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It's hard to compare a game like this, as i don't know any other game that's similar. Probably the most similar game is Sins of a Solar Empire, but even that has some dramatic differences.
Basically each player starts off with a mothership, this mothership builds all your ships and can build modules which serve as research stations and production facilities. Carriers can also produce units i believe, and can have small ships docked on them.
Battles tend to be on a far larger scale than of those on SOASE, easily having 100+ ships in a single battle. Aided by the fact that 1 fighter unit is actually 5 fighters in a wing formation.
Instead of a population limit, the game has a support limit, in some cases this can be a very low limit, only allowing a few ships meaning tactics play a very large role, or alternatively, you can have the limit at its max, allowing you to have several capitol ships and countless fighters at the same time.
The games AI is fairly impressive, as with most strategy games, having them on high difficulty settings generally equals an almost impossible game. They will send large fleets to your base within about 20 minutes of play, which only a very experienced player can fend off.
There are several classes of units in the game, each produced in a different module of the mothership.
Fighters, bombers also come under this category, these are small ships built in wings of 5, and can destroy other small ships, bombers are also effective against frigates and platforms.
Corvettes, Corvettes are generally anti fighter units, but they can also counter frigates and other corvettes, they are fairly small craft.
Frigates, Frigates are powerful units, it will take quite a few bombers to take one out, they can counter fighters, corvettes, frigates and capitol ships. Missile frigates are especially effective vs stationary/slow units, such as platforms and capitol ships.
Platforms, despite the name, they can move at a slow speed, they come in varying shapes and sizes and different platforms can take out different types of ships, just like all other ship classes. They are countered by bombers and missiles, especially missiles.
Capitol Ships, Carriers, destroyers, dreadnoughts, these are the main capitol ship classes, Carriers can carry small amounts of ships, such as fighters, destroyers are outfitted with flak cannons, missiles and conventional gun turrets, they are good at taking out almost any small craft, but can be destroyed quickly through heavy missile fire. Dreadnoughts are basically an uber powered destroyer, they have several weapons on them, and can take out pretty much anything else on the battleground, only large amounts of missiles will bring these ships down.
So theres a fairly decent amount of ships, this can make for interesting battles.
The game can be fairly complex, but it shouldn't trouble you once you get used to the basics, there are mods that make the game far more complex. (Infact there is a mod called the Complex Mod) Despite this its still a great game to play, the only faults you might find with the game is that battles can end rather quickly, sometimes only lasting about half an hour, rather than SOASE that can last several hours, and usually has to be saved and continued later.
The game can be played by up to 6 players, via LAN, direct IP or through gamespy servers, AI are also supported in multiplayer.
I would recommend this game to any spaceship or strategy fan, its very cheap now, and if you buy it, i also recommend that you download the Complex mod, as its a free download that adds more ships, adds stations and new technologies. It also makes the AI more difficult, adds more maps, and adds some more pre-game options.
Well, Homeworld 2. I start the game with mixed feelings, wondering about whether it really has improved over its predecessor, Homeworld.
The game loads up quickly, and I'm presented with the menu screen, which looks modern, is responsive, and theres no loading time between menu options.
Homeworld seems to be set to lowest graphics by default, but i want the full experience, 2 minutes alter and a quick restart, I'm looking at the quick battle screen, i don't want to jump into the main story just yet.
It looks like there's a new race, the Vaygr.
I select them as my enemy, on the lowest difficulty setting, and put my self as the race from Homeworld 1, the Hiigarans.
I star the game without customizing my ships, but you can select badges, the colors of them, and stripe position.
The game loads, remarkably quickly, and my mothership (Which looks like a giant armoured banana, but that's a good thing!)
hyperspaces into view, along with a carrier.
I select my carrier, and zoom in, and am amazed by the level of detail, and the sheer size of my mothership from this perspective.
So, I manufacture some fighters, 3 squadrons of 6 each, and sent them into the enemy motherships direction.
The combat is fluid and amazing, my fighters diving and ducking this way and that way, dodging fire from the larger ships, but taking heavy damage from their fighters.
Before long, their all destroyed, and I start some research. Two hours later (Yes, this game isn't exactly "quick" for a quick battle.) I have everything researched, a considerable amount of the games currency, RUs, and i build some capital ships, some frigates, and some destroyers. Each scaled and textured in a very realistic way. i set the hyperspace direction, and away they go.
Immediately, the fighting starts. i zoom into my destroyer to see the turrets spinning this way and that, zoom into a frigate to see it buckle and explode, and zoom into a capital ship to see it destroy an enemy carrier.
This game is detailed, fun, and realistic. the sound could of been better, with a bit tacky sounding "zap" for the lasers, and "Ptyoo.." for the cannons, but it didn't detract too much from the experience, nd i soon found myself tuning it out, as the battle came alive.
There really isn't anything BAD about the game, but some things could do with improving, such as the sound, and perhaps tuning down the learning curve, which is quite high for new players.
But still, this game gets 2 thumbs up!