Summary: With Forces of Corruption developer Petroglyph is back with an expansion to their highly successful RTS title Star Wars: Empire at War. In today's article JCal goes over what new features we can expect to see in this upcoming game.
It took a long while and Star Wars fans had to endure a lot of poorly done PC strategy games (Rebellion and Force Commander still send shudders down some PC gamerís backs for how poorly they were handled), but developer Petroglyph Studios finally delivered to publisher LucasArts what so many others could not do; a good strategy game in the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: Empire at War brought the original movie trilogy conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire into a well done and great looking RTS title. Now Petroglyph and LucasArts are teaming up yet again for an expansion pack to the PC game set for release later this month with the rather long title of Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, and LucasArts sent over a late beta of the game over to FiringSquad for some hands-on action.
The big twist in Forces of Corruption is the new playable faction thatís been added to the mix, and any fan of the Star Wars universe could maybe figure out what that faction might be. Underneath the epic battle between the Empire and the Rebels is the organized crime aspect of the universe. Unfortunately Jabba the Hutt is not the leader of this new faction (although Jabba does have a role to play in the game; we wonít spoil it here), but rather Tyber Zann who leads the not so modestly named Zann Consortium.
Zann and his new group have a number of new adventures and missions to deal with in Forces of Corruptionís single player campaign, which takes place just after the destruction of the first Death Star in Episode IV: A New Hope. Zann and his forces encounter both the Empire and the Rebels in the game.
If you manage to bring your designated planet to an ďunderstandingĒ it has a kind of spooky fog that surrounds it on the Galactic Conquest map (by the way, the expansion adds a number of new planets to Empire at War and fans of Star Warsí Expanded Universe of novels and comic books might recognize a few of them)
However Petroglyph has decided to make corrupting a planet a bit more complicated than clicking on an icon,. you actually have some choices to make when you make your move.
For instance you can try to make a successful kidnapping on a planet you want to corrupt. If you are successful you get some extra money to use. Another choice is intimidation. If you accomplish this, that planetís special ability is shut off from the other two factions. The idea of corruption and the various choices it gives the player definitely adds to the expansionís deep gameplay.
Both the Rebel and Imperial forces arenít ignored in Forces of Corruption; they get new units to play with as well. Fans of the Empire will be happy to learn that they get access to the massive Super Star Destroyer ship. Fans of the classic first Star Wars first person shooter Dark Forces will also be glad to know that Dark Troopers reappear in Forces of Corruption as well.
On the Rebel scumÖ.er, side of things players will finally gain access to Luke Skywalker and Yoda as new hero units in the game. The Zann Corporation has its own units (both land and space) as well and thereís no tech tree to worry about when you use them; however you have to have the money to pay for the nice shiny capital ships and other expensive units if you want them. Zann himself is a hero unit in the game; one of his special abilities is to bribe other units to join him at his side.
People who like lots of space battles will be happy to know that Zannís space units can sit inside an asteroid belt without taking damage. Neat. Since we are dealing with criminals they tend to be on the sneaky side. Some ships can cloak themselves and you can take out certain enemy ships with buzz droids, those pesky mini-droids that were seen trying to dismantle Obi-Wan and Anakinís starfighters at the beginning of the movie Revenge of the Sith. Needless to say there are quite a few new units in Forces of Corruption for players to check out for themselves.
Visually, the game doesnít look much different than its parent game. You still get some solid graphics for the land missions. We still wish the space battles were in true 3D rather than just 3D units on a 2D plane but you can still click on a button on the gameís UI to show a non-interactive movie style cut scene that shows your space based units going after each other in true Star Wars style combat.
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