It's the usual sci-fi fare. Mysterious artefact found, scientists baffled, turns out to be some kind of alien transport device. Jodie Foster is too expensive to hire, so Russell the rat is chosen to be the first inter-galactic explorer. Off goes Russell and "whoops' most of the earth is transported with him and slapped down in the middle of the alien planet, named Morgana IV. 70 per cent of Earth's reluctant travellers have died during the trip and the remaining 30 per cent are battling it out between themselves and the local inhabitants for control of the planet. This is where you and Shattered Galaxy come in.
This particular massively multiplayer RTS comes courtesy of Nexon Studios, creators of Nexus TK and Dark Ages, and follows in same tradition of valuing challenging gameplay over flashy graphics. The game is in its public beta-testing stage at the moment, so anyone can download the 64Mb client and join the battle. It's relatively simple to get started: you create your hero, their name, faction and appearance. You also start with a few stats to play around with and these will increase after a few good battles. Tactics' relates to how many units you can control in a battle. You start of with a band of six units, chosen from infantry, mobile units, aviation and specialists, and this number can increase to ten for experts. This doesn't sound a lot for an RTS, but the number of upgrades and equipment available for your units makes them function much more like a Baldur's Gate-style RPG party. 'Clout' determines the quality of your basic unit and chassis, 'Education' relates to weapons and advances, and 'Mechanical Aptitude' gives you access to all the fun stuff and enables you to customise your units with more gadgets than a Bond film. It's wise to leave your settings on default until you get to know your units' capability and establish a battle style.
There's a relatively small singleplayer section, which functions as both a tutorial and a way of allowing you to build up some experience points before you get to the juicy bits. When you feel in need of some serious action you can bring up a map that shows you every batde happening on the planet. You'll need to get authorisation from your faction commander (the player with the highest Tactics rating) to accept you into the battle zone. Acceptance will depend on how full the battle is and presumably the commander's mood. Victory is based on a King Of The Hill type system wherein your mission is to capture and hold the enemy's PoC (Points of Control) and at the same time defend your own.
Although visually SC is a cut above its Nexon predecessors, it's still a basic 2D environment, rather like a sub-standard Starcraft, so don't expect anything too pretty. However, where the game does excel is in its dynamic and addictive multiplayer system, combining solid strategy with elements of successful online RPGs such as Diablo II, making it a gem for all dedicated RTS fans.
Download Shattered Galaxy
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Scientists tinkering with alien artifacts manage to transport a handful of inanimate objects, after that success they decide to try it on a rat. Bad idea. Not only does the rat go for a little trip, so does a big chunk of the planet and its population.
Soon the newly relocated earthlings are stealing more alien technology and getting into plenty of trouble as they attempt to take over the new planet and its galaxy.
Shattered Galaxy is the first in what I hope will be a long line of new Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) genres to hit the market. Up until now the only way you could play massively multiplayer online was if you were into RPGs as in Everquest, Ultima Online, or the under-development World of Warcraft. But Shattered Galaxy takes MMOGs to a whole new level with the advent of the Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy game or MMORTS.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
In Shattered Galaxy you play a hero who commands a squad of 48 different combat units. The game is broken down into two types of gameplay: combat mode and hero mode.
In hero mode you can wander around the territories owned by your faction, training your units in fake combat, beating up on aliens, and upgrading, repairing and buying new units. Most of this mode has the feel of Ultima Online with an isometric view and a small character that you move by pointing and clicking at destinations. Luckily, most of the game is typically spent in combat mode.
Combat in Shattered Galaxy plays a lot like Command & Conquer: Red Alert or Starcraft. You control a squad of units in what can become an enormous battle between dozens of allies and enemies, each with their own squads to command. Lose your squad and you have to wait a set time to send reinforcements to the battle. Run out of reinforcements and head back to hero mode to await the outcome.
A battle starts when you or your team enters an enemy controlled sector in hero mode or an enemy invades one of your sectors. You join the battle by clicking on an icon that brings up a map of the sectors with icons representing where battles are and who is fighting whom. The commander of a particular battle, that would be the person who started the fight, has the say on whether you can help. Once a battle starts you have 20 minutes to capture and hold the sector's point of controls. Whoever has the points when the battle ends wins the sector.
Another interesting aspect of the game is that there is no resource gathering. Instead you get resources like an allowance and the amount is dependent on how actively you help attack and defend sectors. You use these resources to purchase and upgrade your units. Units come in four basic flavors: mobile (tanks and anti-aircraft); air (spaceships and planes); infantry (typically mechs); and Organic (these are alien nasties that use acid and other organic forms of attack).
You can also spend money on upgrades such as new engines, weapons or special attacks. As you grow in experience, through battles, you can add points to your hero's four attributes, which will boost your ability to get better units, better upgrades and will make your units better fighters.
This is a MMOG so don't forget that besides shelling out the $29.95 for the game you'll have to be making monthly payments of $9.95 or an annual fee that works out to $5 a month. But don't worry -- all that cabbage goes into developing the game and keeping up scripts, plots and "events" like alien mutations that affect your units and such.
Well, this is a MMOG so it has to have some pretty major multi support, which it does. To start, you might eventually get some sleep, but this game doesn't. Your hero exists in a persistent world that's around and doing things 24 hours a day, seven days a week and with support for more than 100,000 simultaneous players you can expect things to happen when you're not around. Like losing a world or two. Moreover, each faction (that's like a team) has to have a supreme commander who can issue edicts, like ordering up a massive attack. Thing is, all the players in a faction actually get to vote on who this is. Once the overlord is elected, that person can be just as easily kicked out. You also have the ability to hang around and chat, but I didn't see a lot of that going on because the game itself is so enthralling.
These aren't the best graphics in the world (think Red Alert) but they really can't be, in order to support the size of some of the battles I've seen. It's amazing to watch, heck, to participate in a war that involves 20 players and more than 200 units.
Again not earth shattering, no pun intended, but still good enough to make the game worthwhile.
Pentium II 266 MHz, 64 MB ram, 4MB video card, 28.8 modem, and Windows 95 or above.
Read the directions, I never, I mean never, read instructions but this is one game where you have to. There are simply too many formulas and equations involved in determining character and unit bonuses to be able to wing it.
It's truly heartening to see an independent gaming company come out with such a strong title. The fact that Nexus did so and in essence created a new genre makes it all the better.
When I first started playing SG I thought the gameplay was a bit amateurish and not nearly deep enough to keep my interest. All I have to say is give the game a bit of time and you'll start to see all of the hidden nuances that make it a wonderfully addictive game, as well as a challenging new way to play strategy. Best yet, you can kick ALL of your friends' collective butts at the same time.