Game Review - by StormDaemon
The universe of 3D mech combat games has just spawned another great game in its lineup, Starsiege. Combining powerful elements of previous mech games with a superb graphics engine and a great storyline, Dynamix has brought the previous Earthsiege world of games up to a new and incredibly improved level, which can compete with successful mech games of the past.
The game has a great and detailed storyline filled with all the possible conflicts a gamer could want. The story begins with Martian rebels who are going against the Terran Empire led by Emperor Petresun. The Emperor attacks the rebels, but at the same time, an evil artificially intelligent computer by the name of Prometheus, and his Cybrid armies, attack both factions in an attempt to crush the humans forever. You must choose either the Emperor's side or the rebel's side in an attempt to fight off both the other faction and the Cybrids.
The amount of things to do and the ways to do them in this game are many. Whether it be customizing a Herc (Starsiege's name for a mech [a large walking tank]), or sending in your squadmates to destroy an enemy installation, there are several different ways to do things. The customizing of the Hercs has to be one of the best parts of the game because there are an incredible amount of ways to make a Herc into an all out killing machine, whether it be using the good old fashioned heavy laser, metal eating nanites, or alien technologies. The huge variety allows for maximum strategy in both single and multi-player, especially in the multi-player. Playing a multi-player game is an awesome way of seeing how much can be done, including all of the ways to play a match. Different type of games can be played, from deathmatch to teamplay, and several options can be used. One of the better options is that of a technology limit in the match. That means that you can design your Herc with parts that are only within the allowed tech limits, which can be challenging if you're used to getting the biggest and baddest gun.
One of the more impressive features of the game is the plot and the detail of the universe. Not too many games can be hailed for their complex stories and worlds, but the folks at Dynamix took pride in creating a universe that will be intriguing for even the most die-hard sci-fi fan. For example, they include a 150 page compendium filled with pictures, stories, and descriptions about the universe. Such detail is quite refreshing.
In order to fight in colossal walking tanks both skills and a good interface is needed. Most mech games lack an effective system of control that allows for really good gameplay, but Starsiege allows for complete and easy control of each Herc. Though the control is easy, the game surely is not. The enemies vary in their intelligence and skill and provide for difficult missions that test a person's combat skills. Going into a battle head on usually ends up with you being dead, so therefore strategy is greatly needed in this game. Not only do you have to balance your weaponry, but you also have to know when to attack and how. With 45 different missions and 7 different planets, the single player game is surely going to keep you busy.
The multi-player aspect of the game is fun and tough. Before you join a game, you can choose which Herc you want and what layout of the Herc you want, but as long as it within the limits set by the server. Once those are chosen, the combat begins and you are thrusted into a huge area to fight in. The designers intelligently included repair pads and ammo refill pads which are very very usefull in strategic combat. If a simple shoot and kill game is what your looking for, you can do that too, but a little strategy never hurts.
The maps themselves are huge landscapes that go on for miles. Buildings and other objects are included, but not heavily, which is good for those people with slower computers. Another awesome part of the game is the lead indicator, it tells you were to fire and compensates for movement, so it is possible to actually hit and damage an enemy
The graphics were an incredible step up from the previous Earthsiege titles and were flawless. OpenGL was very impressive, especially when watching all of the little details like footsteps, shadows, and glare. The Hercs were all very detailed and greatly texture mapped, with customizable skins for multi-player combat. All of them had moving parts that looked realistic, and everything moved flawlessly. The level of detail in the graphics was also something to be looked at because there such a large amount of it. For example, all of the weapons on the Herc actually look like the weapons that are on the current configuration, so if you have an EMP gun, the Herc will have an EMP gun on its shoulder or wherever, but if you changed to a missile launcher, a missile launcher will appear in its place. More details included are the weapon effects, which are really cool, especially when you use an ELF gun. That gun whips out an electrically charged wire, which can hurt an enemy real bad and can look real good.
As for the rest of the graphic details, the movies were nice and all of the menu screens were really well done. In general, the graphics were top notch and really added a great amount of fun to the game.
The sound effects were pretty cool to say the least. The most noticeable, and the best, was the music during the game which was a sort of techno rock mix which truly blended into the game and made the battles much more exciting. The audible talking done by other people and the on board computer sounded excellent, as did the taunts in multi-player. There were several taunts, all of which sounded cool and expressed various feelings, which can't be repeated here. All of the rest of sounds were nice, but other than the taunts and the music, not too much of it was shining.
Starsiege is a fun game that looks and plays great. This is for anyone who even remotely likes mech games and even for those who have never ventured into 3D combat. This title does not disappoint in any way, and only can surprise with the level of detail in the graphics, gameplay, and even the universe itself. Both single and multi-player are a lot of fun and are sure to entertain anyone for hours on end with the unlimited number of playing styles and strategies. The bottom line is that this is a good game.