Earth 2160 Review (PC)

Earth 2160 was announced as the game with a powerful game engine. Judging by the few movies I seen from in game footage, my expectations grew high. I wanted a lot. Introduction to my, soon to become, constant disappointments came early at game installation, where the game was presented with some game graphics. They just looked really poor and I started wondering what I got here.

When something blows up, you will want to capture the moment

Mechs at work

Getting into the game, I was offered to play as one of 4 factions: LC, ED, USC and Aliens. They are all unique among themselves. All have different way they build up their bases and of course different units with their own virtues and unenviable flaws. For instance LD are packed with high end armors, while LC are lighter guys with higher technologies available, with a lot of flight and jet units.

My first mission started under LD campaign. Campaign starts with invasion on Mars which is presented with a nice movie. You are brought as a leader a scout reconnaissance force and are the first one to land on the planet before the actual invasion starts. Well you get shot down and you quickly start roaming across the map, looking for the rest of your squad. Right there I felt brought down by simple and poor unit animations. They move around too fast and like sticks. They make 2 steps and move like 4 steps worth. It felt just too shallow which is a real shame as the terrain looks are really done well.

The terrain looks great

This is how your base will look like

So I started running around and gathering whatís left of my squad and then started building up a base. The center of all the faction bases is presented as a main tall building around which, or on which, you build up the rest of it. Each base can and will be entrenched with protective walls with guns pilled on them. As a rule in many RTS titles, by positioning the defensive guns on the right spot, you will have all your defenses taken cared of. Yes poor A.I.. Ill get into A.I. in a bit.

A.I. is as usual pretty badly laid out. That means that your base will be attacked from 1 direction in most cases and with the same number of troops even if the tactic proved disastrous for the last 100 times. So just setup the base in the right way and it will take care the most of the problems. If you attack the enemy base, they wonít try to even defend it with all the available troops in the base. They will just wait until you attack that part of the base (which is usually just half of the screen away) and so you will be destroying it piece by piece, engaging defenders as you approach them. Path finding has its own dosage of problems. I found my troops scattering without any sense at times while trying to move them in further distances. So you will have to baby sit them on the way occasionally.

You should always entrench the base as best as you can

... but watch for that artillery

You will have to gather quite a serious firepower when taking out enemy buildings and defenses. In all other cases it will last for quite some time. Fortunately here, you can skip time. So in order not to wait for 5 minutes for your troops to demolish something, you can just skip to the end of the scene and hope the rest will go fine during that time. Since the enemy wonít really try to repel your attack seriously, you wonít have much to worry about.

Iím afraid that Iím not even satisfied with the sound. It doesnít bring anything to the atmosphere and it just makes the whole Earth 2160 experience too shallow. It just doesnít add up. From the graphics, the terrain was done well enough and the vehicles explosions are one of the better I saw in any game, though they are all the same. It just seems that nothing was perfected in Earth 2160.

Tech tree is robust and it will take some time to get into. A nice addition is unit customization where you can build your own doomsday machine in any functional way.

It looks good, but game needs something more

Volcano can ruin your day

Top game moment: Sending vehicles into fight and watching them blow up. Things blow up in a nice fashion.
This is all you need to know about Earth 2160 really. I wonít recommend it certainly as I just simply didnít like it. If you are a hardcore RTS player, you wonít find much to play with in Earth 2160. I had too high expectations of it and too many disappointments, so Ill wait for Age of Empires III.

by Kres