What does every real time strategist want?…Resources, and that is what exactly Etherium is all about. This Sci-fi real time strategy game was developed by Tindalos Interactive and is set way into the distant dark future, 3 factions are warring over the ultimate resource – Etherium! Hence the title my friends, what is this resource? Well they’re crazy space alien eggs; well technically speaking they’re eggs from mysterious inter-dimensional creatures, in which The Consortium – Ultra-capitalist Human company – that has took over and runs earth and its colonies with its private army, The Awoken of Inter – a highly advanced ancient spiritual race that worship and live of the essence of Etherium and lastly the Vecticides – the vehicles and structures seem bug like but they are shrouded in mystery, are all fighting over.
So these are the 3 main juicy factions that you, as a player, can get stuck in with. However you are not alone with one or both of these other factions in the heat of battle, on the map there will be a few sub-factions to think about, The Raiders, The Parasites and The Guardians, that you can either wipe out or attempt to form a temporary alliance in order to add a few extra units to your ranks.
By this point you’re probably wondering what the main differences are between the main factions, and for that I’ve got one word – units! Each race has their own unique units that each have perks and special abilities, you are able to select from a range of different units from infantry to aircraft, tanks and walkers, the more advanced units are unlocked as you upgrade your bases and overall resources. Although I did find that the tutorial wasn’t too forthcoming with info about unlocking these more advanced units, I mainly found out during the conquest mode when upgrading my overall technology level.
Now this game does remind me of the real time strategy titles of old, starting with a base that you can then upgrade for additional perks and units, this is NOT a base building game like the original Dawn of War series. What I was impressed with were the maps, each map is split up into different territories that each has a platform that enables you to build an outpost that you can upgrade to help your overall pool of resources and then defend with automated turrets.
What does mix up the experience is the in-game weather cycle that is a nice touch, during a game on an artic map I found a constant stream of blizzards that made vision more difficult; also rivers were frozen over so you were able to walk across so environments to have to be taken into consideration when planning strategies.
With 3 difficulty settings you’ll be able to find a level that suits you, but what can be tricky is that there is quite a learning curve to the game; I highly recommend the tutorial first as it’s not too long and really does go through what you NEED to know, it’d be very difficult to play with doing this first!
The overall aim of course is to wipe out your enemy, mainly their base, and as soon as you do that you get the win so not very ground-breaking on that part. This is all the skirmish mode really offers, if you’re looking for a deeper experience then the Conquest mode is definitely for you. In this experience you’ll start from the home planet of your chosen faction, only your view of the planet will be from space, on this hub you’ll be able to build new invasion fleets for the conquest of other planets as well as taking out enemy fleets, although the space battles are less than spectacular and probably could’ve been done a lot better to be honest.
Now let’s talk effects, graphics are adequate for a RTS game, but as any PC gamer knows it depends on the power that PC is packing, but even on a middle range laptop its fine and more than playable. The sound effects again are fine, nothing ground-breaking, not much bass to the explosions or gunfire, backing music is typical for the genre.
- Classic RTS game mechanics
- In game weather cycle
- In depth conquest mode
- Able to play multiplayer
- Interesting factions
- Could’ve done with more factions for variety
- Sounds effects are mediocre
- Tutorial good for basics but not advanced
- No in-game help menu
- Un-inspiring space battles
In conclusion the pro’s way out do the cons, so if you’re a fan of RTS games and the sci-fi genre then it is definitely worth the purchase (available on Steam), the game isn’t ground-breaking or leading the way for all new RTS games but will take you back the classic mechanics and its familiarities .
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