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First of all, let me simply state my overall opinion: this is the Game of the Gods. It rocks my galaxy, and it should rock yours if you have a taste for strategy, real-time strategy gaming in general and a little bit of patience while you acquire the vibe of the game.

One of the things that makes this game very special and especially Star Wars-like is not the fact that you're corralling a bunch of Star Destroyers or Mon Cal Cruisers around to take over worlds, and it's not the use of that ubiquitous John Williams music. It's the space-bar feature that allows you to jump from management mode to 'cinematic view' mode with the touch of a key. I wish I had some screen captures from the massive space battles and ground skirmishes I had last night during my Galactic Conquest game, playing as Empire. I took down nine, count'em NINE Mon Calamari Cruisers while my fleet came in and HAMMERED the Rebel scum in a mutually destructive battle that I yet managed to survive and win with far fewer losses than I expected, and held on to ALL of my heroes... Wait, I'm bragging, not reviewing.

Let's just say that this ingenius game revives the whole RTS concept and puts you THERE. YOU are in the MOVIE. If you find yourself in a space battle with tons of ships on both sides, don't auto-resolve: fight it out, even if it's going to be a loss, because the cinematic views will blow your mind. They are more often than not quite breathtaking, and make the time invested in the game greatly worthwhile.

I like the space battles more than the ground skirmishes but that's just me. I've had some great battles on the ground, and I have to tell you that blowing up a planet once you get a Death Star going is a simple and pleasant affair that hearkens back to my glory days of playing 'Star Wars: Rebellion (Supremacy)'. If you're having too much trouble stripping an army off a planet, and you're the Empire, then just send in that big ball o' doom and BLOW THAT ROCK INTO ASTEROIDS!!!

The management of the game can at times, once you understand how to play, seem simplistic and too abstract, but I think this is what it must look like to someone running a whole galaxy. You ask individual worlds to do certain things and then THEY handle the details. You don't place the cities and factories as you do in games like 'Imperius Galacticus II' (an obscure RTS from years ago). 'Empire at War' does it all so well, that it becomes like a snack food that you sometimes nibble at and at other times crave. Last night I had a massive craving and... I BURNED WORLDS! I blew up three, as a matter of fact, and billions died screaming. I hope Obi-Wan felt it and cried his heart out, because I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Hey, it's a Sith thing.

The Alienist

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The following comments are for "Star Wars 'Empire at War' (PC Game, 5/5 stars)"
by The Alienist

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