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 Home -> Reviews -> Emperor: Battle for Dune
Emperor: Battle for Dune By John "Award" Del Percio, July 9, 2001
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Developer :Westwood
Publisher :Electronic Arts
Release Date :Late June 2001
Demo Available : No
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

Victory to the Player!

I must say that this is the most fun I've had playing an RTS since Total Annihilation. The campaign is addictive, the multiplayer support is phenomenal, and the balance is, contrary to most other companies philosophies, great, though each House has an entirely unique style. One thing is for certain, you will most definitely get your money's worth out of this 4-CD set. If you're going to buy just one RTS this summer, and possibly even for the fall, Emperor: Battle for Dune is your only choice. It has certainly earned a permanent location on my hard drive, a rare honor indeed, and I look forward to wasting more of my time with the game when some people that I know get the game. While it definitely has not replaced Total Annihilation as my favorite RTS of all time, I don't believe anything ever will, and Emperor has come as close to doing so as I can imagine any game doing. It's good to see that, sometimes, hype can still be well deserved.

Rating

Personal Note

Graphics - Sound - Gameplay - Depth - Multiplayer  Reviewed by John Del Percio
GRAPHICS
97 %

The graphics are stunning for an RTS. The one thing that is both the greatest strength and the greatest weakness, though, is the lack of a mobile camera. It would have been interesting to look at the Dune world as though I were standing in it rather than fixed mostly at a standard RTS isometric view. On the other hand, games with mobile cameras often become confusing, and turn into a tech demo rather than a game, so in retrospect, it's probably for the best that the camera is locked to an isometric view (you can still zoom, and at the closest zoom, the camera does tilt a bit upward, though.) The loss in points is for the poor performance in framerate at times when I really don't think it should have been lagging as it did.

SOUND
98 %

The music is great. While not all of it is worthy of a motion picture, it certainly fits the mood of the game. The game sound effects are wonderfully placed, and though some of the voices can sound a bit silly at times, overall they were very well chosen.

GAMEPLAY
99 %

I think that's pretty much what we covered in the text of the review, so summarizing it here would be an exercise in futility. Suffice it to say that the gameplay is exceptional, the replayability is the highest I've ever seen in an RTS, and the multiplayer options are extensive.

DEPTH
99 %

It's Frank Herbert's Dune, how's that for depth? The cinematic sequences are worthy of their own movie and truly drive the players involvement in the storyline. In terms of depth in gameplay, there is a careful balance of advantages and disadvantages between all units, and an infinite number of possible tactics and strategies which may be employed. Certainly not a game that will be fading away in any short period of time.

MULTIPLAYER
99 %

Westwood Online is one of the most capable online gaming networks I've seen yet, and can definitely support the gameplay just fine. I did notice the network was down a few times, but I sincerely doubt this is a normal occurrence. In terms of multiplayer gameplay, I can see myself playing this one quite a bit. It brings back some of the finer points of Total Annihilation and Dark Reign. The selection of up to two subhouses truly makes for diverse games as well. Playing the same exact game yields totally different strategies depending on which subhouses are at your disposal and and what subhouses are at your enemy's disposal.



Do note that this insanely high score is on the new scoring system outlined in the Antaeus Rising review. It truly is an instant classic of a game, and it's nice to see one like this in a time were I was beginning to think that core strategy games were a thing of the past to be replaced by camera manipulators or by hybrid games. Not that I dislike hybrids, but it's always good to see another good game following the good old days of gaming but bringing the graphics and effects to a modern appearance. I think it goes without saying that Emperor: Battle for Dune has been nominated for the categories of Best Strategy and Game of the Year in the 2001 Top Pupil Awards.

Overall Rating

 



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