The Final Say!
Homeworld 2 - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: November 2003
Review Score: 9.0/10
Distributed by Vivendi Universal
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"Homeworld 2 is finally here..."
The eagerly awaited sequel to the hit game of 1999, Homeworld has finally arrived on the PC and once again sets a new benchmark for real-time strategy space games. Although it has taken almost four years to be released, developers Relic Entertainment have created a beautiful sequel to the original game and unlike the first entitlement, Homeworld 2 has a much darker and harder feel to it.
Homeworld 2 is set shortly after the original game where a race of people known as the Hiigarans discovered an ancient tablet that revealed the true origins of their history. After deciphering this strange alien tablet, the Hiigarans created a huge mothership that was filled with thousands of colonists in order to traverse the stars to return home to their planet of origin. Although the Hiigarans were almost decimated from encounters with other species, they finally returned home to their birth world of Hiigara.
Unfortunately for the Hiigarans, their short-lived victory of peace and discovery has ended and a new menace has emerged from the eastern fringes of the galaxy. This new evil is a remnant of the Hiigarans who have discovered the technology of the ancients. This ancient yet deadly technology now threatens all inhabitants of known universe. In order to thwart this threat, the Hiigarans must now once again board their mothership in order to stop this new clan and put an end to their nefarious evil.
The game begins with a beautiful reintroduction of the story of Homeworld and once again introduces gamers to the Pride of Hiigara, the mothership that first brought them to their birth world. As the mothership slowly leaves the gigantic docks with the fleet, a deadly attack occurs on the Hiigaran fleet by the insidious Vaygrs. Controlling the mass fleet of the Hiigarans, gamers must now use their own wit and guile to uncover these new secrets and use the resources of the Hiigarans to take their people to the next stage of their evolutionary discovery.
The game itself contains 15 different missions and a variety of multiplayer options that ensures this game won't become repetitive anytime soon. Fortunately for those that haven't played or played Homeworld for a long time, the game also offers an extremely intuitive tutorial system that I highly recommend all gamers complete because it does teach you the ins and outs of this awesome RTS (real-time strategy) game.
Although Homeworld 2 continues the epic of the original through its use of amazing space locations and galactic battles between good and evil, it also introduces a variety of new units and features that make this game as good or if not better than the original. For those that have not played the original game, Homeworld 2 is combination of RTS meets the space battles of Return of the Jedi. Gamers must also monitor their resources and the various space crafts that are at their beckon call. The game slowly progresses through its 15 unique missions until the devastating last level.
Graphically, Homeworld 2 is amazing and utilises the 3D card to its advantage with beautiful graphics that features everything you would hope to see in space from gigantic asteroids, a variety of colourful planets, gas cloud giants, amazing nebula anomalies and of course powerful and bright suns. The dynamic lighting effects of the game is truly brilliant that not only looks and feels like eye candy but also interacts with the 3D gaming engine.
The space battles are probably one of the most realistic and detailed to have ever graced the PC and is second best to only Industrial Light and Magic. The ships themselves are extremely well modelled and contain a high amount of texture details and when you first witness a capital ship, you will simply be in awe because of the detail and size of the star ship. The game also contains a variety of special effects that include particle effects (brilliant for explosions) and of course dynamic lighting that was mentioned above. Even though some levels virtually have hundreds of ships on screen at once in epic space battles, the gaming engine doesn't even chug and remains extremely stable.
I just recently received some amazing Creative speakers and I must say that the sound in Homeworld 2 is simply phenomenal. The majestic soundtrack of Homeworld 2 sounds like it has been directly taken out of a Hollywood blockbuster like Matrix or the Star Wars franchise and perfectly suits the genre of this title. The voice acting of the title has also been professionally done and mix that with some amazing sound effects such as lasers, explosions and huge capital ships being destroyed and it's easily one of the best games around for sound.
Homeworld 2 is a worthy successor to the original and I would highly recommend this game to all real-time strategy fans, especially those who love a good science fiction story. With jaw dropping graphics, a brilliant musical score and an enriched storyline, Homeworld 2 is probably one of the most entertaining RTS on the market at the moment that isn't based in a fantasy or World War II environment. Highly Recommended!
- Andrew B
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