469 of 478 people (98%) found this review helpful 288 people found this review funny
35.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 16, 2015
This game plots you against 2 super powerful AI's, and starts you with one planet, one base, and you must build up from there.
So my 2 other friends and i have a fleet of over 3000 ships. We have captured 12 combined planets, and we are doing amazingly, when we find the husk of an ancient ship. It calls to us, and asks us to repair it. We start repairing it with everything we had. 10 minutes later, it gets fixed, and we get a ship called the 'Exodian Blade.' The Blade shoots a laser that instakills most ships in its path. However, it is super, super slow. We become greedy, and we start capturing planets, with the Blade singlehandley defeating everything on it.
But when one of my scientists conducts a survey and finds a strange subspace signal, the AI gets mad, and launches a full scale assault.
Even with the Exodian Blade, we couldn't defend forever.
We had lost all but 2 of our planets; only our capital and a far-off isolated colony remained. We had repositioned the 300 ships left from our 3000 ship fleet at the capital. When suddenly, my friend completes a nuke. He had been building it all game.
We use the nuke, completely destroying every ship and planet except for one AI's home and our captial. We track down the AI home, and send the Exodian Blade there.
Meanwhile, a devourer golem appears, which slowly moves and instakills any ships next it, at my capital.
Fast forward, I had kited the golem away, and the Blade arrived at the AI home. We were surprised to see that there were only 300 ships there. Nothing that we can't handle.
Then we realize that we needed to destroy 13 different shield generators around the planet that protected the AI core.
"We can do that! We have the most overpowered ship in the game! We can just instakill them all," we all exclaimed.
"The most overpowered ship in the game" looked like crap to what came in next.
A exogalactic wormhole appears, and through it come 3000 different max level ships, ships with missiles, ships with integrated shields, ships we have never evever seen before.
It took a minute for the Exodian Blade, with 200 million hitpoints, to die.
We hadn't destroyed a single thing on the AI home planet.
We had lost on difficulty 'very easy.'
I cant even imagine what the highest difficulty level is like.
This game is the only game that can make you go from amazing to crap so quickly, and still be fun. This game is the only game that makes losing fun. This game is the spawn of Satan. But it might have well been a gift from heaven.
301 of 305 people (99%) found this review helpful 23 people found this review funny
263.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 4, 2015
Ai War: Fleet Command feels like playing chess - without knowing all the moves, and with a cheating opponent.
First off, the opponent doesn't really cheat, but it feels that way to a new player. The learning curve is extremely steep, which means you will probably only lose for the first few dozen hours of playing - unless you choose one of the very easy difficulties.
The main problem most people will have is the completely different playstyle. Yes, it is an RTS, it looks and even plays as a classic RTS, yet when you go out from your home planet lasers blazing, burning and capturing new resources, you will lose. Always. How discouraging, right?
The reason to this is asymetry. Your opponent does not share your options. He does not build, he has everything. You on the other hand have but a single planet. Why not crush you in an instant? Cause he doesn't care, you're not important enough to be crushed. However if you blow up a few planets of his.. he might as well decide it's time for the human remnant to die.
All this said, the game *punishes* you for capturing important assets - planets, technology, etc. Each time you do such an action, the ai gets more aware of your "threat", which will mean stronger and more frequent attacks. From now till the end of game.
In conlcusion, there seems to be two games hidden under this title: First, a guerilla war, in which the player gathers strength and tries to avoid antagonizing the enemy too much in fear of brutal retaliation. Second, the glorious moment when the carefully prepared guerilla finally decides to go on par with the ai and fight a full on war - no more hiding.
Replayability: High, assuming you don't mind defeat. There are plenty of ai structures, and only some of them are used on each map. Throughout the expansions, a lot more has arrived to make the game entertaining and keep the player busy.
Multiplayer: Brilliant. The player slots can be changed on the fly by the game host. Playing a single player game and having a friend who wants to join? No problem, open a slot for him, give him a planet and you're playing within seconds. He's leaving again? No big deal, just close his slot, grab his units and go on with your game.
You probably don't want to play this if: - You dislike frequent losing - You dislike slow-paced games - You dislike games with a steep learning curve - You dislike constantly analysing the situation and like to just order your units to go and pillage instead.
You probably want to try this if: - You like complicated strategy games - You like analysing the strategic situation a lot - You like slow-paced strategy games, in which fortifications actually work - You are a hard-core strategy game player and like a challenge - You like dwarf fortress and space strategy games
329 of 342 people (96%) found this review helpful 27 people found this review funny
1,357.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 25, 2014
At the time of Writing, I have over 1000 hours clocked in this game. I have won four times on difficulty 7, once on difficulty 8. I got crushed in 3.5 hours on diff. 9 Any other strategy game I load up (against AIS), the results are a foregone conclusion. I will win.
It has taken me over four years and six expansions, over a thousand hours... AND I LOSE ON 9.
This game is not simple. it is not forgiving, and it sure as heck isn't easy to learn.
If you are all about grand strategy but micromanagement leaves a bad taste in your mouth, this may be the best $20 you ever spend. Get the bundle.
291 of 312 people (93%) found this review helpful 18 people found this review funny
114.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 15, 2014
AI War is a special game to me. To borrow a quote from Firefly: "Live with a man 40 years. Share his house, his meals. Speak on every subject. Then tie him up, and hold him over the volcano's edge. And on that day, you will finally meet the man." AI War lets you meet yourself. Some games you play until you can win, then you get bored. AI War is different. At difficulty 7 or below it's still challenging, easy to stumble on the long road to victory and not a sure thing. It'll take a while but you'll have a satisfying victory. But you won't stop there, once you can win the game then you'll feel free to turn up the heat. Walking through the labyrinth of options until, quite quickly, you find yourself standing on the volcano's edge, bound and tied by your own hands. But when you find yourself there it'll be with a smile on your face, saying quite happily: "Oh no! Oh no! Oh dear... I'm dead." And if you do manage to win at difficulty 10, it's a bug. Report it on the Arcen games forums... with pride.
Also, it has co-op multiplayer. So you can tie your friends up and hold them over the volcano's edge... though you'll probably both be a little singed. (Fighting Scorched Earth AI's and... Mimes! NB: Scorched earth destroys planets rather than letting you take control, never set both AI types to that if you want to win. Mimes mimic the ships you used against it, you'll think... “So what happens if I use...” and the answer: You die.)
Lastly, the developers are kind, polite and extraordinarily hard working. The game has evolved with constant developments for year after year after year. They read people's after action reports, watch the lets plays, answer questions on the forums and are just plain nice. Not a dull nice, but a sweet, genuine, sharp and creative nice... rather like shaving a birthday cake into a beard. Or sneaking into the office to digitise old files to save you time.
They've got a touch of magic, love and creativity that I want to watch, and I hope that other people will have a chance to see it too. So yeah, it's just a game, the graphics are a little dated and the learning curve is a little steep... it isn't really magic and it doesn't grant any wishes. But I like it. I'm glad I bought it. I hope you'll set aside a few hours and give it a solid try. Then some more hours when you drag a friend to play a co-op game.
208 of 220 people (95%) found this review helpful 135 people found this review funny
17.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 28, 2015
So.. I started a game to test the enemy AI, with each of the game's two AI opponents set to the 'Entrenched Homeworlder' preset and 10/10 difficulty (10/10, out of a possible 17 settings)
To "make things fair" I gave myself a +300% boost to resources and limited the technology available for the round (no starships, no shields, couple other things..)
The "match" lasted 6:12.
Six minutes for me to set up my base.. I built a bank of 15 sniper turrets, and two semi-crescents of laser turrets, and piled minefields around the two warp points in my home system (and lightly along the path I was sure the devils would cut straight towards my base, as well..).
I crafted a fleet of 200 ships, 50 of each available at the time. Set up tachyon drones and reinforced my swarm of engineers.. I created a Mobile Builder in case tragedy happened, and was just about to waste time setting up tractor beam turrets when they arrived.
The ship types didn't matter. Nothing mattered.
135 mixed enemy ships showed up and tore through the minefields like they weren't there. It killed some, but it wasn't enough. The spear of sea-foam green demons flew directly for my colony, shrugging off sniper and laser fire.. As my fleet approached, they simply drove through them.
They didn't want the fleet.
They took two things, in that 12 seconds: my home colony (which earns you a pleasantly red text stating YOU HAVE LOST!), and my energy supply (throwing my entire setup into electrical brown-out).
Then they turned and left. I was reminded of an assassin, gently dispatching their hapless and hopeless victim with grace and ease, silent.. and leaving, without fanfare.
153 of 158 people (97%) found this review helpful 3 people found this review funny
42.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 9, 2015
For me, it’s a rare thing indeed for a game to move from total obscurity to a fixed place on my hard drive in the course of a handful of days. Admittedly, I was less-than-enthused as I first started playing this little gem from Arcen Games. I was thoroughly prepared to slog through yet another space-based RTS, and be on way to bigger and better titles. Then, slowly, I began uncovering a depth of play that I just wasn’t expecting in a freshman game from a tiny indie studio. After a few more hours, I realized that I was not only having a blast with my initial runs through the game, I was planning many additional excursions even after my review was written. Although not for the faint of heart, AI Wars: Fleet Command is a surprising, delightful, and thoroughly engrossing RTS title.
AI Wars is just brimming with innovative twists on the 4X-style RTS. First up: regardless of the number of players, from the solo outing to an eight-player mash-up, AI Wars is always Human vs. AI. At first blush, this may sound like a Bad Thing, but it works quite well. Due to this co-op only setting, Arcen dodged a huge problem with many RTS games: the need for balancing several different factions.
Next up is the AI itself. In a very cool take on enemy behavior, the AI advances in difficulty and aggressiveness in direct proportion to the amount of territory the human teams take. Destroying key AI structures increases the “AI Progress” value, meaning a greater buildup of enemy forces, and a greater willingness for them to be used. The AIs themselves can be set from several different flavors at the start of a game, giving players the chance to face turtling AI, highly aggressive ones, tech-mad researchers, or some combination of the mix. Just one little change in AI setting makes for a very different game.
Speaking of game setup, there are scads of options to choose from at the outset. Galaxy size and planet distribution choices are endless, with millions of possible combinations (and the ability to preserve the random seed for those who want to re-try a favorite map). AI style and aggressiveness, as mentioned above, greatly changes the challenge level of the game. In addition, there are several choices about player tech level, bonus units, and other small flavor changes.
The scope of AI Wars is staggering. Played over a series of planetary gravity wells connected by jump points, a typical game can have dozens of active battlefronts with literally thousands upon thousands of ships slugging it out. Thankfully, the control scheme is more than capable of handling the hordes. With just a few clicks, entire sweeping fleets can be sent across the galaxy. Typical RTS necessities, such as tech upgrades, resource management, and unit building, are likewise streamlined to allow players to spend much more time in big-picture decisions. The tech tree itself is rather small compared to other games of this type, but it fits well with the flow nonetheless.
The strategy for playing AI Wars is something truly unique. Due to the AI Progress aspect, it’s often not in players’ best interest to completely take over every planet. Those that take that approach will soon find themselves swamped with enemy forces, since the AI doesn’t have to play by the same resource-limited rules that the players do. Careful scouting of neighboring systems, following by surgical strikes and opportunistic lunges is the name of the game. Because of this, players are often spreading out across the galaxy in a piecemeal fashion, leaving enemy forces interspersed between the growing empire. Thus, players need to find that perfect balance between careful defensive turtling and selective offense. Adding additional human teammates increases the difficulty proportionally, so the challenge doesn’t fade with the increased number of allies.
AI Wars looks good, although I did take a little while to warm up to the almost old-school style. The ability to quickly zoom in and out over massive battlefields is impressive, as is the ability for the game to visually keep everything straight. I found the background music to also be surprisingly good, since it’s often something I either just overlook or soon disable in this sort of game. The controls are solid, although they did seem just a little clunky at first. After a bit of time, however, I soon had everything flowing smoothly in my quest for human dominance.
All told, AI Wars: Fleet Command is bound to be a delight to any fan of the heavier strategy titles. It’s an absolute bargain as well, and this title has the rumblings of a very strong, even if not terribly large, community support. I was pleasantly surprised by just about everything I saw in this game, and I would heartily suggest this for those wanting a meaty, unique galactic RTS romp. Although not for the faint of heart (or even the casual strategy gamer), AI Wars: Fleet Command is a surprising, delightful, and thoroughly engrossing RTS title.
124 of 129 people (96%) found this review helpful 4 people found this review funny
10.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2014
This game is a rare gem, the type of game that only comes out of a small studio.
No other title I've played in the last several years has offered this kind of tactical depth, but to say it's just a great strategy game would be doing it an injustice. It's also a game that, despite its rather basic 2D graphics and rudimentary sound, truly captures the essence of the universe it portrays.
It's a dark, cold universe where humanity has been flung to the four winds, and is pursued by a ruthless alien AI hive across the galaxy as it fights, vainly, for its survival. It evokes the imagery and sense of encroaching dread of Ender's Game as it puts you in charge of organizing mankind's last stand - a suicidal breakout and attack directly against the AI homeworlds.
To get there, you'll have to cut a swath through AI controlled worlds, each with layered defenses, guard posts, mobile fortresses and a plethora of other tools at it's disposal to remind you that they are the masters of this domain, and make your beachhead a costly failure. And even if your beachhead is successful, you will quickly learn that you have but stumbled into the lion's den.
Each tactical victory comes with a price that is higher than the sum of all the troops that fell in achieving it - the closer you get to the AI homeworlds, the more viciously, effectively, and stubbornly it will fight. Well before you get within stone's throw of their homeworlds, the AI will begin to recognize you as a real and growing threat, and it will respond appropriately.
By appropriately, I mean it will attempt to destroy you using everything in its near-infinite disposal. If you expand zealously, like the scourge it believes humanity to be, it will crush you mercilessly without batting an eye. From star systems and galaxies near and far, it will draw from the hive and send the combined weight of a thousand navies against you. You cannot win this war traditionally. You must wage it like a guerrilla campaign, striking hard and fast deep in enemy territory at specific, high value targets, and hoping to escape with your remaining forces back into the night. You must attrition down dug in positions carefully, lest you give away your true presence and tip your hand. It is a war that demands long-term strategic thinking, tempered aggression, the careful use of ruse and concealment, and a sixth sense of when your foe is strong and when he is weak. It requires you to revise your tactics and force compositions constantly, as the AI will adapt to your strategies quickly. Like using hordes of cheap, fast, throwaway ships to attrition down the enemy? Well, right now the Ai is building a stealth smart bombing fleet that will be able to annihilate your blob before it can even react. Like bunkering up and covering your inlet wormholes with shields and hordes of turrets? The AI just hacked your shield and turrets with the hacker drones right on the other side of the wormhole you havent scouted lately, and not only have they assembled a strike force just on the other side, theyre now making a beachhead into your territory, using your shield and turrets for cover. That system, well behind the front, that's been quiet as a ghost for the last hour? As we speak there are AI stealth drones surveying its defenses, helping to paint a picture of precisely how much force and what tools will be needed to push you out of system and split a gap in your supply lines. Steamrolling the AI with your superfleet, sitting off the enemy's sector, waiting for orders to jump? It knows you're there. It's just waiting for you to commit, to jump into system, so it can spring on the black hole generators so you cannot escape. It will hit you with tractor beams, smart bombs, and long-range standoff fleets that outrange your crippled battleships. And then, as you helplessly watch your fleet picked apart, that massed invasion fleet that has been assembling just outside your territory gets the go order, and before long you are looking at a massed attack all along the front as the AI carries out probing attacks at your industrial centers - just as you are at your weakest. It only wanted you to think it was weak, to draw you into a fight on favorable terms, on ground where the tables were turned. It wanted you to commit the bulk of your forces to suicidal action, as it planned to pin your fleet down, envelop your industrial base, and destroy you.
The AI is THAT good. And that's on one of the more modest difficulty settings. On the higher settings, it goes from being a somewhat difficult campaign into a brutal, oft-unwinnable fight for survival. You have to employ the same cunning tactics as the AI to stand a chance. It amazes me that this was a two-man project; the gentleman who wrote the AI script for this should be working for the NSA skunkworks.
This game has been out for a while, and has six or so expansions now; if it sounds like the kind of title you're interested in, I'd reccommend the bundle. The expansions offer a number of new tools, ships, modifications, and functionalities to the game.
It's not the prettiest game to behold, but the gameplay is awesome, the AI is beyond amazing, and the replayability is tremendous. One of the best PC purchases I've ever made.
As the title suggests this game is a fleet (unit) management game, mixed in with a x4 type of experience. The scale of the game opens up suddenly and can get to the point where it just seems overwhelming, however if you stay with it and learn how it works you'll find a decent game.
I'd recommend taking this game slowly, even if the AI doesn't really want you to. You will die several times as you discover the past ways to link units together and arrange your resource collection and defending units to be most effective - that's just the nature of the game. As such this isn't really the ideal game for a beginner to x4 to step in, yet it might just be one of the most rewarding. The depth in potential is deep and the 3 expansion packs have been done in the 'right way' adding more content to the game and improving gameplay. Thankfully the developers regularly patch AI War: Fleet Command too, which would suggest they're aware of their community, which for me is a major part of buying into a game.
I know some people aren't too keen on AI War due to the rather dated UI and graphics, but I think that's part of the charm. The lack of flashy graphics allows for resources and time to have been spent on the complex nature of the game's actual 'AI'. So, considering the game is called 'AI War', it's almost essential that the game itself has a top level AI behind the scenes making all of this work. At times this can feel like the enemy are being hyper aggressive, but in truth they're learning about you the player. They're not just reacting to whatever race you play, they learn how you use that race and how you setup. Again this might not be ideal for a new comer, however it can help too, as sometimes they'll go 'easy' on you... for a little bit.
Overall AI War: Fleet Command is a very indepth game that doesn't seem to get much fanfare amonst the Steam Community. If you're a fan of x4 games then this is the game for you. If you can look past the very basic graphics there is a very deep experience waiting for you, perhaps one of the best experiences you'll ever have. The added bonus is that this game is often VERY cheap on Steam during the Steam sales.
104 of 110 people (95%) found this review helpful 12 people found this review funny
621.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2014
I love this game. It is without a doubt my favorite game on Steam. Just look at how many hours I've played, that's got to say something (like I should go get a life). Seriously though, the game is great. I have it, and I've bought about 6 other copies of the game for my friends because I believe in this one so much. Yes, I know the graphics seem backwards and uninspiring, but you'll learn as you play this game that it's actually better this way. Look past the graphics and into the mind of a monsterous AI.
This game is going to have a VERY steep learning curve at first. Once you get through the basic commands on how to move ships around, set up build queues, and construct your fleet, the game really opens up to you. You're going to find that this game will challenge your strategic and tactical thinking. If you think you're good at RTS games, this will push you to the limit. Do you think there isn't an RTS that can challenge you anymore? This one can and will. Are you just plain crazy, play it on the max dificulty, it's a bug if you can beat it.
There are a ton of units for this game, and I strongly recommend getting all the DLC. With the whole set you've got nearly unlimited different kinds of games. You'll find unit combinations that will fit your play style no matter what style that happens to be.
The AI is one of the most interesting things in this game. It will surprise you countless times. Just when you think you've figure it out, it'll show you a new trick. Look how much I've play this, it's still showing me surprises. The game still have times when it feels fresh to me. It's amazing that you can dive so deeply into a game and still find things.
I'll shut up now and let you buy this game. Play it.
Do you like skirmishing against computer players in RTSes, but don't think they simulate humans enough? Great, you'll like AI War. It's asymmetric, about halfway between skirmish and campaign modes, and it doesn't try to act like a real human.
Do you like really long RTS matches, but don't like that they usually turn one-sided after the first half an hour? Great, you'll like AI War, it stays tense and balanced for the entire 5-20 hour struggle.
Do you like HARD games? Play AI War. The difficulty levels you can select start low but go up to truly legendary heights.
Do you like constant battle? AI War may not be for you. Yes it's real-time, but you will spend a fair amount of time thinking and plotting and planning. Anxiously.
Do you like games that you can finish in one sitting? Don't play AI War. Just don't.
Do you like an easy, relaxed gameplay experience? Probably don't play AI War. You can set the difficulty low, but it's boring...and the difficulty goes up as time goes on, not down. Unless you're playing way below your skill level, the endgame is always a brutal nailbiter and if you are careless you can get wiped out. AI War needs you to think about what you're doing for the whole game.
This game is not for everyone, and it takes a big time commitment. If you're sitting on the fence, I'd recommend avoiding it. There is no "let's sit down for half an hour and see how it is", it will take a lot of time no matter what. Also, you will absolutely want to sit down and play the tutorial, even though it takes a couple hours. It's basically just a short version of a full game that walks you through the unique strategies of AI War with kid gloves on. Playing this game like it was any other RTS is the biggest mistake you can possibly make.
As for what makes the strategy different? You have to pick your battles. The AI is generally not that aggressive, at least not in a planet-by-planet way, but every single time you expand it's like kicking a hornet's nest. Discretion is the better part of valor, and not just because you risk your current armies: In this setting, your opponent is much bigger than you, but it also has other interests much bigger than you. If you stay small and pick your targets carefully, you can keep from drawing too much ire, but if you try to take over the whole galaxy then your enemy will say "oh maybe these humans are a real threat" and stomp the hell out of you. Don't do that.
All in all, it's a truly unique entry in the RTS genre. If the above caveats don't scare you away, give it a shot. It might not be your favorite game, but it's a truly memorable one, and worth the time commitment to play a few games.