Posted: September 2
I always wanted to try out the Earth series, beeing a fan of strategy games and all. So naturally I started with Earth 2140 with some decent expectations. Got the entire series for a around 3$. Figured they are very old games and the price cant go any lower than that.
I was excited to see that 2140 has an HD version,but was quickly disappointed to see that HD means that it can be played on newer machines and some new resolutions are supported.
From the intro of the game I saw that something was off. There was a product placement for a popular beverage in the somewhat distant post apocalyptic future and a display of different type of robots and machines that was suppose to set up the story. I did not make anything out story wise from that.
Onto the main screen was excited to see the way it was created, like you as a character shifted your vision from left to right and was a bit riddled about the games factions (which are two , your typical Europe vs America factions). Nothing too bad about that. Was thrilled to see that there are two mission packs included as well. Hey ,more content,that is always nice.
Was very excited to see a database of all buildings ,vehicles and soldiers in the main menu. After browsing through them, everything was looking pretty good.
Until I actually started playing the game. I can understand that this is an old strategy game that may have been a pioneer at its age,but hey, so was Starcraft or Red Alert. This game disappointed in almost every expect imagineable to me.
Let’s start with the story, which by the way I had to research it to get an understanding on what the hell is going on. Basically some big war went on and most of the most continents except Europe and America are wiped out and now these two factions fight for the remainder of Earth’s resources by destroying everything in their path. Not THAT bad, really hoped that the story would develop somehow, but it didn’t.
Every mission starts with a radar like briefing with a terrain background that has really hard to read text that makes you want to skip the briefing alltogether. Even when you read it , every mission is bascially destroy the enemy base or capture some random buildings. The variety is almost non-existent.
Pressing on to the cutscenes,that I really hoped to bring some plot into the game. Nope, did not happen. Every cutscene in the game is basically pointless. It just shows some random units atacking each other or patroling some buildings. No story info whatsoever.
Progression wise (I played as Europe) you basically just have to retake some huge chunks of Europe and North Africa Back and then go conquer America. Again this is not that bad (most strategy games have this) but this time it is so poorly executed and implemented that it makes not care at all what happens in this game.
Going towards graphics,well nothing to complain, the usual 2D sprites that were specific for that time.Good enough. But damn, there are like only 2 animations for fighting in the entire game (that I have recognized), one of wich ( the rocket with the smoke trail) beeing so overly used and annoying to see to some extreme repetition.
You jump into the game mission and you are left to figure everything out by yourself. There are no tutorials (which is kind of ok, this beeing specific for that time when the game was launched). That would have been a good idea, IF the menu that is a C&C/Dune type of menu was not so completely counter intuitive and lacked actual ease of use.It took me several minutes to just figure out how to get resources in this game, which could have been exciting, but to me personally it was a disaster.
When you do manage to set up your resource gathering buildings and your production buildings, you just spam random infantry and tanks, in masses, and you go roflstomp the enemies.
Oh and speaking about enemy AI. With the HD version, they somehow managed to break it. Enemies rarely attack your base and aparently don’t produce units of their own at all. This can only result in zero lack of interest in replayability or sense of beeing challenged or beeing a strategy game, SOME STRATEGY. You just build up some random piles of units and go kamikaze with them until the mission is accomplished.
The units design is kind of interesting,especially for that time. On the other side the unit voiceovers are basically the same for ALL units,which makes everything utterly annoying to click,really fast. Also unit wise,the pathing system and the way each unit atacks or finds the enemy is completely rubbish and painful to watch. The unit selection is clunky and feels un easy as well. The selection method gives you almost no info about what type of units you have (It just briefly shows the name of a unit and immediately disappears).
While searching through the menu tabs, I found everything to be placed so badly . Buildings menu is a mess. Units selection menu (yes you have to click a different tab to see unit selection menu), feels useless. Unit behiavour menu set some interest,but considering the overall gameplay,it completely failed to me as well.
On to the next part, which is ,yes , music. The music is decent,but NOT for a damn strategygame. Each track feels so randomly generated that it feels like it doesn’t have anything to do with the gameplay. On some occasions I noticed some type of music that you would normally find in soft porn or lounge bars. Good music,really bad implemented for this type of game.
Ultimately I really wanted to like Earth 2140, but it just could not happen. It tries to do several things but accomplishes almost nothing and you are better off with a C&C/Dune/Starcraft like experience when it comes to RTS. This game fell so far behind the back that it really doesn’t deserves such a lengthy review.
4/10. Not Recommended. Don’t bother with this one if you cherish your free time!