Wing Commander started it all (for pc's at any rate) and the graphics were to die for. Everyone drooled over being a Luke Skywalker zipping around in 3-D space slicing the vacuum with laser bolts. After (or before for some of us) "Return Of The Jedi", we wanted to be Fleet Commanders. not just fighter jocks. Sure there was the "ELITE" and "X2" franchises, but we only developed trade routes and relations to build up our ships, then our fleets. This was more graphically realized in "PRIVATEER". Star Trek produced "Starfleet Command", but as Flight Sim graphics (and graphics overall), space seemed left in...well, space. I know the old argument of gameplay over graphics, but really, who wants to go back to text-only RPG's, even if they were some of the best ever? C'mon, be honest!
I was Manager of a Electronics Boutique (now EB Games) store in the '90's when screenshots of "HOMEWORLD" appeared. It was the first game I pre-bought, and in my position I had access to info on everything in the works. It was a thing of beauty, but was severe in its' learning curve. I still have fond "snapshots" in my mind of the huge pitched space battles. Relic had gone on a limb and blown it off the tree. But...the game WAS tough. "HOMEWORLD CATACLYSM" I found to be more enjoyable; the difficulty level was just right; the new ideas it brought very welcome. Your 'mothership' was now mobile. Development modules were realized seperate components of the ship. Apart from the Borg-like storyline, the game was actually better than its' parent.
Right, heritage and history over. If you don't own "HOMEWORLD 2" and you're reading these reviews...WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM???
GRAPHICS: Even better than ever. Scorch marks on capital ships. Plasma venting from ruptured fuel cells. Swirling nebulae. Oh, and apparently space is now the colour of burnt-orange.
GAMEPLAY: Still tough. And this can be a very severe sales killer in the long term, and also puts a lot of punters off completing the campaign past mission 4. This needs to be addressed, believe me.
SOUND: Music-suitably ambient. Sound effects? Just wait til you hear a Destroyer moan and groan before tearing itself apart from internal explosions. Choice!
OVERALL: Relic are giants in their own realm. The "Dawn of War" franchise is superb also. SIERRA also publish Massive's "GROUND CONTROL 2", and man I would LOVE to see a combination of the Homeworld and Ground Control universes. That would be titanic. This is a great game, and if you download the "Starlords" mod, you can build Star Wars ships (the besy you will EVER see on a PC screen), but only in skirmish mode. Out!!