Ground Control 2

It has been four years since the grand armies clashed in Ground Control and now RTS fans can rejoice as Ground Control II Operation Exodus is here and it is brandishing lavish graphics and an impressive campaign.

Cast as a Captain in the Northern Star Alliance named Jacob Angelus players must protect their home planet from the brutal attacks by the Terran forces. Using a wide range of units ranging from ground, air and foot units, players can adjust such factors as armor thickness and unit experience can all help your troops survive.

Unlike traditional RTS games, players do not have to worry about harvesting resources or constructing units. Instead, players obtain new vehicles and troops via a dropship that descends with needed help. The catch is that players must control landing zones for the ships, making it vital to defend the area as your enemy will also be looking for a place to land his troops. A well-timed flanking move can capture vital zones thus cutting off a larger force from resupply.

Units are very impressive in their detail and the very large and lavish maps are well stocked with all manner of buildings and foliage. One of my favorite tactics is to hide units in the trees and set up a nice ambush for those who make the mistake of coming into range of my units. Raised levels, bunkers and guard towers also add to the excitement, as being able to zoom in on a unit and watch the battle up close is an impressive feature of the game.
The sound effects and music are first rate as you can hear the shells and bullets fly as a pulsing rock tack will keep players on their toes as the line between victory and defeat can be razor thin. While the voice acting is not fully utilized, you will be to busy trying to survive to worry about it.

The campaigns are very large and often involve the need to manage many battles on different fronts, as the enemy units are not against staging small attacks to draw you away from their primary focus. With 24 missions each needing between 30-90 minutes to complete the value of Ground Control II is evident, as players will get their moneys worth and more.

Multiplay fans will delight that not only can missions be played in a co-op mode, but with easy matching and connection via the Massgate system, players will have no issue finding plenty of people to play with or against. I was very impressed with the drop in nature of the multiplay matches that allow you to enter a game already in progress and get to the non-stop action.

The camera angles of the game and some of the A.I. and pathfinding may be a bit frustrating for some, once you get used to the setup and controls, players will delight in the very vast and complex campaigns and the very impressive attention to detail that the game features. Easily the best RTS of the year and one the sets the bar for all rivals to aspire to

4.5 stars out of 5.