Rules of Engagement 2


Title           Rules of Engagement 2
Company     	Omnitrend/Impressions
Game Type       Strategy
Players         1
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibility   All
Submission      Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Review
Like it's predeceesor, Rules of Engagement 2 is a realtime space strategy
game, concerning fleet command with strong RPG elements. Phew! It's
difficult to properly review the game without having spent a long time
immersing yourself in it's depths, and I have to admit that I've not got
that far into the game.
 It does seem to be more of an updated version of RoE than an entirely new
game, so if you have the chance of getting both, you're almost certainly
better off just buying RoE2. The second game is definitely a lot bigger,
weighing in at over 7 megs whereas the first game was less than 3. It's
also nice to see that they've organised everything into proper directories
on your hard drive rather than just dumping the lot into a single
directory.
 So it's an updated version of the first game with all the bells and
whistles that should have existed earlier but didn't? Well, not really,
no. In RoE, there was atleast a scene setting intro and some (admittedly
rather dodgy) title music. Nothing here, bar a couple of title screens. I
wonder if these things were lost in the conversion from the PC version.
Before you can do anything you'll need to go into the separate Builder
program and generate a character for yourself. Having done that you can
enter the game proper and go about a training mission or two. As with RoE.
there does seem to be rather a lack of background sounds, I know they
don't actually change tha gameplay, but they can really add to the
atmosphere, check out Millenium 2.2 and Deuteros for where this technique
is used really well. Perhaps the most obvious difference between the first
and second of the RoE games is the control method. It's basically the same
sort of thing, clicking on colour coded, labelled control buttons, or
using the keyboard equivalents, but in RoE1, each section, Tactical,
Comms, Navigation etc. had it's own screen that you could call up. In
RoE2, your screen is divided into four rectangular areas, where you can
assign any particular section. You can have Data Retrieval on the top left
and Tactical on the bottom right, and so on. I know what you're thinking
(punk), you're thinking this makes a lot of sense, and you're going to be
able to access the various functions more quickly and effectively, ideal
in a combat situation. The trouble is that all the sections have several
different screens for their various functions, so if you want, for
example, to send a radio message to one of your ships, that's fine except
if you haven't got  one of the other radio screens that displays the
incoming radio messages, you won't see any acknowlegement or know if your
orders have been complied with. This principle holds true for all the
sections, one of your tactical screens controls firing missiles and laser
weapons, but a separate controls the shields and mines. If you have to
have two tactical screens up, that's half your monitor disposed of anyway,
so I'm not entirely convinced that this new system of user configurable
mini-screens is as clever an idea as it sounds. I suppose though, that
when you're used to it, and you have a clear idea of what systems you'll
need to use in a hurry, it probably works pretty well. There are also four
pre-defined setups, representing different defence conditions, so I
suppose I should give the system the benefit of doubt.
To sum up then, Rules of Engagement 2 is, like it's predecessor, a rare
chance for the player to engage in involved and detailed space warfare.
It's obvious that the game system has not been whipped up in a hurry,
and that the programmers have really made an effort to provide us with a
game of epic proportions and plenty of depth. In my view though, they have
not completely taken advantage of the opportunity to bring more "sexiness"
and immediate appeal to what is already a very solid game indeed.



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