reviews\ Nov 1, 2006 at 7:00 pm

Star Wars Empire at War: Forces of Corruption - PC - Review

Earlier this year when Star Wars: Empire at War came out I was really impressed with what the developers at Petroglyph were able to do with the license. Unlike many of the other real-time strategy games that have come out under the Star Wars license, this one was truly made from the ground up to feel just like you are in the Star Wars Universe. While the game had some flaws to it, overall it was a really good game that took the franchise into a new direction. Well, the developers have come up with an expansion to the game entitled Star Wars: Empire at War - Forces of Corruption. Their tagline for the game is that you have already played as both the light and dark side, but now it is time to play as the corrupt side.

As stated above, unlike the original game where you controlled the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire, this time you will control a criminal faction. This faction puts a unique spin on the entire Galactic Civil War as you play as Tyber Zann, who is an up-and-coming criminal mastermind that has a huge grudge with Jabba the Hutt. You will have to use your wits and treachery as you try to become the most notorious criminal leader in this galaxy.

There are a few game modes that will keep you entertained for hours on end. First off I highly suggest playing through the tutorials as they will help you get used to all of the new features that the criminal side has access to. Next up is the Campaign mode which shows Tyber Zann’s rise to power as a crime lord, you will have to go from nothing to becoming the head of the biggest criminal empire in the galaxy gaining technology, heroes, and various other things along the way. The galactic conquest is back and allows you to choose from various scenarios to see if you can conquer the galaxy without being locked into any sort of story. Then there is the Skirmish mode that allows you to play a single game (land or space).

This game wouldn’t be complete without a multiplayer and Star Wars: Empire at War - Forces of Corruption gives it to players and then some. There are three new multiplayer features in this game that really turns up the heat on players. First there is a mirrored game, which allows players to use the exact same faction against each other, meaning a Rebel Alliance verse Rebel Alliance. Next up is a free for all, where players battle each other with the faction of their choice in skirmish battles. Last, but not least, this game now adds online clan support for those gamers who really enjoy the game and want to take on the rest of the world.

Since you are using a new faction you will be utilizing new strategies in this game. Unlike the empire or rebel alliance, Tyber Zann really could care less who “owns a planet” just as long as he is getting money from it. So instead you must send out at Consortium's Defiler units, which corrupts the nearby planet and each gives off some sort of new benefit to your organization. You can corrupt the planet via intimidation, piracy, kidnapping, racketeering, bribery, black market, slavery, or even corrupt militia. Each have their own requirements and yield differing benefits. What I really liked is using the black market to buy forbidden and outlawed technologies that really help you in your quest to become the best criminal mastermind. While it will take a while to get used to this new style of play it is always really fun to disable the enemies' defenses and do various other malicious things that will help you in the long haul.

Just like in the original game, the graphics for Star Wars: Empire at War - Forces of Corruption has its high points and its low points. The best thing that this game has going for it is the very high-paced and action-packed space battles. There seems to always be constant laser fire and various objects being destroyed, though the ground units seem to be not as inspired as the space units and the main thing you can see is that everything is not as detailed as the space battles. Other than that everything else in the game looks pretty good. It is a shame that the developers really couldn’t pin down a steadier framerate.

It is great that the developers had access to the huge Star Wars library of sounds and music. These make the game feel that much more inspired; as you are playing through it various popular music is heard as you are about to give another character a beat down. The new music that is introduced into this game also fits very well with everything else.

Star Wars: Empire at War - Forces of Corruption is rated Teen for fantasy violence.

The system requirements are as follows:
Windows XP or 2000
1.0 GHz or greater processor
256 MB of RAM
8X or faster CD/DVD drive
2.5 GB of disk space
32 MB Video Card
Direct X 9.0c

Review Scoring Details for Star Wars Empire at War: Forces of Corruption

Gameplay: 8.1
The new faction to this game really helps balance out everything in the game and make it more enjoyable to play.

Graphics: 8.3
The graphics for this game really match up to the original game. Just like before the real visual feast is the space battles whereas the planetary fighting still looks off and is not as polished. It is a shame that the framerate still shutters throughout the game like the original.

Sound: 8.4
Since this is an official Star Wars-licensed game, the developers had access to everything, as in all of the music and sound effects from the movies. The voice acting is not great but it does fit along with the story.

Difficulty: Medium
This game can get difficult for even the most seasoned RTS gamers, because you will have to take care of many things. Even though this is the case I really liked how you have to use your wits to get past certain missions, which makes beating it more rewarding.

Concept: 9.0
I really liked this third new faction that really puts a spin on everything else. It makes it a lot more enjoyable in multiplayer as well.

Multiplayer: 8.2
Playing against another human to find out who is the best is always a good and very satisfying feeling. Now having three factions to choose from really adds a lot to the game and makes it more enjoyable to play against other players.

Overall: 8.3
Star Wars: Empire at War - Forces of Corruption is a great expansion pack to a great real-time strategy game. Having a third faction that can stand up to the other two factions really helps give this game new life in the single player, and let’s not forget the multiplayer.  If you liked the first game and enjoy RTS games in general, you will be playing this game for quite some time during this holiday season.


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