Star Wars: Empire at War is a strategy game that can poses real challenges to the gamer. The battles are just as epic as in the books and movies, the sound effects are just what you would expect, the play styles of Rebellion and Empire are effectively contrasted, and the many heroes involved in Rebellion and Empire serve well for the gameplay. There is a downside though, the land battles are not as exciting, and they can get repetitive. Nevertheless, it's all good. Star Wars was known more for the space battles, not those made on land.
For the record, I am a Star Wars fanatic, have been since I first saw it way back when I was only 11 years. Yes, I saw the original, untouched version of Star Wars and found myself in the movie house no less than 10 times. Through the years I have seen attempts to make the franchise a computer game and they did not catch my attention until Star Wars: Empire at War. To date, this is the best that has ever been developed and it is a relief that it was.
The action takes place on land and in outer space. The Rebellion game play is different from that of the Empire gameplay so that was a relief as well. I do not know how I would have reacted if the developers did not make it so. The strategy game is well developed and even for those not familiar with the story line can still go through the game and find it exciting and challenging.
The action is set to real time so this means that the action taking place in the Empire will happen at the same time as that of the Rebellion. There are maps to show the planets giving the player the options to use their space ports and it can also show the defense systems on the land as well as those structures which can be used by the alliance.
The gamers have to be on the lookout for those planets that offer little bit of extra in terms of economics and power. The costs would have to be spent using credits but these cannot just be used haphazardly. There are rules to follow, policies that need to be respected before any costs can be paid up.
The downside, as mentioned previously, involved the land battles. They do not look as exciting and as much fun as the space battles are, but that is just to be expected. Even the books and movies dwelt more on space battles rather than those on land. Controlling the attack forces on land, from out in space, can also be a bit tricky and would involve a lot of strategy. Then there are times when the tasks can be a bit repetitive, but then nothing is perfect.
In the end, Star Wars Empire at War truly delivers the Rebellion and Empire wars that fans of all ages expect from the popular franchise. It is well developed, fun, exciting, and challenging. Truly, the presentation alone won my heart. My recommendation: buy it, it is worth the money, and the time spent playing.