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Planetary Annihilation Officially Released – First Impressions

By on September 13th, 2014 3:21 am

Planetary Annihilation | Massive Explosions

Last week, on September 5th 2014, Planetary Annihilation was officially released, after being in Early Access for about a year, and two years after Uber Entertainment’s successful Kickstarter. Planetary Annihilation is the spiritual successor to Total Annihilation and many of the developers that worked on TA are part of the team for this new sci-fi real-time strategy game.

The basic concept is a traditional RTS but instead of going more tactical and small-scale unit combat, PA focuses on mass production and commanding large armies on several planets. You can check out our preview if you want to know more details about the game’s basics.

Game Basics

The basic concept is the streaming economy. Unlike most traditional RTS where the full cost of an item is charged upon queuing (or at the start of production), the player’s factories will draw a certain number of metal per second producing the item over a fixed period of time for the item’s total cost. This process can be sped up with Fabricators (or Fabs, which are basically constructors/worker units) which also adds to the cost per second.

The second part of the game’s economy is energy, each Fab or factory consumes energy, as does several unit abilities (like bombers consume energy to produce the bombs they drop). It should be noted the player can set factories to repeat build and set up a build order of several units, effectively creating a constant stream of units to be used for war. In a typical game the player will have several if not dozens of such production facilities (or have a tonne of Fabs speeding up the few they do have), being able to manage the streaming economy is key to winning the game.

Planetary Annihilation | Massive Armies

Combat is less micro-intensive than some of the more recent RTS titles. Units do not have special abilities usually, and can be set up on patrols or path loops. Generally speaking the player will choose what he will be building and decide where to send them, so having the right unit mix, knowing where to strike and knowing when to pull out is critical. Falling behind can be very deadly in this game. In addition, to win a match one only needs to kill the opponent’s commander. This means an assassination style strategy could work, while leaving your commander out in the open can sign an early defeat.

The last key part is that the game is played across several planets and moons; these can include gas giants that act like massive resource boosts or even the dreaded metal planet that when fully seized can be used as a planet killer. Additionally, any planet that is small enough can be turned into a weapon itself, since nothing tells your enemy you hate them then tossing a moon onto their main planet. The player can also set up 1-planet maps if they prefer.

The game has no distinct factions, except for specific commanders which are more cosmetic than anything. The Galactic War does limit the player’s build options, which creates distinction between factions but these are more from having building options locked than actual differences in units. In multiplayer and skirmish everyone is the same, the diversity comes from having a huge selection of units and structures you can build meaning you will usually focus on different units in each game.

What has been Added and Changed

The side-cam view has been implemented. This is a boxed screen which the player can operate the camera on, in effect it acts like a minimap but it’s actually a second screen and may tax many GPUs. The advantage is that the player can operate this view to any perspective they wish. In addition, the game got graphical upgrades, mostly in post-processing effects and texture maps. The most noteworthy is the addition of particle effects and lighting. The UI was significantly cleaned up and easier to navigate, and many units were added, significantly raising the diversity of units. Overall, the game is very polished.

Planetary Annihilation | A view from orbit

The largest addition is Galactic War, a single-player meta-game that pits different commanders on a galaxy map of sorts. You select your point of attack, fight on the skirmish map, rinse and repeat. Each system explored gives the player an upgrade, and the player can only equip a limited number of them. These offer bonuses, extras like an AI controlled sub-commander, or unlocks build options. Unlike the skirmish and multiplayer games the player does not have access to all their units and buildings, and these upgrades are needed to unlock these options. The objective is simple, eliminate your opponents completely.

First Impressions

Overall, Planetary Annihilation succeeds at what it intends and is quite fun actually. Massive macro (focused more on base building and mass production of armies) intensive RTS are less common lately. The game is fairly stable and I have only experienced one hard crash in the time I played. The biggest technical issue is that there’s no limits on units, especially on large maps your PC will grind to a halt and even on smaller maps a long game will tax even the most top-of-line PC.

However, this said I personally do prefer the trend RTT (real-time tactical) titles have taken lately. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good massive-scale mass-economy RTS, but overall it makes the gameplay and tactics feel distant; but this is merely personal taste. In the end it depends what you are looking for in an RTS. If you like producing massive armies and seeing massive scale combat, than Planetary Annihilation is for you, but if you are more interested in plotting ambushes and micromanaging your units into clever assaults, then you may be a little disappointed. Though effective micro play can still pay-off a lot in PA and an expert player will know how to do so effectively, it is just not the main focus of the title.

The AI is competent and can easily destroy an unprepared player. The AIs also seem to be given a random personality, causing the AI to fixate on a given strategy making it feel human-like. However, this does act against the AI as well as it will sometimes fixate on a completely defeatist strategy, and though less experienced players tend to make mistakes like these, a more experienced player knows how to switch up its strategy. I have seen the AI obsesses on building units that the map does not support properly, or even completely ignore the space layer as one can take over all the other planets easily (even on maps one should not ignore the space layer on). This does not happen often, but it will happen a few times. Considering on some maps, some strategies are paramount and the AI can painfully shoot itself in the foot.

Planetary Annihilation | A real-time Sci-fi Strategy Game by Uber Entertainment

The game also feels that it was made for multiplayer; the skirmish mode is nice but obviously easy to add (since it is just a multiplayer game with no other human player). Galactic War does feel tacked on. It is just a set of pre-generated random skirmish maps and a tech/upgrade system to give a sense of reward and to diversify the factions. Also, though I do understand the design choice to have a large selection of units but no difference between ‘factions’, it leaves me a little disappointed. Many of the pleasures of a strategy game are trying different factions, as they tend to play very differently and operate very differently at their core. Most of my favorite RTS always had distinct and very unique factions; in this regard PA is a bit of a letdown.

Overall, the game is enjoyable but will cater more to a certain type of RTS player: those that care more about macro-play but are not interested in micro or unit level tactics, and those that care about multiplayer more. This doesn’t mean a single-player minded player can’t have fun since the Skirmish AI is usually competent and can surprise you, however with no campaign and Galactic War feeling a little tacked on does leave the game lacking in this field.

Planetary Annihilation is currently available at their official store and on Steam and the Humble Store for $29.99 and the Digital Deluxe Commander Bundle for $49.99 (Steam and the Uber Store only). The game is available for Windows (both 32 and 64-bit supported), and is also available for Mac and Linux (64-bit only for both). Warning: the 32-bit support for Windows is unstable, people using a 32-bit OS will experience problems running the game. It is highly recommended to use 64-bit only.

Stay tuned as we will have a complete review of the game in the coming weeks.

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39 Comments


  1. Jingles says:

    Thanks for the review I bought this on sale for £10 over Christmas and have been waiting for it to be “complete”. It sounds like I need to wait a little longer, does the lack of a fully implemented campaign (Galactic War) surprise you considering its now out of early access? because it does me.

    As an outsider it seems like the game could be so much more, but the developers have become impatient to finish and move on to something new.

    Just imagine this game “welded” on to a 4x, even an average one like Stardrive or Sins of a solar empire and you would have something truly special.

    • I wasn’t as Galactic War was a stretch goal and I fully expected it to be filler. From what they described it felt they were aiming for something similar to DoW: Dark Crusade campaign or at the very least the Global mode from UAW:EA. In that regard they sort of did.

      However, they did do the very bare minimum to implement something like that. Even C&C3:KW global mode has more depth. That is why I said it feels like it was tacked on. The skirmish mode can be interesting but that is basically what the single-player experience is, Galactic War is just salad dressing.

      Honestly, I did not expect more than a meta-map of Skirmish battles. Expecting an actual ‘strategic layer’ would be too much to ask, and never was the focus of the game since it was always meant to be a pure RTS. That said, as mentioned so many other games (C&C3:KW, UAW:EA, and DoW:DC) did those meta-map ‘campaigns’ much better.

      As I said in my preview awhile back, the game’s main focus was Multiplayer. Heck for the better part of Early Access you had set up a MP game to do an AI skirmish, and in the earlier days you had to do so fast before people got queued into your game. To their credit they did work on the AI but I think that is about all they did from a SP perspective.

      Personally, I wish more RTS would offer solid single player campaign (be it either a story or meta-map one that is good). I know the allure that MP and eSport plays on many developers but I think and judge games based on their own feet (which in my opinion should include a good SP component). Doesn’t mean a MP focused game can’t be good, but I am definitely going to be far more critical of it.

      Unless they are an MMO, then you can get to be fully MP… but I am probably not going to want to play it either. I am never been a fan of pure or heavy focus MP games. MP should be a bonus in my book.

      • Marc Davies says:

        I agree Galactic war could be better but like you said it was a stretch goal, this is also a passion project for the Devs so they wont give up on but at the same time they are trying to run a successful indie game dev company so money has to be made somewhere.

        I dont think they have finished working on Galactic war and with the emphasis on being able to just about Mod anything in the game i think some smart player will be able to make a mod that makes it great.

        Dont dispair this is only the beginning.

  2. BlueTemplar says:

    I hope that for the full review of PA (as compared to first impressions), you are going to spend less time on the basics, and more of what makes Planetary Annihilation different from other Total Annihilation – like games, especially Supreme Commander : Forged Alliance Forever and Zero-K (since those seem to be the current leaders).

    It’s like if Civilization 6 was released : you would compare it first to other Civilization titles, then maybe to games like Endless Legend, and only after that (and maybe even not) to games like Master of Orion, wouldn’t you?

    • Don’t worry, I will try to answer your question. I just wanted to explain why I took the route I did first. :)

      Well this is a preview, though it contains a smaller element of a review in it, it also serves to bring players up to speed about the game itself. One can’t assume everyone played TA or SupCom, and because they didn’t it doesn’t mean they can’t be interested in this title.

      For people that know the mechanics all to well can just skip the section Game Basic. This is just to make sure everyone is on the same page. Establishing which sub sub-genre something is important in a preview to establish the game is closer to SupCom and TA and completely different from CoH/DoW and even SC. Just like how I needed to establish The Last Federation is not 4X game in the sense many would think a 4X would be. Also, establishing any bias I may have before hand so the reader knows what they should take more with a grain of salt.

      Just comparing it to those games and never establishing what is different or unique about it will leave many players who never played them confused at what is being talked about. Considering many modern PCs can’t run those games anymore, expect those numbers to be quite high sadly. A shame it is becoming harder to play some of the cool classics of the past.

      As for my previous comment, I was speaking only about Galactic War as a game feature and why I thought it was tacked on. It is normal I will use examples of games that had their own version of Galactic War. Also I am more liberal with comments, in the actual articles I prefer using exact examples within the game, and using concepts and gameplay only.

      *** If you want something more about the game in relation to its own peers: :)

      Overall I do think the game is closer to TA and SupCom than SupCom 2 was when it comes to scale. I know SupCom 2 was a huge let down to many, even I was not too pleased with it but not for the same reasons, but remember some people preferred it; a style of gameplay is not objectively better. That said, the maps of a given planet is pretty small when compared to the maps of TA and as such any specific conflict will be much smaller scale.

      I also find the unit progression much less interesting since you only have two tiers and no real upgrades to any units. Frankly, PA has no tech escalation per say. No hierarchy except for t1 factory builds t1 fab which builds t2 factory. No upgrades to units and no t3/ultimate/master units.

      On a given map or even a small system (1 planet with 1-2 moons), I would say the scale of SupCom and TA are better and overall both games were deeper when it came unit choices. PA uniqueness and quality comes from that when you factor all the layers you have a huge selection of units and that you have the space layer which adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay.

      Lastly, PA can be played on huge maps of multiple planets which cam make for some possible massive scale conflicts. Except, there are to many rush strategies (claim the metal planet if one is present, claim the game giants if one is present) and the games optimisation will take a nose dive and for an RTS a lack of performance can be detrimental. So these super huge playgrounds are a bit of a novelty because you will rush to the i-win-buttons or your rig grinds to a halt.

      PA is still a good game, but I think it will appeal more to those that liked both SupCom (but might still disappoint some of those people too) or people that never played any of them but are intrigued by this style of game. Dedicated TA and SupCom players will probably be let down in some regards, depending on what you liked in those games you still might get a lot of enjoyment out of PA.

      It is also clear PA has a very high MP focus to it too, so that will also greatly effect someone’s enjoyment of the game.

      I didn’t aim to have TA and SupCom fans feeling left out from my preview. Since I tend to avoid direct comparisons in my actual articles I didn’t want to give the impression I won’t be answering your question in my review either. As I said, I get more liberal with comparisons in my comments.

      If you have any other question feel free to ask :). A warning though: I can’t run those games on my current rig anymore (combined with I do not own them anymore either), I am running on very old memory fumes. Any reader who has played those games recently and PA are free chime in and give a more accurate comparison.

      • BlueTemplar says:

        Good points.

        Why can’t you run TA and SupCom? (SupCom2 did not exist. Nope nope nope. It’s just SC2.)
        TA is on Gog.com, SupCom is on Steam, they should run on current PC’s.
        (I’d be surprised if the original disk version of SupCom didn’t ran on current PC’s).

        Specifically, what do you think of PA compared to the two other current contenders (I don’t know of any others) ?

        Forged Alliance Forever :
        http://www.faforever.com

        Zero-K :
        http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=247032802
        http://zero-k.info

        • I haven’t tried those, my plate is sadly rather full at the moment. I was this close on passing up on PA too how swamped I have been (not just gaming, but RL too). It probably sneaked in because of the Kickstarter and two years ago I was fishing for games and didn’t expect I would get overrun.

          Like Adam said, we are always looking for more good people to help out. Just with 4X only we are getting a lot of releases. Having more people so we can cover more RTS and even other heavy space themed games would be great.

          SupCom doesn’t want to run on my PC, I got the same problem with Soviet Assault. It spins up and then black screens if not outright auto-stop “crash”. Can’t figure how to get it to work. I stumbled into problems like those often enough that I have been reluctant to risk older titles.

          If TA is compatible, I will definitely check it out on GOG. Owning the classics are always nice, it saddens me I lost a lot of my old disc based games. Lost a lot of good titles when that happened. Even sadder that I am starting to get the tech gap curse kicking in too (heck Soviet Assault is not even that old, WTH with it not working).

        • BlueTemplar says:

          Hmm, depending on what the issue is, running Windows XP on a second hard drive might solve the problem?

  3. edward says:

    The guys who make the game are a little bit touchy on the steam forums banning anyone who criticize there game.

    • Smoking Robot says:

      Really? That makes me loose what little interest I had in this.

    • Jingles says:

      Having just browsed the PA steam forum I can say that the level of negative comments exceeds that which I would deem normal even for a steam community.

    • I did find the game fun but it does have its flaws, and though fun is a critical aspect of a good game by itself it is not enough to make one good.

      Not spoil the review, but the game does have some flaws as I mentioned in my preview. No faction distinction (everyone uses the exact same units), slapped on single-player (Skirmish mode is the only one that holds water, Galactic War is tacked on), AI can derp bad in many situation, stability issues that go up in MP games (for a MP focused game, that is pretty bad), and offline mode is still not in the game (so even SP has to be played online).

      It is fun and decently solid, but at the end of the day I am likely to go back to another RTS as my default and only play PA sometimes for some of its novel features.

  4. Jeff P says:

    I was a huge Total Annihilation fan back in the day, and your comments (as well as the description on the Steam website) certainly make Planetary Annihilation seem to be much closer to TA (and Supreme Commander) than any other RTS. Unfortunately, I no longer find “twitch” gaming to be particularly inviting, as I now enjoy the challenge of a tactical enigma, while these games hinge on the ability to spew forth more units than the enemy rather than rely on any elegant tactical or strategic solution.

    One question: I saw the Kickstarter video when PA was first proposed, and to my (admittedly aging) recollection the graphics seemed much more detailed and vivid than in the released game. Is this true, or is my mind playing tricks on me again?

    • BlueTemplar says:

      Probably because the graphics in the Kickstarter video were pre-rendered?

    • I am curious, do you prefer RTT more as well? Games like the Dawn of War 2 (though DoW did start a bit) or Company of Heroes 1 and 2.

      I used to play RTS like these back in the day, but I found myself getting drawn to RTTs more. There is something satisfying in getting a machine gun team set up as you move your infantry behind cover, while trying to outflank the enemies tanks with you own as you lay down a properly timed artillery barrage. It is hectic, fast pace, some might even say it is very twitch based too; but I find the quick reaction to dealing with actual tactical problems rewarding compared to just ‘spam and smash’ approach.

      You don’t see CoH and DoW players comparing their APMs, it is one of the reason why I got disenchanted with even the StarCraft series.

      • Jeff P says:

        I do like real-time tactical much more than an RTS. Part of my preference is game immersion: in real-real life, you fight with the troops and weapons you brought, which represents RTT exactly. For this same reason I play certain FPS, specifically those which allow me to use cover and concealment, have limited ammo, and reward situational awareness and a careful aim.

        IMO, real-time strategy games strain immersion by allowing, and rewarding, production at warp speed then immediately rolling into combat straight from the factory. That can be fun every once in a while, but not my cup of tea generally. To each his own…

    • As for the Graphics, as BlueTemplar says, they were pre-rendered.

      The in-game graphics are not that bad, but if you want to play on any huge map or long session you will probably need to tone down the settings. At the higher settings the graphics come closer but performance will suffer once you have too many units.

      I will try to have some closer up views for my review, however these images are more likely what you would see in your average game (since you will probably be zoomed out often and might even be playing at lower settings too for the larger maps).

      • BlueTemplar says:

        Seems to me a processor limitation more than a graphic limitation : the more units you have, the farthest away zoom you will tend to use, and the farthest you are, the less graphic power is needed per unit up until the point they are shown as 2d pictures/icons.

  5. Mark says:

    “while these games hinge on the ability to spew forth more units than the enemy rather than rely on any elegant tactical or strategic solution.”

    Yep that pretty much sums up why I don’t like these sorts of games, that and the standard RTS problem of ten things happening at once and no time to think, let alone plan strategy. Pass.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      This problem is actually worse in turn-based games : it’s much harder to beat an opponent that has a much bigger economy using smart tactics, since the attention is not limited by real time and he’ll be able to micromanage every part of his huge empire as efficiently as you will your smaller one.

  6. Ben says:

    Just as counterpoint to all of the Steam negativity and “losing interest”: I am a 43 year old gamer who still likes creating thousands of tanks as fast as possible and making the other guy’s thousands of tanks explode as fast as possible, and for people like me, PA is by far the most fun thing I’ve played this year. If you still like “twitch gaming”, and old-school RTS, and lots of goofy explosions, and don’t mind there not being a true single-player story-based campaign, please disregard all the negativity and buy it immediately.

    That’s my opinion.

    • Perfectly fine one to have :)

      You are absolutely right.

      At the end the of the day I will ultimately have a list of criteria that I will use to label what makes a good game or not, some of those things will be hard to argue but many will be based on opinion. The best I can do is have a good logic behind those opinions but at the end they don’t apply to everyone.

      So if I say, “A, B, and C are the game’s flaws.” And the reader feels A, B, and C aren’t really flaws than they will probably like the game way more than I would and even consider it exactly what they want. For all intensive purpose my opinion of the game is wrong for them.

      That is why at Space Sector we try to have long and detailed review, we try to be as objective as possible but at the end of the day you can’t be purely objective. Knowing what made us like and not like a game, and give it the final score we gave it allows the reader to know just how much they would agree with us. So that at the end of it, the reader can form their own opinion because we explained our reasons and give details, they can choose how relevant each is and make their own opinion about it. This can give a completely different view about the same game.

      Your example is good in illustrating how easy it is to have a differing opinion, because I am as old as you and still prefer the more modern RTT style RTS. While I am certain there are younglings who would play PA and go “WOW! This is cool!” and never really liked the newer RTT-style RTS.

  7. ChrisB says:

    I must be the odd person that really enjoyed the single player “campaign”. It is pretty bare and not very fleshed out as it is essentially a bunch of strung together skirmishes. But limiting your available technology and units has the effect of forcing you to learn new strategies and “macguivering” a solution out of each match. It was fun to me. Especially being slowly introduced to planet smashing and the giant death laser thing, which should be noted as being exceptionally cool.

    For $30 I felt it was quite polished and worth my money, note that I am not an experienced RTS fan…

    • Ben says:

      Yeah, I actually like Galactic War too. Except when you go, “huh, I guess I need an orbital radar!” and then realize you’re not able to build it. OOPS.

  8. Karry says:

    From reading all the opinions on the net, apparently this game is strictly for people who bought in early, got in the beta, and know everything. I.e. fanboys. But they already own it. New players need not apply, as the game is quite bland (no factions), cumbersome (the need to overwatch several spherical battlefields), and horribly unpolished (F5, youtube tutorials, no saving, constant crashes).

    Although i must admit, i never got into TA craze, that one was not appealing to me in the least, it was like the worst RTS ever made – you built 20056 tanks and 150 energy plants, but your enemy built 20058 and 151, you lose. Bleh. No sir, i’d rather play my Dark Omen instead.

    • Ben says:

      Why is it not enough to say “hey, not my kind of game”? Particularly when you’re calling one of the most celebrated titles in the history of the genre “like the worst RTS ever made”? Just say it ain’t your thing and be done with it.

      Also:

      1. Some of us LOVE the “cumbersome” nature of multi-planet battles. Except we think it’s “awesome”.

      2. Some of us LOVE the game even though we bought it on release, a week and a half ago, and had never touched it before then.

      3. Some of us LOVE making 20056 tanks.

      4. “Horribly unpolished” is some plain-old ridiculous hyperbole. No, there’s not an in-game tutorial. I’ve had to press F5 twice, yes. Big deal. And as for saving, well… Saving a game of PA is like saving a game of StarCraft. As in: What?

    • BlueTemplar says:

      No factions doesn’t make the game bland as long there is a sufficient variety of units.

      Cumbersome and unpolished is a huge problem for a game in a genre where traditionally these are the strengths compared to other RTS games.
      It was the case when I tried PA 9 months ago (at least compared to SupCom1 and Zero-K). Edward Varfalvy says that now it’s very polished. Who’s right?

      F5?

      The “you built 20056 tanks and 150 energy plants, but your enemy built 20058 and 151, you lose” seems ridiculous to me. Even in the dumbed down StarCraft2 custom games where you can’t control your units, knowing when to spawn them makes a big difference.

      Saving is a basic feature in RTS games. And I used it in StarCraft a lot, I don’t see how anyone could consider that unimportant, unless maybe if you’re only playing short games with strangers on the Internet.

      • Ben says:

        1. I think the truth is closer to Varfalvy than Karry.

        2. F5 means: The game’s UI was built with the Chromium web browser, and every once in a while, the UI will glitch out and the only way to recover is to hit F5 (or “refresh” in browser terms) to reset all the UI elements.

        3. PA is a game of skirmishes (even in the single player “campaign”), so in essence, you’re always playing short games with strangers on the Internet, except sometimes that stranger is your own computer. There are no story-based scenarios, no “missions”, so saving is not nearly as important in PA as it would be for, say, SC2 campaign missions.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          What about epic games against several AI’s? Or with large teams? (40 players games were promised, right?) (Imagine a 4X game you couldn’t save.)
          I’ve already seen people complaining about not being able to save a game because they had to go do something else but didn’t want to abandon their hour-long game.
          You still can’t pause/slow down/speed up the game?

  9. stormcloud says:

    Well, Tom Chick from QT3 simply demolishes PA and sheds some light on the negativity that is covering this game. I can certainly see some the points he’s making.

    This (first impression) review is somewhat tame and I’m just wondering, whether it’s pandering towards political convenience than out of any real interest to present best possible information for consumer/players to make an informed decision on.

    A bit of background, my brother backed this game and I had a look at it. The beta was too buggy that it sapped my patience that I just had the game deleted off my HDD without regrets. The online connectivity DRM was a major put off. The necessity to create accounts meant that they’re laying the groundworks to monetize the game in some for or another in the future without waiting to see if their game concepts and implementation is actually successful. That’s an early warning telltale signs of what to expect.

    Now, the thing that put me off the most was the how things insidiously developed from an innocuous start to a monetized model. This is a major red flag and puts into question the integrity of the developers involved. Other folks might have different ideas, but to me, integrity is an overarching yardstick for myself to decide whether an investment is worth it or not. This virtually shreds their public reputation (Derek Smart anyone?) as devs for any future projects, you almost have to wonder if it was worth it.

    With the shenanigans and drama surrounding PA atm, I can honestly say, virtually eclipses whatsover interest we had for this game, regardless of its state. There are many other indie devs more deserving out there.

    • Ben says:

      Tom Chick is a notorious click-baiting contrarian and a jackass. There are at least 20 metacritic listings where his is the ONLY negative review.

      But whatever, if you love old-school RTS and don’t get PA, you’re missing out. I’ll be happily in-game if you need me.

    • Jarkorsis says:

      I have played PA on and off since beta. The game requires a total change in mindset. The scale is immense. In old school RTS’s (C&C etc) you had a unit cap, so in a multiplayer game if a person dropped you were short units, let alone a player. There is no unit cap, so even if you are outnumbered 2 to one, you can still win if you have a better economy then the enemy. They have added many revolutionary management features to handle a big empire with less micromanagement. Picture in picture, group build queues for mines and energy and metal storage. (You can tell a builder to go to an area and build metal mines with 1 click. it will build mines on all nodes) You can use a similar method to build buge energy and metal storage fields. The game as no end of world feature. (You are playing on a sphere). The graphics are not super detailed, but you have 1000’s of units running around)

      Reviewers claim nothing new ever comes out. Then they complain when something does and they can’t figure out how to use the new features. The game isn’t perfect, but it is fun. I am an RTS fan. The modern RTT games like COH2 et all are fun as well. But the unit AI code and pathing are terrible. These games get away with it, by saying you have to micro management the units. That limits the amount of coding they need to do. These games are fun. I have 100’s of hours played on SC2 and coh2.

      My biggest problem with PA is that there is no current tutorial. (The galactic war serves that purpose) The tutorial on shortcuts is out of date. The best way to see some of the shortcuts is to look on twitch and youtube and watch a few games. ALso press F1. It is current. I like the game a lot. Tactics do play a huge part in it. You do need to micro manage your units placement. I rate the game an 8.5 out of 10 if you like large scale RTS. If you like the COH2 type tactical, you may not like it.

      I will leave all of you with a question. Why is it when we always want something new and different in a type of game, when you get it you complain about it? I looked on steams forums when it was released and did not see a lot of negativity by anyone that had played it. There were a lot of internet trolls saying things about a game they had not played.

      • Actually, I never complained about things not being new or different. On the flip side I wouldn’t say PA is new and different either. Some unique spins here and there, but for the most part it is just as ‘old in concept’ as anything else. It is just a matter of density and time between similar products.

        Also, you’re making a broad assumption. You are assuming those that complain they want something new are the same that complain when something is different. That reviewers that ask for new stuff, are the same that complain about something being too ‘unique’.

        Gamers are not homogenous group thinkers, nor are reviewers. All too often a subgroup says X, and another subgroup says Y, but then they get homogenized into one category and then called out for contradicting themselves. When the actual error was the assumption that attributed them to being the same group.

        I can’t speak for other players or even other reviewers, but I personally have never complained about games not being different enough.

        • Jarkorsis says:

          I am not talking about anyone in particular. I just see reviews that I guess are never satisfied. I think there is room for multiple kinds of games. Neither is better. A good game is a good game. I don’t understand why a reviewer for instance that hates RTS would go and review a RTS?

          By the way, this game is getting patched weekly. Another patch was released 918 or 19. They added some stuff to the galactic war multiple bug fixes and AI improvements.

  10. Pankratos says:

    Another mid-rate generic multiplayer RTS.

    It’s obvious that the “spiritual successor” slogan is in great misuse now.

    • Jarkorsis says:

      It is very much the spiritual the successor to Total Annihilation more than Supreme Commander. The looks and feel is more TA than Sup Com. I tend to ignore rating and talk to friends who have played the game in question. I also read reviewers that explain all the features of a game whether they like them or not. Then I look at twitch.tv for streams and youtube recordings to see what the game is.

      The do not look at player reviews. I have seen people give a game a bad review after having played it over 400 hours. That does not jive. If I play a game over 60 or 80 hours I like it. If I see someone that has over 400 hours panning a game, it does not make sense at least to me. Player reviews are notoriously unreliable.

  11. BlueTemplar says:

    Oh wow…

    While I was testing it out this week, Supreme Commander : Forged Alliance Forever … SUDDENLY DIED!!

    http://www.faforever.com

    https://www.reddit.com/r/supremecommander/comments/2hd5m6/the_end_has_happened_faf_has_been_shut_down/

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/2hc1hr/forged_alliance_forever_supreme_commander_project/

    http://scfaf.net/?p=15#comments

    It’s a real shame, considering that I’ve been trying PA in parallel, and it’s so feature incomplete, you could almost think it’s not a full game, but an alpha/demo!

    Here’s hoping nothing happens to Zero-K…


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