the recent onslaught of 3D RTS (Real Time Strategy) games, it
can be very difficult to differentiate one from the next. Despite
a fairly quiet year, RTS games seem to be coming back in style
with the advent of a few new ones, namely Ground
Control and Earth 2150. Activision and Pandemic Studios'
newest RTS title Dark Reign 2 hopes to build on the success
of previous RTS titles adding full 3D support, and an in-depth
story line (which is a prequel to the original Dark Reign no
Reign 2's opposing sides consist of the world protecting police
force, JDA (Jovian Detention Authority) against the Sprawlers,
a revolutionary band of rebels who are out to put an end to
the JDA for good. While it's not particularly clear why the
Sprawlers want to revolt, I guess it doesn't matter as long
as they get to kill stuff and have units that resemble mutated
If there is one thing Dark Reign 2 does well its graphics. Multiple
camera angles accent the beautifully rendered terrains rife
with realistic weather effects, and tank treads. Unfortunately
unit graphics are a slightly different story. While generally
good, the units do appear a little too cartoonish for my tastes.
Another disappointing item is the weapon effects, I don't know
what the developers were thinking, but laser blasts seem to
travel at speeds so slow you'd swear you were watching a 90-year-old
grandma crossing the street (ok, maybe its not that bad but
I needed to express my point).
with all the trileaner filtered textures, and transparent water
effects the game still manages to run at a solid 60 frames per
second at 1024x768x32 on my Athlon 750Mhz. Resolutions go as
high as 1920x1600, but aren't recommend unless you've got a
seriously fast machine, we're talking GHz here. Overall the
world graphics are great, I just wish the developers spent a
little more time on unit and weapon effect graphics.