Real-time strategy games are a dime a dozen these days. It
takes something incredibly original to stand out - otherwise
they go in the a) junkpile b) trashpile c) recycle bin (if they're
lucky) or d) the discount bin at the store, where no one'll ever
buy it again. Incidentally, KKND2 is an RTS game; however, I
would not attach it to the 'dime-a-dozen' category. Nor does it,
frankly, in my opinion, go into the one in a million class [and
believe me that I mean million - that is close to how many
RTSs there are around these days - only 3D shooters have more
clones :)]. The original KKND was original in certain ways, as
per its fans - I have not had the experience of playing it,
therefore I am unable to judge it based on the previous
experience. But anyway, to the review.
Graphics: 14 / 20
The graphics are relatively uneventful. The units are somewhat
personality-less, except for the Systech who, when walking
northwards looks exactly like Homer [Simpson, duh].
Incidentally, he happens to be the tech guy who fixes things -
such as plants. Irony? Maybe. The flying units look relatively
neat - but then again, it's fairly easy to make a cool air unit -
just copy the B-2, the SR-71 or the F-22. Or, mix all of the
above. Whatever. The terrain is varied, with lots of toxic waste
which looks kind of neat, with dead cars in it and stuff.
Reminds you of Fallout... but then again, this is not completely
Sound: 7 / 15
I was not impressed with the unit sounds. Let me rephrase. I
was NOT impressed with the unit sounds. Um. I won't rephrase,
but you get the point. Not only I don't like _what_ they say, I
don't like HOW they say it. Plus, they all say it the same way -
for example, a juggernaut uses the same voice as a bomber as
a kamikaze as a laser rifleman as a rocketeer as a ... well,
whatever. And too often they tend to say 'What the hell?' when
you give them commands, which I find positively annoying. If a
unit wants to smart mouth me, I don't want it to be a peon - I
want it to be a unit important enough for me to actually CARE
about it - and I positively do NOT about some infantry guy. It's
okay when Carriers tell you you will be relieved of command if
you keep procrastinating in StarCraft, but that's original and
cool - it's no longer cool in KKND2, it's annoying. Did they copy
Z? I don't know, it's been too long - I frankly don't remember - if
you do, email me :).
Gameplay: 21 / 25
KKND2 has the gameplay of a decent RTS. You build a base,
upgrade your technologies, then swarm your enemy, and a) kill
him b) he kills you. I am absolutely sure there are strategies
you can follow, and ways of defeating the enemy of which I am
not aware of, so please don't flame me about that - virtually
any (well-designed) game has different ways of doing things.
However, I tried skirmishing the computer, and I was NOT
impressed - perhaps after getting my butt kicked unexpectedly
by the StarCraft AI the first couple of times I played it. The
computer was kind enough to let me build a fully developed,
advanced base - and imagine my surprise when I flew over to
attack him with a couple of bombers and found him chock-full
of units that were just sitting there! That was NOT impressive.
(Those of you who've done level design for StarCraft, you'll
understand what I mean when I say Use Map Settings and the
computer AI). Anyway, that was just unacceptable - it only
came to attack me once, and it was not funny how easily I
crushed his attack, with almost no losses and/or any
significantly advanced units. Another neat thing is the
research, which I did not fully figure out, but it looks
immensely powerful - just the AMOUNT of stuff you can
research is quite daunting - and has a certain attractive thing
about it... makes you want to research... research... um, wait,
snap out of it, NOW.
Fun Factor: 14 / 20
It depends how much you are into this kind of games. If you
absolutely need the best and cannot stay with the middle of the
pack, you might wish to skip on this one. I doubt it could
possibly reach the sophistication level of StarCraft, or, much
less, Total Annihilation. However, there are certainly the
original fans of KKND, who will most probably love this one -
and not only because it's the sequel - just because it's a fairly
Multiplayer Play: 3 / 5
I was unfortunately unable to find a partner for this one, for
everyone I knew was either busy playing StarCraft, Unreal, or
hanging out 'somewhere other than home', if you know what I
mean. The computer AI, frankly, sucked, so I cannot help but
give it a middle rating - it could very well be much better.
Packaging: 5 / 5
HiD did a very neat thing which impressed me with its
simplicity - knowing the music was way too big to release it,
they MP3'd all of it, which brought it down to a manageable
size. Too bad the game can't play MP3's, otherwise you could
actually LEAVE them as MP3's... but they thoughtfully provided
you with a registered decoder, and a batch file to run to
decode the files. Good job.
Overall Impression: 7 / 10
I was not terribly disappointed, nor was it a title to write home
about. I did not particularly love it or hate it, but I'm keeping an
open mind about it - and given some time, I could maybe even
get to like it. Then on second thought, I could get to hate it,
then regret the wasted time - so I better not try.
The Good: some units look cool, you only manage one
resource (oil), research options are extremely advanced.
The Bad: units look kind of similar, take way too long to build
and are fairly uneventful; the oil tankers are SLOW (read this:
S-L-O-W); annoying sound effects; research options and
construction options may be TOO deep for certain people;
terrains look too similar (it's NOT [entirely] my fault the
screenshots look VERY similar).
In short: A decent RTS, which kind of overuses the Mortal
Kombat use of 'K' in the title (_K_rush, _K_ill, Destroy 2:
_K_rossfire); though it does not measure up to the likes of Total
Annihilation (and yes, the ever-present StarCraft) it still has its
niche in the bottomless well of RTSs (i.e., while others fall right
down to the bottom, this one hangs somewhere in the upper
middle). Hm, now where'd I get that imagery. If you're a
die-hard RTS fan, you may wish to check it out; it, however,
may be a bit too complicated for a beginner without the
Ugh. Strategy games are so numerous nowadays, it takes a
truly unique and well done game to stand out above the
crowd. KKND2 doesn't do this, in fact it stands at about the
crotch level compared to most other games.
There is no excuse for graphics like these if this game is meant
to compete head to head with the other strategy games. Put
up against Starcraft and TA, and even Dark Colony and Dark
Reign, these graphics are unacceptable. Although some of the
actual sprites for the buildings and units are kinda decent (not
a patch on TA's polygonal units/buildings, or even Starcraft's
lovely sprite based units), they are all animated poory. The
units are REALLY small (if you thought Starcraft had small unit,
check out some of the ones in this game; the soldiers are like
2 pixels tall), and they just slide across the screen with a
"walking" animation. It just looks bad. Many of the units are
just poor ripoffs from other games, they are almost impossible
to see, and some are just totally cartoony, and impossible to
take seriously. The buildings look ok, but they are hard to
figure out the function, as the look of the building sometimes
doesn't obviously reflect its function. For instance, a research
center is topped with a huge satellite dish, so it looks like a
radar/communications building. Weapons look weak and tiny,
it doesn't feel like you are actually doing much damage at all.
The terrain looks OK, but even though it has hills and stuff, it
feels and looks very flat and 2d. Graphically, this game barely
competes with the newer strategy games.
Sound is mediocre, it isn't absolutely terrible, but it definitely
doesn't compete with the better strategy games. Sound FX are
standard, music isn't present, and the voices of the units are
pretty bad. They say things like "What the hell?" and other
phrases that don't really make sense and don't fit the game.
There is a certain amount of attitude that works, like in
Starcraft, but acknowledgments like "What the hell?" just don't
make sense. Nothing much else to say about sound. It doesn't
help the game, it doesn't hinder the game.
Gameplay is, compared to any of the new real time strategy
games like Starcraft or TA (the obvious comparisons), bad. The
units are unimaginative, the missions are unoriginal and very
plain, and there are no unique or impressive features. This
game is missing all the critical elements to good gameplay.
On the plus side, there are the 3 different races/species, so the
gameplay is slightly different depending on who you play as.
On the minus side, the gameplay is BAD, no matter who you
play as. Due to the lack of good units/buildings, the strategy
you employ is very limited. This game is also missing the
fleshed out upgrade system, and other strategy game features
that should be standard in any product coming onto the market
now. The lack of units is probably the most glaring problem.
Unlike TA, with its dozens of units, or Starcraft with the highly
adaptable units, where there is always a "best unit" for the job,
and all units can work in different situations, the units in KKND2
just seem like random vehicles/units that have little strategy
value. I also can't get over the fact that the missions are just
boring. There is no plot progression, the missions are just
attached together in any which way. I thought that sort of
progression was left back in the early strategy games. The
mission objectives have absolutely no originality or fun factor
to them. They basically consist of "destroy the opposition".
There are no sabotage missions, no timed missions, there is no
real reason to be playing the levels. I think the only time
somebody can have fun with this game is if they haven't played
any of the other strategy games out there, and this is their first
experience. Everybody else will compare this to their favorite
game and go "geez this is just no fun at all".
Multiplayer is like single player, due to the unoriginal and
un-varied units, the strategy value is weak, and therefore the
entire gameplay is weak. There is only so much you can do
with such limited resources/buildings/units. Compared to
Starcraft, which I personally feel is the pinnacle of strategy
multiplayer, this is just completely blah. I couldn't play for very
long because I started to nod off halfway through.