Commander, Rogue Squadron
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Ithaca, NY
Woahohoah. This thing is made of pure delicious. I don't get why people are complaining that the demo is too short, obviously the full game will be much longer...
I like how smooth and simple the interface feels--even though there's a lot you can do, especially on the galactic level, you just drag-drop everything and the units go. It feels much cleaner and more intuitive than Star Wars: Rebellion ever did...and more involved at the same time. (Oh...the graphical displays for unit building--the rotating progress bars--were definitely proof that the old Westwood guys are involved on this project!) I particularly like how you can retreat and recover from a lost battle (yeah, I fudged my first assault on Tatooine...damn tornadoes) in the galactic view pretty straightforwardly. I disagree that there should be a "replay mission" option--players should have to lose a little every now and then. That's the best part of grand strategy: you have an entire, integrated campaign involving many elements at once, you can't just rush the opponent. I also really liked the tooltips that give you instant access to all sorts of unit information.
I enjoyed tactical combat, though I had some issues with the camera controls. I couldn't help feeling that you can't zoom out far enough. I'd love to be able to get a good overview of the situation without a Star Destroyer taking up a third of my view (by the way, kudos on having units drawn to approximate scales, instead of AT-ATs and infantry being roughly the same size like in many other RTS games). The cinematic camera thing was really fun, though sometimes I'd be stuck looking at empty space or ground...that bothers me less since I figured out that I can manually cycle to the next camera view. The on-the-fly "documentary-style" camera, zooming in and out and panning dynamically, is very, very cool--the development team must have been watching Battlestar Galactica for inspiration! Only bad thing I can say about the cinematic view is that sometimes it would be pretty jerky...I'm running on a fairly old system, though, maybe that's just my lack of a modern graphics card.
Bringing in reinforcements was a great touch. It reminded me of Force Commander, but done properly--I only got the demo of FC before I decided how godawful it was. This system of reinforcements really makes you feel like the tactical campaigns are part of a larger struggle, since you have only the resources on hand to deal with the ground situation. It's also a great touch of realism, without all the on-the-site army infrastructure construction seen in other RTS games. I'd love to see if, in the full game, you can send fleets to a planet in staggered fashion--so that your forces arrive in orbit in waves, at your call, just like you can bring in land units in separate reinforcement drops. Tactical combat got a little bit micromanage-y, but no more than in any other RTS, and since these battles are much more squad-based than whole-army-based, that makes a good deal of sense. I really, really appreciated being able to trigger various units' special abilities individually, even if they were part of a larger group. That's an innovation missing from many RTS games these days. Finally, I must say that the Tatooine map didn't leave much room to maneuver. My artillery and tanks kept choking up all the passages between rocks. I still managed to make some useful tactical maneuvers, though, so it's not a big issue.
Great job, guys. I'll definitely be getting this when it comes out, I'm very much looking forward to it! Thank you for all your hard work!
[EDIT: Two more things: First, I'd like to see tanks, speeder bikes, and infantry that hasn't been told to take cover do a little more movement when attacking, like the fighters do in the space battles. I fully expect capital ships and things like AT-ATs to stand and slug it out, but people and hovertanks ought to jockey for position, and speeder bikes should be zipping around just as fighters do--like the aircraft in Total Annihilation. Second, I really want to be able to give units lists of orders just by SHIFT+right-clicking, instead of using a special waypoint command. ]
Last edited by wedge2211; 01-22-2006 at 12:02 AM.