The Badlands cluster, 100 years after the first Independence War.
Your father was killed by the Corporations for a bad debt and you have spent 5 years rotting in jail for trying to get justice. Now it's time for vengeance.
Now it's time to turn back the Corporations before they corrupt the entire Universe. Now it's time to take control of the universe's most advanced interstellar hardware and wage war in the greatest space-sim ever conceived.
Command four space vessels and a band of revolutionary pirates into an all-consuming battle against impossible odds, because there just isn't enough Space for everyone!
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: EVERYONE with Animated Violence, Mild Language.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1.8 GHz Processor, 512MB RAM (1 GB recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 8 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), 2GB HDD, Mouse, Keyboard
Posted on 2010-07-06 06:57:47 byBeckett:
Independence War II is one hell of an ambitious game; it's part space combat simulator, part space trader, set in an enormous universe with a unique back-story. Once you get deep into the game, you'll find that it's heavy on story, heavy on combat, and a bit light on the trading. It's also extremely difficult.
I can't say enough good things about the game engineread more and the way space travel is handled in Independence War II. The universe presented to the player is trillions of miles wide and contains over a dozen separate star systems made up of hundreds of planets and bases. And believe it or not, it's all precisely mapped out in a single 'star-map', which lets you logically cycle through all the available systems, planetary orbits, lunar orbits, and space stations. The interface is cleverly designed, allowing you to quickly browse through hundreds of possible destinations while still giving a sense of the immense distances between them.
There are three methods of travel in the game. First is your ship's engines. Second is a sort of light-speed warp drive. And third is instant travel between 'Wrinkle in Time' style jump-points. A well designed auto-pilot system allows you to simply select a destination from the star-map and command your ship to take you there the quickest way possible, but you always have the option to fly there manually instead. The game does require some patience to get from one place to another; traveling from your base to the start of a mission generally takes about five to ten minutes. Incredibly there are no loading screens, even when traveling from one end of the 'known universe' to the other.
The space travel and weapons technology portrayed in the game is well thought out, with a lot of clever touches - like how the game's fictional jump-point technology is associated with the real scientific phenomenon of Lagrange points, or how your warp drive can be disabled by dampening fields. These game mechanics provide a sense of scientific believability while also serving to enhance the gameplay. The game contains an extensive in-game encyclopedia which discusses many of these concepts, as well as outlining all of the spaceship technology available to you and providing a brief history of the star systems in your neck of the universe.
Independence War II has a very engaging story. I'm not sure why I connected as strongly with the story and characters as I did. But from that opening cinematic on, I was on the edge of my seat. (I'm sure it helped that the cut-scenes and the voice acting are both of outstanding quality.) A lot of the story progresses through emails that you receive at your base, but there are also cut-scenes and radio communications scattered throughout many of the missions. I thought the game did a great job of telling a coherent and meaningful story while still allowing you to do many of the missions in whatever order you wanted to. The middle Act is especially good in this regard: it begins with one simple objective, to "find allies in other systems". And as you explore the universe and make new allies, that one objective snowballs into dozens of missions. Unfortunately, not all of the sections of the game provide as much flexibility as this middle Act.
The other aspect of the game, the pirating and trading, is of course extremely open ended. Many different factions exist in the world of Independence War II (government, corporations, allies, enemy pirates, etc.) and they are all constantly moving cargo between their bases. All of that cargo is available for you to hijack, provided that you can deal with the escorts protecting it. At your base, you can trade captured cargo items for spaceship technologies and then add those upgrades to your ship. I found this part of the game to be very addictive; there are many ship upgrades available and it takes most of the game before you can obtain them all. I generally found myself alternating between storyline missions and freelance pirating expeditions. Unfortunately, the pirating and trading aspect of the game isn't quite as deep as it seems at first. You can't obtain more than three ships during the whole game, so once you've gotten your hands on the best ship and fully upgraded it, there's no point in pirating or trading beyond that.
The combat is unique compared to other space combat games. A realistic physics model and sense of inertia make it difficult to turn on a dime or reverse direction suddenly, so most of the time, you don't want to be flying forward at maximum speed. Your ship is also equipped with lateral thrusters, allowing you to strafe left and right as easily as forward and backward. The ship's maneuverability and the way you'll want to fly it is similar to the ships in the Descent series; you need to do a lot of circle strafing and dodging of missiles to stay alive.
The biggest problem with this game--and it is a major problem--is that combat is very difficult and you cannot save your game mid-mission. Even after you master the necessary combat tactics and upgrade your ship pretty well, it's still surprisingly easy to die at the tail-end of a 20 minute mission. And boy does it suck when that happens several times in a row. In fact, the game is so difficult that even though I come back and replay it about once a year, I have yet to make it through the entire game without cheating. Each time I vow that I will not cheat, and I usually get a little further than before, but eventually I'll fail a mission several times in a row, get frustrated, and break out the cheats.
Another weakness of the game is that you often need to do things in a very particular way, but the objectives you are given don't get specific enough. For example, a number of missions require you to go steal a cargo pod from someone. In some cases, you are supposed to dock it to your ship and fly it back to where the mission started. In other cases, you are supposed to order your salvage guy to pick it up and take it back to your base. It's not always clear which you are supposed to do. Also, many missions require some puzzle solving to complete. For example, in most cases when you encounter an enemy base or capital ship, you can't just shoot the hell out of them; there's some secret weakness or clever tactic that you need to employ to take down their shields or get past their defenses. Your crew-members often drop some hints as to what you're supposed to do, but it still usually requires some experimenting, and you may occasionally get stumped.
If you love space combat games, welcome a tough challenge, enjoy a good science fiction story, and have some patience, then I recommend this game to you.
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Posted on 2010-07-06 15:13:25 byChuckaluphagus:
I still have my original install discs for this, and it's still loaded on my hard drive. Even nine years on, it amazes me how good this game looks on a modern system. Independence War 2 did a better job of making outer space feel like outer space - as opposed to a giant, zero-gravity encounter area - than any other game I've found.
It isn't perfect. For one, the combat can beread more quite punishing if you're accustomed to other space sims. Don't bite off more than you can chew, and you can't chew much at all to start with. But it's good, and very much worth playing.
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Posted on 2010-07-06 06:40:24 byrob.liefeld:
Ah, it's finally here!
If you're familiar with the first installment in the independence war series,
I guess you were looking forward to this game.
Well, you'll be surprised.
This time around, you're on the other side of the fence,
in a role of an outlaw, seeking revenge.
You steal cargo, you blow everything apart, and the corporation is always
on your tail.
As you might assume,read more this game is more combat oriented than the previous one,
and the controls are much simplified.
You can look at both aspects as good or bad, it really just depends on personal taste.
Your humongous starship, and realistic physics are still there however, so I got the same kick out of it, and the combat itself felt more fun (not to mention, the graphics are vastly improved).
My only complain would be that this game is VERY HARD.
Independence war I was hard because you felt you were actually in control, of a large starship,
Independence war II just kics your ass over and over again :)
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