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A Star Wars game that you probably have never heard of...Star Wars: Empire at War

3 posts in this topic


I am going to start this review with a little bit about myself, obviously, you are free to skip this part due to it only being pertinent to tell you my slight bias and to give you an idea of who I am. I am Skorgezagreat, I joined the Angry Army in 2017 and I made a couple of reviews, nothing big, I assure you. I quit posting things, due to my mental state and didn't really come back until I fell back in love with Angry Joe and his reviews. That is not pertinent, but that is my intro and whatever out of the way. Over the course of my life I fell in love with Star Wars, as a kid, with Revenge of The Sith, The Empire Strikes Back, and A New Hope. I would reenact the scene where Darth Vader comes out of the smoke on the Tantive IV, me just a rebel soldier, somehow, killing Darth Vader and becoming a hero of the rebellion. In my teen years I fell out of love with it, when Disney took over and I felt as if the series had gone to the dark side. With Rey and Finn the stories just didn't seem to hit as well as they did and to this day, I still have a dislike to them. I fell back in love with Star Wars with a few things; The Mandolorian, Star Wars Battlefront 2 EA (After the updates), Jedi: Fallen Order, and a game you probably haven't heard of...Star Wars: Empire at War...


Skip to here if you want to get past the intro:

I'm going to split this review up into segments to keep things sorted and ordered, the segments are as follows:

What is Empire at War?

What makes the game so good?

What are the flaws of the game?

The Space Battles.

The Ground Battles.

Rating and whether I recommend it or not.

Let's Begin.

What is Star Wars: Empire at War?

Star Wars: Empire at War is an RTS game with moderate 4X game play on the side. It puts you in the shoes of a commander leading the forces of the Empire; trying to crush the Rebels and bring order to the outer rim, or a commander of the Rebels, trying to carve your way into the core worlds and besiege Coruscant. The game features large scale space and ground battles, these are generally fought to take control of planets to expand your territory and gain benefits for controlling each planet. It resembles the best of Galactic Conquest in both original Battlefronts, with Battlefront 1's system of giving benefits for controlling planets and Battlefront 2's system of providing you with a larger galaxy featuring space battles and ground battles. The game allows you to take control of most of the units and heroes of the Galactic Civil war...I mean, hell, even C3P0 and R2D2 are playable. Some background for the game and the development of it: Star Wars: Empire at War was developed by Petroglyph Games, who have worked on the Command and Conquer Remaster and 8-bit armies. The game was Published by LucasArts in 2006, February 16th. It has flown under the radar in most sense as I don't find a lot of people who know about it. The game died with GameSpy and then it was republished in 2017 on Steam with workshop support and is relatively alive today.

What makes the game so good?

Let me say that this game is good! The game seamlessly has space battles and ground battles at the same time and you can control and shape both. The game has a more tactical feel to it, in the sense that if you can support your squads well, you can find a way to take no casualties. When the battles play out and they look relatively good, however, once you zoom in the age of the game starts to show; textures and models tend to be a bit more on the "Empire Earth" side of things, but they do tend to look a little better with faces and such. The game does give you a scale of how large the battles are and it runs well while doing so. The game will mix things up, from time to time you will have the opportunity to destroy civilian homes and even on some planets, destroy the Tusken Raider Camps and the Sandcrawlers like Tatooine, which is a detail I can appreciate. Another example of fresh objectives can be found on Coruscant when you are attacked by the Rebels, your objective is not just to hold position and prevent the rebels from destroying your base, but to defend the emperor and if he dies, it is 100% game over! Little things like these just make a game feel more "smart" or "alive", we aren't just doing errands for Palpatine, but actively crushing civilian uprisings and as Anakin would put it "Bringing peace to my new empire". The game has all the iconic characters of the Star Wars universe, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and mother of Marry they have Thrawn! On top of this, none of the characters feel super weak and they each have their own little gimmick. The game will allow you to have Obi-Wan and Vader duel and they have voice clips from the movies in the midst of it. So while the huge battles are taking place, you'll have a lightsaber battle. I could go on about the content of this game and how big it is, but you get the point. The 4X aspect is relatively simple and the strategy isn't all that complex, for example, you can build turbolaser batteries and unit and credit production buildings, but this isn't Age of Empires 2, what you get is the same as the Rebels on the building aspect, some planets like Nul Hutta and Tatooine will allow you to build Cantines and Smuggler Dens. The strategy on the galactic map is also simple, but I will say that I was relatively surprised on hyperlane control being an aspect of strategy. The units look and feel cool to play around with even when you zoom in, since they talk a little less detail and such. On top of all this, the game has a fair amount of mods, giving you a ton of replay value. Overall I would say that the content is pretty vast and the game play is super smooth.

What flaws does Star Wars: Empire at War have?

Let's start with the most obvious thing from the moment you boot up the game. The game is old, it doesn't look the best, textures and graphics tend to have a dated feel to it, it's obvious why, but if you can't play a game with fairly dated graphics, then your experience might be worsened. There is a large balance issue with this game, which is exaggerated by some mods. The game has inherently broken units that will wipe the floor with you and units that are so useless, you'd think they had water guns in their hands. The game will have units that just can't operate on their own and the obvious stuff like Stormtroopers and Rebel soldiers is excusable, but why take the Corellian Corvette for fighter defense, when most ships already deploy their own contingent of fighters and bombers? Why take Stormtroopers, when an AT AT already deploys some for you? Stuff like this does add some aggravation to the game, because the AI tends to just spam stuff that works on some mods and I'm hoping it's not intentional. There will be times where the AI just steamrolls you and you are screwed, no defense, just screwed. You'll have two squads of Stormtroopers and an AT ST, meanwhile the whole Rebel fleet just showed up. You will face setback after setback. The game can get boring after you figure out the auto resolve battle function is WAY too fair and then it will become a crappy 4X if your not careful.

The Space Battles...

Taking over a planet is two stages, a space battle is the first stage. The battles can get pretty big and they tend to be really fun to just watch, the developers knew this and added a cinematic camera function in space and ground battles. In your conquest of the galaxy you will build fleets and invasion groups and send them out to take over planets, the fleets can include all of the famous ships, from acclamators to the SUPER STAR DESTROYER, the thing is so big it actually sits within the background, however, it moves like a brick and well...it kind of is. Ships will launch fighters from their hangars to defend them from enemy bombers and you can micro them, but some like the tie fighter can just be told to "hunt for enemies". Over the course of the battle different facilities on ships can be destroyed and rendered unusable, like engines, laser turrets and hangars. The main goal of a space battle is normally to destroy your enemy's space station, a symbol of his or hers hold on the planet and then to either force them to retreat or mop up the rest of their fleet. Sometimes a space battle could take place after you've lost a planets station and you can catch the enemy's invasion force in a trap. The space battles are fun, but I'd still call them a little simple, however, you can find some enjoyment out of it.

The Ground Battles...

Let me just start this by saying the ground battles are good, however, they can get a little repetitive, after clocking in 200 hours on this game, it feels like all my ground battles play out the same without mods. Ground battles are your second stage of invasion, here you can call in bombers from your fleet to carpet bomb the enemy, you can capture landing zones to land more of your invasion force and increase your population cap. Sometimes there will be hazards, like a sarlac pit or maybe you'll be fighting on Mustafare and your men could straight up catch fire from the lava. You can dig in and build turrets around your landing zones, or go totally balls to the wall and just deploy all you have and become a death ball. I will admit there isn't much on planets, but there is a lot of planets and the settings are never too similar...it gets a pass from me.

Rating and whether I recommend it or not...

I am going to go two directions with this score, first will be the game taken on its own, without any biases from a Star Wars fan. The game will rate at a 6/10, it is average and its age and flaws show up a lot more than you'd probably like to see...I recommend it, but only get it on sale.

For Star Wars fans, I'm inclined to give it a 7/10 and even an 8/10, it has so much content from the star wars universe, you could easily fall in love with it, given you could find a way through its flaws. I recommend it, but you shouldn't be rushing to get it, but if it is on sale, definitely give it a try! At the time of writing this it's on sale at 6.99, that is a good price and you'll at least get your money in mods if all else fails!


Kaz32 likes this

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Ahhh Empire At War. Used to play this game quite a few times before I moved on to the other PS2 games & Battle For Middle Earth 2, another awesome rts game that year. Best part is when Obi Wan fight Vader


skorgezagreat likes this

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I'm glad to see that people enjoy this game, I wasn't even playing video games when it came out. Right? it's fun just to watch the fight play out!

Kaz32 likes this

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