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  • Writer's pictureMatt Wilkins

Empire at War

By Tyler Campobasso

Released in 2006, Empire at War is a PC real-time strategy game that puts the player in control of the Galactic Civil War. The game was originally revealed in 2005, with Lucasarts stating that the studio known as Petroglyph would be handling production. With an original release date of late 2005, the game did not hit shelves until February 16, 2006 in North America.

The game itself allows the player to choose between two playable factions: The Empire and the Rebellion. The two factions are able to be played across three game modes, including campaign, galactic conquest and skirmish. Skirmish is the most basic mode, allowing players to choose either a space or ground setting. The objective of this mode is to either destroy all opposing player structures/buildings, or destroy all the enemy forces. Campaign is self-explanatory, as the game has both an Imperial and Rebel campaign to play through. Last mode is called galactic conquest, and it is by far the most fun. Galactic conquest allows for an entire galaxy of planets to be conquered and controlled. Players can expand their factions, build massive fleets, and even build the Death Star and destroy planets if Imperial.

Gameplay allows players a top-down view of the battlefield at all times. Combat can be paused to take control of individual units or an entire fleet. Players can order units to attack enemies, guard allies, or just move to another location. Most ships have special abilities, such as the Mon Calamari MC-80 ship's ability to increase shield power for a short amount of time. At the galactic level, players can upgrade space stations for better units, and build structures on the ground. Different factories can be made for land units, mines can be made for more income, or even turbolasers to defend against invasions.

Both campaigns begin a few years prior to A New Hope and go through the Battle of Yavin. There are plenty of important lore elements within both campaigns. The Rebel campaign sees the player first acquire prototypes for X-wings at Wayland, then attack Fresia and control Incom Corporation. The theft of these fighters is depicted in the New Essential Chronology. An assault on Corulag is mentioned as one being a part of Operation Skyhook, as the Rebels assault one one of Grand Moff Tarkin’s research stations. The player also acquires the first Mon Calamari Cruisers for the Rebellion. This occurs after Mon Calamari slaves are freed from Corulag. The slaves notified Alliance High Command that plans for these ships were being stored on Carida, so a raid was launched to secure the ship designs. It is after this set of missions the Battle of Yavin occurs.

The Imperial campaign’s first arc involves tracking down and killing a rogue Imperial moff. You are tasked with locating and capturing Moff Kalast for conspiring with the Rebellion. One mission includes the introduction of AT-ATs into the Imperial military. Although AT-ATs already existed (since Republic), Colonel Veers improves upon its design and the player uses the ones seen in The Empire Strikes Back. Alongside the hunt for Kalast, the campaign sees the Imperial player searching for the Death Star plans, which have been transferred from many hands, including Kalast and a sect of rebellious Bothans. The campaign climaxes with a large space between the Empire and Kalast, aided by the Rebellion. When the battle is won, the Empire sets off to Tatooine to track down Princess Leia Organa and thus begins A New Hope.

This game has tons and tons of playable units from the EU. Both Kyle Katarn and Mara Jade are recruitable heroes in the skirmish gamemode. Although Kyle would still be an Imperial at the time of the game in-universe, he is a recruitable Rebel hero.

There are of course original trilogy and prequel planets like Hoth, Coruscant and Yavin, but there are tons of planets from the EU as well. Planets/locations from the EU include:

- Abregado-rae

- Aeten II

- Alzoc III

- Anaxes

- Atzerri

- Bestine

- Bonadon

- Bothawui

- Byss

- Carida

- Corulag

- Eriadu

- Fondor

- Fresia

- Ilum

- Jabiim

- Korriban

- Kuat

- Manaan

- Mon Calamari

- Polus

- Nal Hutta

- Ryloth

- Shola

- Thyferra

- Wayland

- Vergesso Asteroids

Units for the Empire and Rebellion from the EU:

- TIE Mauler

- 2-M Saber Tank

- T2-B Tank

- T4-B Tank

- MPTL-2a artillery

- Rebel Assault Frigates

- Imperial Broadside Cruisers

- Marauder Cruisers

- Tartan-class Patrol Cruisers

There are also iconic units, such as Imperial Star Destroyers and Y-Wings, but the passion of the game developers is something to be appreciated. EaW released a second title, Empire at War: Forces of Corruption in 2007 that greatly expanded upon the first game in a number of ways that significantly improved the game and combat.

EaW is truly a fantastic game and its successor is my personally most played game of all time, as modders have modernized the game and improved upon all aspects. This game is highly recommended for all levels of fans. It has all the iconic heroes and ships, and has a ton of EU content that more hardcore fans can appreciate.

Thanks for reading and MTFBWY!

1 comment

1 Comment

nathan wimer
nathan wimer
Sep 03, 2022

If anyone is interested in playing Empire at War with the Forces of Corruption expansion pack with easy access to mods Steam is the perfect place to do so, it also has a variety of other Star Wars games that are optimized for laptops and modern computers like KOTOR 1 and 2 as well as Galactic Battle Grounds and Jedi Academy/Outcast.

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