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Platform

PC

 

Genre

MMRTS/RPG

 

Publisher

Nexon

 

Developer

Nexon

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q3 2001

 

 

- Lack of bugs

- Takes RTS in a different direction

- Lots to do

- Minimal lag

- Excellent communication system

- Sense of teamwork is achieved

- Navigation is easy

 

 

- Habit forming

- Graphics arenít as stunning as current titles

- Some really strange pathfinding

- Limited view of the battlefield

 

 

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Shattered Galaxy

Score: 8.9 / 10

 

October 10, 2001

An open letter to Nexon,

The first time I played your latest game, Shattered Galaxy (SG), I wasnít expecting much since most so-called "massively multiplayer" games have been riddled with more frustrating bugs than an all-male ant farm next door to a colony of really hot queen ants. Obviously some time and attention was put into SG before it shipped to make it relatively bug free. Aside from some really weird pathfinding problems and a few lost connections I never felt the game shipped as a Beta.

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That first evening/morning/afternoon session was extremely enjoyable. Thereís that sense of actually being involved in a larger conflict, especially with the political and tax system. I liked not having to worry a lot about collecting resources Ė it freed up my time to customize units and wage war. Although itís fair that oneís influence or clout level limits the type of units you can buy, I always felt outgunned early on. Actually, the faction I joined has lost nearly twice as many battles as it has won. My thoughts of turning the tide in our favor were quickly dashed when I realize no one was taking effective political control, making alliances, etc. impossible to achieve. Whoever was in control was obviously missing in action but people keep voting him in.

Even though a monkey with bad dandruff could wage a better political campaign, I turned my efforts to the battlefield.

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The 20-minute cap on each battle was a wise decision Ė it avoids the never-ending waves of units going back and forth until one of the players falls asleep and victory can be decided. The graphics arenít as slick as the current RTS titles, such as Emperor: Battle for Dune, but, to use an overused phrase, get the job done. The different unit types Ė organic and mechanical Ė are easy to tell apart which is pretty much all I ask when the action gets heavy.

 

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I found lag to be minimal on my cable modem, with only occasional sudden jerky movements. I found the controls easy to handle and access during battle. Using hot keys is a necessity in RTS games and Iím glad theyíre used extensively. The strategy elements are very good. Limiting the number of controllable units encourages teaming up with other faction members to work more effectively. And when those units get wiped out, itís good to have the chance to send more reinforcements, specifying units deployed, or simply retreating.

As you know, the crux of the RTS portion hinges on holding Points of Contention (POC) for 45 seconds before falling under faction control. Whichever side is controlling more POCs at the 20-minute point wins. I found a lot of tension many times holding a POC. More than a few times I shouted angrily and cursed the opposition as they came flying down with superior aerial units to wipe my units off the map near the 30-second mark. Early on it amazed and stunned me that calling my co-ordinates with "poc a3 help" resulted in a several other players providing back up.

My faction still loses more battle than it wins but as I build up my Heroís experience in battle, honor, prestige, clout, tactics, and gain access to more powerful units, I hope to eventually turn this trend around. (Or just wait until my organic units evolve so they can kick some serious asteroid!)

Gladly, thereís a way to keep in contact with every member of the faction through the fantastic messaging system. Whether it's instant messaging to your faction or to an individual or posting something on the message board, itís all easy to do. To further heighten the communication and community aspect is the chance to join regiments, which allows for some interesting sub-alliances. Plus, the fact you can do all of this in-game instead of backing out into a menu is huge advantage.

With all this praise and other aspects I havenít mentioned Ė the lab rat backstory, the complete manual, limited energy requiring you to refuel mid-fight which makes for even more tactical mind boggling, the great reward system, travel from province to province and planet to planet through hostile areas, initiating attacks, the background music (once you turn it down), the good sound effects Ė you would think this is a kind thank-you letter. Youíve done several things right and thatís commendable. Heck, Iíve even recommended Shattered Galaxy to friends that often complain about lack of innovation in RTS games. But all that being said, I have to say, "You BASTARDS! Give me my life back!" A quick half-hour dip into SG turns into a 6-hour marathon and a half-assed story about "catching pneumonia" to my boss. My wife has taken to hiding the CD in hopes that Iíll do some work around the house, eat something, bathe, etc. I repeat, "You bastards!"

Sincerely,

Aaron "Omni" Simmer

P.S. Please find enclosed a money order to cover 12-months of my online fees.

P.P.S. Please don't tell my wife that you don't need the CD to play.

 

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