Homeworld 2 Review – PC

Wow – what an earth am I doing reviewing a game from 2003?

Ten years old this year, Homeworld 2, for me, exhibits qualities that mark it as one of the greatest games ever created. It’s replay value still continues to astonish me as every couple of years, I dust off my copy and load up the game, glad to hear of the various hacks that enable me to play this antiquated game on a Windows 7 PC.

For those of you who are either products of a newer gaming generation, or perhaps you’ve been living under a rock, Homeworld 2 is a space sim of astonishing beauty. Set in deep space, you are surrounded by eerie music, stunning backdrops of nebulas, collapsing stars and leviathan chunks of debris that throw hints towards a bygone era of space travel that predates anything you’re engaged in.

As commander of a homeless mothership, you hyper-jump from mission to mission, engaged in a never ending battle between the Vagyr whilst occasionally defending yourself from dormant alien vessels intent on protecting some yet unfound treasure from you.

Combining aspects of resource gathering with heavy strategic real time combat, the game creates an alchemy of intense fleet management that is as exciting as it is upsetting. You silently cheer as your controlled fleet of 7 interceptor squadrons succesfully repel a bomber fleet, yet over the AI tannoy you hear “Battlecruiser lost”.

It’s moments like this that make you realise how atteched you become to your fleet, knowing in detail the quantities of each of your ship types and trying hard to ensure they make it to the next mission.

It’s damned hard too, but games didn’t know how to troll back then. You die because you made a mistake. No problem, try a different strategy.

It’s so beautiful to play in too. Vapour trails follow each ship and missiles leave off smoke lines and it’s not until you zoom in out of curiosity to watch the missile in flight you realise that it actually splits into 4 micro missiles, each with their own vapour trails, creating a stunningly captivating fireworks display as one by one they strike their target.

There’s also some secret to the textures and models as they are clearly designed by a team of people who know and understand sci-fi. Many films have been studied here and they’ve got some excellent models, especially the mothership.

The music is haunting and the entire game feels grandiose, it’s better than you because it’s dealing with a level of intelligence that has transcended theology and simple pursuits.

This game makes it to my top 3 games of all time. Nothing else to say.