careful what you wish for because you just might get
Earth II is one of the most epic, detailed, varied
and deep RTS games ever created. It's going to challenge
all gamers of all skill levels, from hardcore strategist
and newbies. Never have I seen such a comprehensive,
yet accessible, RTS game. The amount of control is
staggering and that's part of the problem. There are
so many commands mapped to the hotkeys that it will
take weeks of practice to commit most of them to memory.
It's not imperative that you memorize them for the
single player campaigns but you'll be a huge disadvantage
in the multi-player modes if you're even the slightest
the hotkey commands is certainly worth the effort
because of the incredible amount of fun that you can
have. As I've already mentioned this game is huge
and can be configured in many different ways so that
you'll never have to play the same game twice. There's
no reason this game wouldn't last you until the end
of the year and beyond, so putting in the effort to
learn the commands is a good long-term investment.
Personally there was no way I was going to learn them
all before this review deadline and as a result got
my ass kicked in the multi-player mode simply because
I wasn't fast enough. Rather than being discouraged
it made me want to get back in there and fight that
much harder. Practice makes perfect and there's no
better way to learn than trial by fire.
level of complexity is proportionate to your level
of skill and style of play. There are so many different
ways to play this game that you will be missing out
if you don't experiment with different strategies.
The interface commands are easy to understand and
very effective. New features help keep micromanagement
at bay and reward good players with time-limited advantages
that work like power-ups.
Earth II traces the brutal history of civilization
from the throwing of sticks and stones to lasers and
nuclear bombs. You can choose from numerous epochs
including the Three Kingdoms of China, Normandy and
the Napoleanic wars to name just a few. Conflicts
with countries such as Prussia, Germany, Korea, Cuba
and the United States are included, and while they
may not be perfectly accurate they do correspond to
real world logic.
can play specific battles from different perspectives
and maybe even change the course of history. There
are 14 civilizations to choose from in all, each one
using different weapons, technologies, strategies
and abilities. There are some countries that seem
incredibly limited and if you're like me you'll probably
ignore them but once I checked them out I found there
was much more thinking required than just deployment
of large, heavily armed troops.
all conflicts are fought to the bitter end. Sometimes
you'll just have to overpower a country by taking
key territories and make them retreat and surrender.
Each campaign is different and varies in length, intensity
and difficulty. To allow you to better focus on your
battle strategies some new features have been added
to assist you. The Citizen Manager will relegate the
closest idle citizens to harvest whatever resources
you require at the time. This reduces some of the
tedium of micromanagement. The Picture in Picture
feature lets you see six different locations on the
battlefield (in rotation) and even lets you issue
orders to these units without having to leave the
lets you create alliances more effectively than the
War Plan which you can send out to any civilization
in the multi-player mode. Here you can outline plans
to "gang-up" on one particular enemy by
cultivating allies. Of course you have to really trust
your allies because you can really open yourself up
to attack if you grant them permission to cross your
borders. Treaties can be broken with no penalties
so you have to make sure you're not being duped. At
the same time if you appear too suspicious you'll
have a more difficult time making friends.
are awarded in each of three categories: Economy;
Imperialism, and Military gains. The winner of each
will be awarded a crown which will give them special
abilities such as faster ground troops or increased
production of resources. These advantages are time-limited
and can be quite useful to focus on getting, or at
least prevent your enemy from receiving.
plays an important role. You don't want to be conducting
many raids in the winter. Ground units are slower
and if you get caught in a blizzard your visibility
can be reduced to near zero where you won't be able
to tell where you're going. Speaking of which, you'll
notice that there are some pathfinding problems. Most
of your units will wander off main roads from time
to time causing you delays and headaches. Bridges
are another concern as they see to trap units like
a black hole. Often you'll have to sacrifice these
stuck units and just move on.
of the graphics are well detailed and show good lighting
and particle effects, even when you zoom in. The architecture
of the various time periods and locations is consistent,
clean and concise. The animation is smooth and the
voiceacting shows signs of inspiration.
Earth II is simply a must-have for any serious RTS
fan. It may be deep but it's fun and it will last
a long, long time.