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Dark Reign 2

"With the recent onslaught of 3D RTS (Real Time Strategy) games, it can be very difficult to differentiate one from the next."

With 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 less).

Dark 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 human/pigs.



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).

Thankfully 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.

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