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Old 10-30-2006, 07:57 PM   #23
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 33
This is probably the single best expansion I've played in any platform. Very, very nice job, Petro. I just hope it brings many more people back into the mix and the community! This game is really good off-the-shelf!

***The graphics performance is definitely better (and it wasn't too bad before) giving the "Battlecam TM" (previously known as cinematic mode) a cooler look. Still wish the camera had better centering performance, as it still sometimes picks a completely esoteric unit not actively in combat to focus on. Still, there were some real treats. On a land battle, my ground forces were kicking the heck out of a structure, so I popped it into "Battlecam TM" (btw, was the TM really necessary in-game? It looks a bit tacky) when the camera pulled out and gave this very nice wide-angle view of the structure going KABOOM. Very nice. In space the Battlecam does great as usual especially when it occasionally would allow a large vessel's undersurface to ominously glide over the top of the screen like in the SW movies. Also, space perspective (especially in regards to making big ships "look" massive) really shined.

***Some "space weirdness" still exists where fleet groups seem to have problems organizing themselves into a formation and moving forward. Small ships still fly around aimlessly in the group until the larger ships move forward. Occasionally I still see the "zipping small vessel" phenomenon seen in EaW where one or two ships (TIE or equivalent) warp around at sub-light speed in wide ellipses while formations settle out. But pathfinding seemed smoother in some ways once all ships were underway.

***The bigger maps are incredible in their depth, especially in Battlecam view. Honoghr has very nice peaks and valleys, for example. But what dropped my jaw the most was the space map over Yavin was littered with debris from the DS explosion, including much of the chassis preserved, but obviously decimated from Rogue Squadron. Watching THAT in cinematic mode was amazing and very immersive. My suggestion would be (especially for the expansive ground maps) that there be many more reinforcement points or higher caps. On Honoghr, I was routinely being routed by a very powerful Empire force relative to the groups I could drop on the surface at any one RP (3 total troops (made up of 2 hero units and 1 other unit)). I had amassed a considerable landing force orbiting from above, but ended up with only 3-6 units on the ground at one time. They would get "diluted" by the sheer scope of the land and made it veritably impossible to gather enough build points and bombing runs to win.

***I love the corruption storyline. When I first heard of the expansion, I thought, "Bummer--they could have picked up any part of the EU or original sextet of films, but instead they're creating canon with which I'm not gonna be familiar." I read with interest as the expansion continued to unfold on sites like this one and IGN. But, now, getting into the campaign mode, wow. Very fun, very canon, and very cool back story. Corruption is definitely a blast and a totally new way to play. I felt very, very impressed by the new niche Petro developed here. And I have to say they should be proud (this is, after all, a very tough group to impress ).

***The new ships are great. I love the buzz droids for reasons I can't articulate (maybe it's their sounds?). However, they seemed lackluster occasionally when ships appeared to travel through their cloud of influence. I wouldn't see them actually doing damage to things like Tartans, for example. They're most effective against small fighters and bombers (as you'd expect). I like the balance overall, and really have to think ahead about which units are going to be effective.

***Love the heroes. Much like the book Darth Bane which recently came out (which, btw, is an EXCELLENT read), this game produces a very engrossing protagonist (Zahn) who is nevertheless a bad guy. I like the bribe function particularly, as this has resulted in some fun stuff on ground battles. Bribe, unlike Force Corrupt, doesn't result in loss of HP and therefore amasses pretty sizeable troop strength over time. And I like how the bribe amount varies depending upon the item you're trying to corrupt. If you go into battle with little financial reserve, you won't be able to say, bribe that AT-ST to your side. Very good feature for balance.

***New icons denoting terrain/weather/etc related issues (such as troops moving through water, etc) are awesome. Still wish we could get an "idle unit" icon somewhere so that I could redeploy them on an attack run. The interface needs to show which units are actively engaged in battle and which aren't.

***Battlecam still has some trouble with angle of view on ground (still starting far too overhead). Would like to see that pin to an angle that allows a forward field of view from a unit's perspective. I know that I can use the Battlecam to view a single, specified unit, and from there to change the angle in any direction I choose, but really the cinematic benefit of being able to rotate from unit-to-unit by pressing the spacebar in usual Battlecam format is what makes it fun. It allows for scene switches that sometimes are unpredictable and offer views I wouldn't have thought to look for.

I think this deserves a 9.3-9.5 rating on IGN. It's not quite a HL-2-equivalent gameplay, but man, as RTS goes, this is next to perfection. Great, great work .
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