Universe at War: Earth Assault

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Universe at War: Earth Assault
Uawea-cover.jpg
North American Windows version box art
Developer(s) Petroglyph Games
Publisher(s) Sega
Composer(s) Frank Klepacki
Engine Alamo
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360
Release Windows
  • NA: December 10, 2007
  • EU: January 25, 2008
Xbox 360
  • NA: March 25, 2008
  • EU: March 28, 2008
Genre(s) Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Universe at War: Earth Assault is a real-time strategy game, developed by Petroglyph Games and published by Sega. Universe at War: Earth Assault was intended to be the first game in a planned series of games to be called the Universe at War series.[1]

On May 10, 2007, Sega announced that the title was also in development for the Xbox 360, which was released in 2008.[2] Further, on June 27, 2007, Sega announced that the title would allow cross platform multiplayer through Xbox Live and Games for Windows - LIVE services.[3]

Plot[edit]

Universe at War: Earth Assault, begins in the year 2012 when an alien race known as the Hierarchy lands on Earth to strip-mine the planet. Before their landing, observatories and scientists on Earth gave warning of aliens but the human race, as a whole, is not able to organize a unified military front against the alien forces. Because the Hierarchy has vast military experience from invading and destroying other planets in the universe, the human race is not able to withstand their forces.[1]

Novus (machines who fight the Hierarchy to avenge their fallen creators) arrives just in time to save Washington, DC, where the U.S. military made its last stand. Then they start establishing bases, using guerrilla tactics to harass the Hierarchy. When Novus arrive on Earth, they expect humanity to be extinct and earth's surface strip-mined, in accordance with Hierarchy standard operating procedure. However, Novus found Earth mostly intact and the human military not yet entirely wiped out. Humanity owes its continued survival to the fact that Kamal Re'x the Abductor, the overseer in charge of the Hierarchy's Earth invasion, has held back the bulk of his forces to lure Novus into a trap. Kamal Re'x hopes to earn a promotion by wiping out the Novus expeditionary force. Mirabel, a clone of the Novus' creators/field commander, tried to board a command ship, but the ship is scuttled once they learn she is on it. She manages to escape, however, and tells the Founder (the Novus leader) about Kamal's trap. In the end, Novus proves unable to stop the Hierarchy, suffering a major defeat when the command base on Earth is destroyed, along with the portal they intended to use to return to their planet. The Founder also dies, because the portal was at the verge of detonating and destroying both Earth and the Novus's base planet, so he sacrificed himself to save both worlds. Kamal feels that he has beaten Novus and orders the Hierarchy super weapon, The Purifier, which can destroy large areas of the planet in one blast, to be prepared to destroy the Earth.

However, while the Hierarchy commander Orlok was diverting Novus so The Purifier can be deployed, he unwittingly tripped an ancient alarm in the Egyptian pyramids, and the Masari, asleep beneath the Earth's oceans, begin to waken. Though the Masari mothership initially creates a signal that prevents the Purifier from being used, the Hierarchy bomb the ship, board it, and prepare to use the Purifier.

Orlok, who has been questioning Kamal's intentions prepares to separate with others who follow him. Nufai, a spy working for Kamal, used to be part of a species that the Hierarchy has since eliminated. He tells Orlok that he would be happy to overthrow Kamal's regime, so Nufai is sent to secure the Purifier while Orlok tries to make an alliance with the Masari queen, but instead finds her son, Prince Zessus. The prince and his forces join Orlok as he tries to capture a communication center to contact the others who want to separate from the Hierarchy. But Kamal Re'x appears with a massive force of troops, and Orlok almost defeats him, but Nufai shows up and helps Kamal destroy Orlok, revealing that he was working for Kamal the entire time. Nufai is appointed commander and they begin to use the Purifier to destroy the Earth. Prince Zessus is captured but is freed by a soldier who managed to escape. They find more humans captured in other encampments and join forces with them.

Meanwhile, the Masari Queen is concerned about her son and the fate of the planet. The Masari are furious when they awoke only to find their enemy, the Hierarchy, present on Earth and their mothership destroyed. As such, the Masari have no allegiance and are prepared to destroy any and all of the other factions to reap revenge on those who destroyed their civilization and their adopted home. Then, Novus approaches the queen and offers another allegiance, which the queen accepts. The two armies then assault all the Hierarchy bases on Earth. When they arrive in South America, they find Zessus, who announces that he has befriended the humans. Finally, the combined armies of the Masari, Novus and the humans attack and destroy the Purifier. Kamal Re'x is outraged and attempts to destroy them by himself, which instantly fails.

The armies argue over what to do with him, with the humans and Novus wanting to kill him for the damage he caused to the galaxy and Earth. But the Masari queen says that death is not the answer. She then apparently gives Kamal the power of a god which he uses to destroy them all, at least in his eyes. The queen is revealed to have actually trapped Kamal inside his own mind where he visualizes someone conquering the galaxy, but is never able to accomplish it himself. He was locked in the prison of his own mind, forever.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay is split between three modes, two of which are further divided into different game types.

The first mode is single player. These are games that are played exclusively by one human player against AI controlled opponents. This mode contains the campaign and scenario game types. In Campaign, the player controls one of the four factions, depending on which part of campaign is being played, and plays through various battles, accomplishing predetermined objectives to progress along the storyline and eventually "beat" the game.

Scenario mode gives the player a choice of one of the three main factions (Novus, the Hierarchy or the Masari) and then allows the player to choose a global situation and then take over the world. This mode is split between global strategy, which involves attacking neutral or enemy territories, constructing global structures and collecting resources; and tactical combat, in which the player must attack an enemy in an occupied territory in order to gain control of it, or defend one of their territories from an attempted invasion.

The second mode is the standard RTS skirmish mode. The player is given the option of playing against up to three opponents on the Xbox 360 or seven opponents on the PC. These opponents can be either AI controlled, or human controlled over an internet connection. The players are each given a base and a construction unit and must build up their forces to achieve domination of the chosen game map.

Audio[edit]

The Universe at War: Earth Assault Original Soundtrack was composed by Frank Klepacki and released on December 22, 2007.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 76% (PC)[4]
66% (X360)[5]
Metacritic 77% (PC)[6]
66% (X360)[7]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B- (PC)
Game Informer 8.3/10 (PC)[8]
GamePro 4/5(PC)[9]
GameSpot 7.5 (PC)[10]
IGN 8/10 (PC)[11]
OXM (US) 7.5/10

1up.com said that "If you can't wait another year for StarCraft II Petroglyph and Sega have what you're looking for"

Gamepro described Universe At War "like a breath of fresh air that carries with it the vague stench of something foul. It offers three interesting and diverse sides, great graphics, and some tantalizing strategic elements but it's afflicted by some unfortunate quirks that hold the game back."[9]

IGN remarked "What Petroglyph has done is to take the basic framework and use it to create a game with three wildly unique but finely balanced factions that each offer a level of real-time customization that gives players a chance to really adapt to the changing circumstances on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the game's campaign doesn't do justice to the overall design while a number of sticky interface and performance problems add to the frustrations."[11]

The Xbox 360 version of the game received a lower score than the PC version for "poor framerate" and "technical problems".

Awards[edit]

  • ActionTrip: Best strategy game of E3 2007.
  • Kotaku: Best strategy game of E3 2007.
  • CHUD: Sixth of Best of E3 2007, also the number one strategy game on the top ten list.
  • Game Critics nominee.
  • Number 9 on IGN PC Editor's most anticipated games.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Exclusive First Universe at War: Earth Assault Details". IGN. February 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  2. ^ Orry, James (May 10, 2007). "Universe at War coming to Xbox 360". VideoGamer. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  3. ^ Remo, Chris (June 27, 2007). "Universe at War to Support PC to Xbox 360 Play". ShackNews. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  4. ^ "Universe at War: Earth Assault (PC) Review - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  5. ^ "Universe at War: Earth Assault (X360) Review - GameRanking". GameRankings. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  6. ^ "Universe at War: Earth Assault (PC) Review - MetaCritic". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  7. ^ "Universe at War: Earth Assault (X360) Review - MetaCritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  8. ^ Biessener, Adam. "Universe at War: Earth Assault Review (PC)". GameInformer. Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  9. ^ a b Dagley, Andrew (18 December 2007). "Universe at War: Earth Assault Review (PC)". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  10. ^ Ocampo, Jason (December 19, 2007). "Universe at War: Earth Assault Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  11. ^ a b Butts, Steve (December 14, 2007). "Universe at War: Earth Assault Review (PC)". IGN - AU. p. 3. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 

External links[edit]