Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Planetary Annihilation Review

On 30 September 1997 a game called Total Annihilation was released. This was one of the first real-time strategy games to feature 3-D terrain and units. It wasn’t just known for its great graphics, but amazing game play. There was no unit cap and it was possible to build enough units to crash your computer. I had hours of fun battling the computer and my brother.

In the mid 2000s there were a series of spiritual successors called Supreme Commander. This game worked in a very similar way to its ancestor, but was on a massive scale with ridiculously large maps, battles could go for hours and there was still no unit cap.

Planetary Annihilation has the same familiar formula as its predecessors. With a single commander unit that will remain the most important and also powerful unit in the game. This unit is able to metal extractors, power stations and the first tier of production buildings. If you lose your commander you automatically lose the game.

In Planetary Annihilation they have gone back to basics while also adding something great – planets. The idea of maps with arbitrary borders has been thrown out the window with the action happening on spherical bodies orbiting stars and each other. It is possible to conquer other planets and spread out through custom built solar systems.

It is even possible to build rocket motors on the surface of small planets and to use them to slam into an enemy planet. When planet smashing it is smart to think a bit before you push the red annihilate button, or you could do what I did and leave your commander on the asteroid as it hits the planet instantly losing the game.

This game is still in early beta, but you can get early access through steam. At the moment it still plays more like an alpha. There are large gaps in the UI for example there is no mini map and the camera controls are a bit shaky and rely on keyboard commands. That being said I have had enormous fun playing this game. It is a bit difficult to get into with a very inadequate tutorial, but seriously give this game a chance you won’t regret it.

I had absolutely no difficulty finding a game online. It was a matter of 30 seconds to set up a game that my brother could join. I feel this game is already a classic and probably the greatest, and most expensive, kickstarter game.

I give this game a beta score on 4.9 out of 5. Remember this is still a beta, so the developers could still completely screw it up, but I am very confident that they won’t.

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