The Basics:Polish developer, Reality Pump is poised to execute an all out assault against the current crop of RTS games with their upcoming title, Earth: 2160. And judging by their current development cycle, they may even end up redefining the genre in the process. All of the tried-and-true staples of strategy games are part of the game including things like resource gathering, economy management, blistering warfare as well as some exciting changes to the old template. Earth 2160 aspires to do the unthinkable by providing a gripping, dynamic story for players complete with a variety of adventurous missions and a unique multiplayer experience.
The war takes place on Mars -- four different groups (the Eurasian Dynasty, Lunar Corporation and United Civilized States) are all vying to terraform the red planet after Earth’s destruction. Each faction offers its own single player campaign with seven missions each. The feuding parties all have more than thirteen original units and buildings, so expect some exciting combat. The customization aspect is one area where the game strives to set itself apart from conventional RTS titles. Buildings and units can be upgraded through a system called modular construction. In addition, players can facilitate a variety of upgrade types like chassis, engines, armor, boosters and more – ultimately offering a bevy of seemingly limitless possibilities.
In similar fashion to other RTS game, Earth: 2160 features Virtual Agents (or heroes), that will assist your armies using their special abilities and influence over your fighters. These Agents won’t just fight along side you, they can handle some of the micro-management in your base while you focusing on the action taking place on the battlefield or any other task you deem appropriate.
The gameplay sounds fantastic, but how's it look? One glance at the screen shots could cause sterility in any strategy vet, and Reality Pump promises realistic terrain, spectacular graphics and stunning particle effects.
What do we think? With Age of Empires 3 coming out in mid-October, Earth: 2160 will be facing some heavy competition. If Earth can deliver even half of what they are offering, they stand a good chance of giving the daddy of RTS games a run for its money.
Graphically, AoE3 may win the fair-day goose, though Earth 2160's futuristic setting may gain the advantage against their colonial America theme. The key to success will lie in the multiplayer content available; without some splendid and inspired maps, any RTS game can die a quick death.
Overall, the adventure style missions and much lauded story of Earth: 2160 will certainly be a welcome change from the dribble that most RTS games spout. Now, it’s just a matter of seeing if the developer can live up to the hype. If they’ve got the goods, we may just have a patricide on our hands.