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SummaryTotal Annihilation, with a story and *different* units
The GoodIt had a really good story. This isn't what I expected from the TA line of games, and it certainly wasn't why I bought the game. I just enjoy all things Medieval, so I figured, great, TA with Medieval units. The story was detailed, made sense, and was actually pretty good.
The units, while similar, were different in looks *and* abilities, yet still very balanced. One of the groups didn't even have towers, but instead had huge, boulder-throwing...somethings. I called them "mobile towers" because they basically were. If it had a line of sight on an enemy unit, it usually walloped it in one or two throws (imagine eight mobile towers, and you have quite a fortress without walls). But beware, you have zero walls, and are prone to rush attacks.
Each group was set up to take advantage of the story, and had abilities that coincided with their history. One was earth-based, and had what you would expect in earth-based units (like mobile, boulder-throwing towers). Another was mostly sea-based. There are more, but I'll spare you the details and leave some surprise.
I don't do on-line gaming, but this game does have it.
TAK also has a good deal of replay value, but not with the story. The only replay goes with the random maps and random fights. It should keep you going for quite some time (as if the story didn't by itself).
Graphics and sound are both as you would expect for this era of game. The better your machine, the better those really high resolutions will look.
The BadLoad times are long even on a 1.2 Ghz (relatively). Grab the patch for this game to help fix that.
Control was a bit odd at times, but that was possibly just me. I don't really care for single-click interfaces. I prefer to use click to move, and right-click to attack. Loading units in transports was really odd, too. The way you do it is click on the transport, then mysteriously *teleport* units to your ship. I fumbled with this for awhile, trying to walk my units to a transport like WC2.
The Bottom LineIf you liked Total Annihilation, you won't likely be disappointed with this game. If you like Medieval things in general, you'll probably like this game, too. Ditto for stories.
If TA got old, you'll enjoy this game for awhile (particularly if you like well-told stories), but it may get old after a few days or hours.
It doesn't have quite the classic little quirks that WarCraft 2 had, but it has some really fun units.