Star Wars: Empire at War Gold Pack PC Games and Downloads
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Star Wars: Empire at War Gold Pack Product Details
Released on 21/09/2007
- Star Wars: Empire at War
- Star Wars: Empire at War - Forces of War Expansion Pack
Star Wars Empire at War puts the power to command an entire war for the Star Wars galaxy in the hands of players, giving them the freedom to determine how they play the game within the completely scalable and accessible gameplay. Set a few years before the events of Episode IV A New Hope, LucasArts' new PC game lets players wage war on ground and in space, as well as experience the creation of the Rebel Alliance, the strengthening of the Empire and the beginnings of the Galactic Civil War.
Using an entirely new game engine created by the Las Vegas-based developer Petroglyph, Star Wars Empire at War features beautifully rendered land and space battles set on memorable planets such as Yavin IV, Tatooine and Dagobah, as well as never-before-seen environments taken directly from the Star Wars films and expanded universe novels. In the game, players choose to join either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire, building and setting up tactical forces to unleash upon the enemy in real-time 3D. Memorable Star Wars hero characters can be brought into the action to help turn the tide of the battle as players build, manage and upgrade their space and ground-based units, vehicles, troops and base structures.
All of the gameplay and action within Star Wars Empire at War is persistent, meaning that strategic and tactical elements from previous events will have a permanent effect on the galaxy. In addition to the single-player campaign mode, the game includes a two-player campaign mode and online skirmish modes for up to eight players.
- Wage war on ground and in space - battle it out in space and then send down your remaining forces to invade the planet.
- All action is persistent - every decision affects the next battle and, ultimately, the fate of the galaxy. Play out your own personal version of Episode IV: A New Hope.
- Real-time strategy (RTS) 3D gameplay set in more than 40 ground and space locations including Yavin IV, Tatooine and Dagobah - each has its own specific advantage and/or resource.
- Construct ground and space structures, including space stations, factories and ion cannons
- Deploy ground and space vehicles from giant Star Destroyers and AT-ATs to swift speeder bikes and X-wings.
- Access a variety of ground troops including stormtroopers and Rebel soldiers. Hero characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader can be brought into key battles.
- Unique mission objectives such as rescues, sabotage, blockades and destruction.
- Begins several years before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, including vehicles and locations from both the classic timeframe and Episode III.
- Play as the Rebels as they amass their forces and work to thwart the plans of the Empire, or serve the Empire and crush the Rebellion at its roots.
- Destroy the Death Star or use it as the ultimate power in the universe.
- Innovative multiplayer campaign mode lets two players battle for the galaxy and save games in progress. Up to eight players can compete in online skirmish modes.
- All-new game engine created by Las Vegas-based developer Petroglyph, composed of industry veterans responsible for classic RTS titles, including the Command & Conquer series.
A film-based strategy title with more than Force of licence…
We can't help but be disappointed with Lucasarts' licences as of late. It would be fair to say the firm's flair for hype has been matched in recent years only by the numerous letdowns of their below-par Star Wars titles. Aside from Bioware's prequel RPG Knights of The Old Republic, and despite a few fun-for-five-minute releases with more visual polish than actual gameplay (Rogue Leader, we're looking at you), we still await the defining force-fuelled gaming entry in the Lucas space-based magnum opus.
That long wait, however, may soon be at an end. Like the Chosen One himself, Empire at War is looking every bit a fantastic first for the franchise.
Unlike Star Wars games past, Empire at War belongs not to the usual shooting, racing or adventure styles, but to the Real-Time Strategy genre. And to be honest, it's never been done this well before. With a vast galaxy wide conflict, its timeless tale of good vs. evil and Hollywood's most time-honoured future technology, never has a cinematic setting so suited the ins and outs of a full-scale strategic war sim.
Petroglyph Studios are the developer tasked with doing the Star Wars licence justice, with their team of ex Westwood employees bringing the experience of developing the Command and Conquer series to bear on Empire at War. If this isn't promising enough, details of the care and attention to detail being devoted to the game should have it at the top of every PC-playing Star Wars fan's wanted list.
Free the galaxy as the gallant Rebels or punish up risers with the iron fist of a vengeful Sith-led onslaught.
Set a few years before A New Hope, Empire at War bridges the gap between the two trilogies. It is a time when the Galactic Empire is on a tyrannical rise, seeking to identify and obliterate the pesky Rebel Alliance that have proven themselves a constant irritation. Empire at War allows players to choose their side, freeing the galaxy as the gallant Rebels or punishing the up risers with the iron fist of a vengeful Sith-led onslaught.
Of the game's three modes, the story-driven Campaign will be the first port of call. Featuring a persistent Galaxy Map, players will set their chosen fighting faction on a path to Galactic freedom or domination in a freeform adventure that's not planted on a set path. Instead, the entire Star Wars Galaxy is at your disposal - though certain targets will undoubtedly be far harder to crack than others. This promises an intelligent and flexible learning curve that allows players to take on the challenges they feel prepared to face, and play the game at their own pace.
Whether playing as the Empire or Rebels, there appears to be a distinct ebb and flow to the epic conflicts of Empire at War. Attacking a planet, your fleet must first engage the enemies' defensive ships and win that space battle before landing a force on the planet's surface. In both planet-side and space-based battles, combat is controlled by issuing orders in the manner of a traditional RTS, simplifying an almost overly busy battlefield with the classic genre control scheme.
Often the first objective for an attacking force will be the enemy base shield generator, followed by the total annihilation of remaining rival troops. With this final objective fulfilled, the planet becomes yours and falls under the control of your allied forces, allowing access to growing resources and new, highly developed technologies with which to take the fight to the enemy.
One of the most appealing Star Wars titles in some time - and one of the most complete videogame packages of 2006.
The sheer scope of the Galaxy Map is backed up by authentic Star Wars production values. Visually arresting and aurally rousing, the aesthetic qualities demonstrate the care being applied by Petroglyph, who are cramming everything into Empire at War that seems remotely feasible. For the first time, fans can thrill at the prospect of controlling armies led by their favourite movie icons, watching as Darth Vader, Obi Wan, Boba Fett, Han Solo, Chewie and more Hero characters traverse war-torn terrain. Each has an unusually high health compared to other characters on the battlefield, and specific special abilities that will come in handy during drawn-out conflicts - Vader's promised Force Crush move in particular, is one we wouldn't shake a lightsaber at.
As a fan service, Empire at War is undoubtedly one of the most appealing Star Wars titles in some time - and also looks to be one of the most complete videogame packages of 2006. Its second mode, named Galactic Conquest, will allow two players to take each other on at conquering the entire Star Wars Galaxy, while the online Skirmish option will give up to eight players at once a dedicated competitive multiplayer mode up there with the best in the strategy genre. Add to this the obvious Star wars draws - Speeders, Storm Troopers, Lightsabers, Wookiees, X-Wings, AT&Ts and hulking Star Destroyers - and you've got a Strategy title that's a true credit to the most lucrative film licence on planet earth.
Heck, it's even got the Death Star. If it lets us get our Gungan-hating mitts on Jar Jar Binks, we might not play another game all year.
Like Luke in Episode IV, we can but hope.
Preview by: Mark Scott
Preview Published: 10.01.06
"The Force will be with you, always..."
Obi-Wan's words at the end of the original Star Wars arcade game have certainly proven to be true - and then some. The release of Kinect Star Wars on Xbox 360 - and the accompanying Limited Edition R2-D2 console - proves that we're still enjoying Star Wars video games today.
The motion-based controls of Kinect Star Wars shows just how far the franchise has come since the 8-bit action of The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600 and Intellivision back in 1982.
Which got us thinking - over the past 30 years, Star Wars has appeared not only in a great number of games, but in all kinds of game. From side-scrolling adventures, to first-person shooters to flight simulators, there's almost no genre that has not visited that galaxy far, far away...
The First Person Shooter
Dark Forces (1995) took the first-person tactics of Doom and transported them to the Star Wars Universe, adding then-revolutionary features like multiple floors and "looking up and down". Along with its Jedi Knight sequels, gamers were hooked on the adventures of Kyle Katarn and his discovery of the Dark Trooper Project , and the series is notable as the first "Expanded Universe" adventures to be embraced by more mainstream fans.
First person shooting would return in the Star Wars Battlefront series almost a decade later, with the chance to play as StormTroopers, SnowTroopers, Rebel Soldiers or all kinds of troops and online skirmishing for the first time. We saw the last chapter of this series in 2009 - and are eagerly anticipating its return!
The Classic Arcade Game
While not the first Star Wars game, it was certainly one of the most memorable, and indeed laid the foundation of so much to come. Simulating the Death Star attack from the original movie, but with a bigger goal of avoiding enemies rather than shooting them in order to survive, the action played out with glorious wireframe graphics and - in a notable first for games in general - featured digitised voices and sounds from the original movie. It may seem simple by today's standards, but it set the bar for everything that was to come.
The Combat Flight Simulators
Arguably the first step in the 90s resurgence of Star Wars was the X-Wing series on PC. A WWII dogfight engine was given a 3D-graphic makeover and used to power the X-Wings, Y-Wings, TIE Fighters and more as the series moved through the events of the original trilogy. For many, these games really cemented just how good, and how versatile, Star Wars could be as a video game property.
Rogue Squadron picked up where X-Wing left off. The series favoured arcade-style scoring on individual missions over the larger campaign-style approach, and took a much faster-paced approach to match the new power and possibilities offered by the N64 and GameCube. Rogue Squadron II is fondly remembered for its cinematic graphics, helping to usher Star Wars into the 21st Century
In the 90s, PCs had the X-Wing and Jedi Knight series, but Sega and Nintendo's consoles also had their share of Star Wars action. Games like Star Wars on the NES and Master System, Super Star Wars on the SNES and Shadows of the Empire on the N64 were more literal, adventure-driven adaptations, giving the chance to play as Luke, Han, Leia and the gang in ways that had never really been done before, and wouldn't again until the fun and frolics of the LEGO games. For all the fun that the 'Expanded Universe' offered, it actually made a change to just play out the movies!
The Racing Games
For all of the Phantom Menace's faults, one thing many agreed was that the Pod Races were cool. Star Wars Episode 1: Racer for the N64 attempted to recreate that coolness, with interesting and inventive tracks that took you off Tatooine and into the wider Star Wars galaxy. But what made it particularly cool was the option to use two N64 controllers as the dual controls of your racer and really feel like little Anakin.
Star Wars also went down the kart racing route in Super Bombad Racing. It was aimed primarily for children to play, and while it was not the most well-received game that the franchise has offered, it had some fun gameplay and a fun visual style. If nothing else, proved that Star Wars could be adapted to pretty much any style of game.
The Real Time Strategies
The Star Wars universe seems an obvious canvas for strategy games, but the results have been mixed. Rebellion, Force Commander and Galactic Battlegrounds all gave it a try and had some interesting campaigns, but never really excited the way Star Wars should.
Empire at War intended to end all that. A new engine was built from the ground-up, the need to build and acquire resources was removed, and the battles became much more realistic. The game was set between the end of the prequels and the beginning of the original trilogy, was chock full of well-known planets, vehicles and characters, and featured both Rebel and Imperial campaigns, including a scenario where the Empire actually wins! It was the RTS fans had been waiting for, and, thanks to a vibrant mod community, was also the RTS fans could make their own.
The Beat 'Em Up
In what seemed another obvious step, Masters of Teras Kasi took Star Wars into the beat 'em up arena on the original PlayStation in 1997. It mixed established stars like Luke and Chewie with lesser-known EU characters like Jodo Kast, giving each an individual style like the fighters of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. But unlike those games, Masters of Teras Kasi had an inferior fighting engine, and the combination of obscure characters and the use of Lightsabers as little more than clubs did little to win over either casual or committed fans. Darth Vader and Yoda would go on to appear in SoulCalibur IV, but otherwise Masters of Teras Kasi was the first - and last - foray into the beat 'em up.
Much like Shadows of the Empire a decade before, The Force Unleashed was part of a massive multimedia campaign to create an exciting new chapter in the Star Wars saga. It introduced 'Starkiller', Darth Vader's secret apprentice, but also introduced Star Wars adventuring to the current generation of consoles - and was the first chance to use a Wii controller to wield a Lightsaber! While it didn't quite live up the 'next big thing' hype surrounding it, the plot, visuals and gameplay won over enough fans to warrant a sequel.
Set 4000 years before the events of the movies, Knights of the Old Republic hit PC, Mac and Xbox in 2003. Choosing to play as Jedi or Sith, the pre-movie period setting allowed for a large-scale and versatile universe without having to worry about the established characters and storylines. The intricate plot featured twists and turns with a major shock twist coming at the end of the first game, still talked about as one of the best in gaming history.
Things expanded with the release of MMO The Old Republic. Bioware promised a larger focus on story than usual for MMOs, a sensible step as the allegiances and politics of the Star Wars universe is more defined than the likes of Azeroth. The Jedi/Sith choice remained, with different classes available to both sides, and the opportunity for player vs player combat in the wider Star Wars universe was more than welcomed by players all over the world - nearly 2 million of them!
And the rest
There are plenty of Star Wars games we've not mentioned here - there simply isn't room to write about them all! But we hope this has been a fun trip around the Star Wars Universe, and one that shows just how versatile that universe is.
If we've missed your favourite, or you have any other Star Wars gaming memories you want to share, feel free to add your comments below. And May The Force Be With You.
We've been waiting for an announcement on the brand new Star Wars franchise teased by LucasArts recently, and the cat is finally out of the bag. Star Wars 1313 is the name of the third-person adventure game being cooked up by the studio.
The collaboration between a diverse array of Lucas's companies which include Lucasfilm Animation, Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light & Magic, Star Wars 1313 will result in a mature, 18-rated game. Taking on the role of a bounty hunter, LucasArts is promising "a dark and mature" gaming experience powered by the Unreal Engine.
A statement from the developer outlined the grand vision for this new adventure:
"Named for Level 1313, a ruthless criminal underground deep below the surface of the planet of Coruscant, the game puts players in control of a deadly bounty hunter as he uses an arsenal of exotic weaponry to hunt down his marks and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy," it read.
"Star Wars 1313 emphasizes epic set pieces and fast-paced combat with a hero who uses human skills and gadgets, rather than supernatural Force powers, to make his way through this dangerous world."
According to LucasArts president Paul Meegan, we can expect to find out much more about the game at next week's E3 gaming extravaganza in Los Angeles.
"We're excited to share one of the projects LucasArts has been hard at work developing," he said.
"Star Wars 1313 dives into a part of the Star Wars mythos that we've always known existed, but never had a chance to visit. We are committed to bringing the best gameplay experience and visual fidelity to life and I truly believe the work we are showcasing at E3 will speak for itself."
When Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars universe, following the purchase of George Lucas's LucasFilm, many fans were left wondering what it would mean for the future of videogames set within the epic franchise.
Well, it turns out that Disney has decided to license out the property to EA for multi-platform console development, while keeping social, online and mobile opportunities for itself. Frank Gibeau, EA Labels President, confirmed that Dead Space and Battlefield studios Visceral and DICE respectively would be creating games in the franchise - and so will the creators of the Knights of The Old Republic series, BioWare.
"Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe," began Gibeau.
"The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay. Powering it all will be the Frostbite 3 development engine - guaranteeing incredible graphic fidelity, environments and characters."
Well, if the publisher's looking for any suggestions, both Knights of The Old Republic 3 and Battlefront 3 have been clamoured for by fans in recent years, and would surely put the massive publisher back into gamers' good books, following the troubled release of SimCity.
Star Wars: Empire at War Preview (10/01/2006)
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