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Written by  :  Raphael (1261)
Written on  :  Oct 29, 1999
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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An excellent 'Mech game

The Good

The graphics are amazing. Also, it was one of the first Win95-only games which made it easy to get running. I don't think it ever locked up (amazingly!), and it ran really fast. The sounds of the weapons, and the weapons themselves (excluding the missiles) were pretty awesome. The 3D "virtual reality" environment is still very impressive. The missions are challenging.

The Bad

A big, big problem I have with ES2 is the lack of mouse support during the missions. You can turn the HERC's turret, but only with the keyboard or joystick. I find it much easier to use the mouse to turn the turret. :) In this aspect, MechWarrior 2 blows ES away.

The mission briefings were really boring... sitting there listening to General Gierling going on and on. I think they could have done that a little better. The actor who played Gierling was great, don't get me wrong, but all he did was sit there and read. It would have been better if he had a bigger role in the game.

The plot (of ES I and II) left a lot to be desired. It's basically the same as the Terminator movie, except with HERCs instead of Terminators. Dynamix had the contract for the original MechWarrior and when FASA went to Activision to make MWII, Dynamix still wanted to make 'Mech games and they basically threw ES I together. ES II isn't a whole lot different from ES I (a few new HERCs, some new graphics), so they can be considered together. ES I and II have far superior graphics to Mechwarrior 2 (the unaccelerated, basic version), but they lacked the rich universe that FASA has spent 15 years creating to back MW up. The FASA/MechWarrior/BattleTech universe is by FAR more detailed than either ES or Heavy Gear, with RPG's and about a hundred books written my major sci-fi authors to broaden its source base. Dynamix hired various people (published sci-fi writers, etc.) to develop the ES universe for Starsiege (ES III), but Starsiege was a major disappointment to me, and that's for another review. :)

The Bottom Line

This is from my homepage:

The biggest difference between Mechwarrior 2 and Earthsiege is that MW2 has the rich universe FASA has created behind it, so it has a grand story that you, as a player, are fighting in. ES doesn't have this... basically, if you watch the Terminator you know what ES is about.

More specific differences include: in Mechwarrior you must manage heat buildup as a result of firing weapons, which isn't a factor in Earthsiege. Also, in MW 'Mechs can have jump jets (which let them fly for limited distances), but the ES "HERCs" are ground-only except for the Razor aircraft.

Overall, ES2 is a great game, except for the lack of mouse support. If you like 'Mech-type games, you can't miss it!