view when you try to select buildings... wow. The list goes on and on, I just can't cover it all!
It never ends! Workers don't auto-repair buildings, and must for modern strategy games. It's also too difficult to keep up with units since they themselves and their abilities often deselect for no reason. You can't just "right click" to capture neutral buildings like in other games either... (like the popular CnCs for example), here you have to use an inconvenient hotkey or manually click its ability picture... You'd expect this 2007 game to learn some things from the 2001 Warcraft 3 or any 2000-2006 Command and Conquer and why it they were so successful, but they probably don't even know what that stuff is. This game is terribly inconvenient to play, even if you ignore its massive technical problems that make it difficult to play in the first place. There's simply no reward for all the things you endure just to play this game, especially if you paid for it. There are reasons why this game was swept under the rug and forgotten about soon after it's release like many games. It's terrible. Due to how it was forgotten on the side lines, I knew it wouldn't be great, but wow I didn't expect this.
The only positive thing about this game is its music, I really liked it, but luckily you can get that off the internet for free or at least for a lot less and enjoy it without the hassles of this bad game they are attached with. Frank, the composer, is responsible for most Command and Conquer music, and he's still got it. You're better off just listening to his amazing music of the game without enduring the game itself. You could say his music makes up my rating. I got the entire soundtrack of UaW on my hard drive in my huge collection of game sound tracks, and that's enough for me from Universe at War. If I paid for anything it'd be for the music, nothing more. If you have the game disc, it's a shame you can't just get the music off it and not even install the game.
The game is such a technical mess I never got past Novus campaign, I don't envy anyone that can stomach this game long enough to do such a thing. I uninstalled after the last crash that ruined another mission mid-level. If you come anywhere near this game you better have a 200$ video card or you'll suffer from your mistake. But I don't think that would fix all the problems either, I think it's just coded bad from the start. The crashes occur during normal gameplay. Also, a video card can't really be blamed for a game crashing during a load screen or a minimize when nothing was really even going on. I didn't even mention the load long times despite having a quad core computer that blows its requirements out of the water. Simply put, my computer is far over all the recommended settings and it still must run at low on everything just to get a decent frame rate out of it, very terrible for a game.
Its multiplayer I didn't think to test because I wanted it off my computer so fast. Given all the problems I doubt it's any better. Why would you want to share this experience with another person anyway? It would be like a cruel joke if they didn't know what you were getting them into. The features the game promised before release sounded interesting, but since the game is nearly unplayable with all of its problems, it's hard to imagine how I could even put any of them to real use if I tried. I guess the winner is decided by who has a goes longest without crashing out?
Avoid this game. That's my only recommendation. There's nothing else to know. If someone tries to give it to you as a gift, don't accept it. I don't recall it's price but it says you can digitally download the game now for 20$, I considered buying it during its release for 60$, sure glad I missed that one. It wasn't worth 60 when it was released, it isn't worth 20 now, and I'm not even playing(or keeping it for that matter) when mine was free. Ya, I took this free game and sent it to the recycle bin, it isn't even worth the storage space. Getting the point yet?
(Experience) F (Fail)
(Video/Audio) B (Acceptable)
Performance: F (Fail)