August 8, 2007 – Brace yourself; you are about to be a part of a war where humans are merely in the way. Welcome to 2012 (if it’s ringin’ any bells, think of the Mayans) where Petroglyph makes Earth the host planet of an ancient war-grudge among three cultures. The war is upon us, and it’s time to choose sides: Hierarchy, Novus, or the finally announced (thank you E3) Masari. One of the many beautiful aspects of Earth Assault is that the three races are like nothing we’ve seen before. They are fashioned in a way that we won’t look at them as some oddball, spacey attempt to impress us; rather, they DO impress us without looking goofy and pathetic. All three factions will have fighting styles individual to their faction, nothing like any of the others and nothing like anything I can relate to.
If bigger is better, then the Hierarchy certainly takes the cake in this category. When thinking Hierarchy, think of mobile command units that more-or-less create crop circles to call for reinforcements from outer space. Since each unit is essentially a mobile unit with no real ‘home base,’ all units are upgradeable, that is, clicking different spots on different units opens to add bigger, better items. When it comes to resources, there is no need to worry. The resource collector for this faction will engulf anything standing in the way to turn it into a usable resource (buildings, cows, cars, humans…) Hierarchy is for anyone wanting to bully their way through Earth.
If speed and technology are what your looking for, Novus is the route for you. Novus are interconnected through a ‘Network’ allowing you to travel to or from one site to another with incredible speed. They are capable of building large bases in a short period of time. Your network allows you to transport for speedy reinforcements or retreats, whichever is necessary in your current situation. Novus expands more on the stationary, technological path, creating, for example, towers that can reflect fire power turning ones own blows back onto themselves.
The Masari seem to be all the buzz now that they’ve finally been announced as the third and final faction of Universe at War. Like the Novus, the Masari have been equally burned by the savage Hierarchy, once helping them only to have been burned and made nearly extinct by their former allies. The Masari landed on Earth when ancient human cultures still existed and took to hibernation deep in our beloved oceans. The more we learn about the Masari, the more I am led to believe that they were fashioned after Atlantians (the lost culture of Atlantis). With pyramid building, Prince Zessues (Zeus anyone?), all-seeing eyes, and references to many rumored ancient cultures, It would be hard to deny all the similarities. The Masari vehicles will all need to be piloted, and may adapt depending on which type of character pilots them. A soldier may have a different vehicle than one piloted by an architect.
Universe at War: Earth Assault may have similar game play to some games we’ve seen before (to be expected considering that much of the staff worked for Westwood) but is sure to be something new regardless. The three factions are nothing like one another, and different skills and thought will apply to the varied cultures. The characters are well thought and original in background and gameplay. The real-time strategy is also very impressive going hand-in-hand with excellent looking graphics. This game has been flying under the radar but is sure to make a big splash with all who enjoy this type of gameplay. Sorry to report that humans are still only a fuel source rather than the typical ‘resistance’ fighting to an eventually happy ending of heroism and bravery. I’m sure once we get over ourselves, we’ll be happy to choose a side and try to conquer the world.