When stripped down to its bare essentials the story is that of a war between Earth's inhabitants and an alliance of seven alien races collectively known as Votans and, although the war is between two major opposing sides the action in the game is narrowed down to San Francisco. One side, the humans need no introduction but the Votans are a composite group who were looking to make Earth their new home following the destruction of their own planetary system. When they first encountered Earth they were unaware that it was inhabited and co-existence seemed impossible and war ensued leading to devastation on a global scale following the use of terraforming, literally Earth changing, technology.
The resulting devastation not only led to physical collapse but also to the emergence of new mutant animal species. This led to an unlikely alliance between Humans and Votans so that they could live together and face up to their common enemy. This new grouping is governed by the Earth Republic or E-Rep but for the purpose of this review this will be shortened to ER. ER has a large population made up of Votans and Humans who are mostly exiles from the more severely damaged areas of Earth. However, not all beings on Earth are under the governance of ER as many Votans see it as hostile to them. So much for the background.
The details of the story are many and complex, as most of the higher budget games are nowadays, but revolves around an expedition led by a Human, Karl Von Bach, of Karl Von Bach Industries, along with ER to search for Arktech which together with an Ark-Cell and the Ark-Matrix may provide a means of undoing the damage done to the Earth. This is quite ironic as Von Bach's technology company designed and manufactured many of the weapons responsible for the disfigurement of Earth in the first place The expedition members are known as Ark Hunters. On their way to the Bay Area of San Francisco their transporter or strato-carrier is shot down. Von Bach ejects and lands in Bloodbath Gorge where he is surrounded by mutants and, after hiding from them, he is rescued by a surviving Ark Hunter by the name of Cass Dukar and together they seek refuge in Iron Demon Ranch. The ranch is attacked and most of the subsequent action deals with recovering missing bits of Ark technology.
At the start of the game you are presented with the usual character creation screen which offers a fair degree of choice. Your chosen character is then given a name and can be customized with physical and facial detail and dress. Then you must choose a class which determines which weapons you can use but there are practically no restrictions as to their choice. You are can be a male or female character and are not restricted to being human.
After some video tuition you are let loose in a massive, well populated and busy game world, a world which you can wander away from the main plot and which can also be shared with others playing in teams if desired. There are a good number of weapons available as well as a decent selection of vehicles but none of these marks a major step forward of the imagination. There are of course the usual side missions and upgrades for weaponry and vehicles.
The graphics are nothing to write home about but there is plenty going on in the game to make the graphic quality pretty much irrelevant. The sound is also adequate and in any case what is realistic sound when dealing with imagined weapons and vehicles, perhaps believable is a better word. Anyway it seems to fit the bill quite well.
There is certainly an awful lot of playing time to be had from the game if you wish to explore the game's world in places other than where the plot might lead you, so overall it represents good value for money.