Homeworld 2 PC

Metascore
83

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
Buy On
  1. netjak
    73
    The overall size of the maps, the idiocy of finding all the remaining units down to the last probe before moving on, and the sheer imbalance and poor tactics brought it down.
  2. Computer Games Magazine
    70
    For all its clumsy new baggage and rushed feel, Homeworld 2 takes itself seriously, designed from the ground up as a reward to the faithful rather than an olive branch to the casual newcomer. [Dec 2003, p.84]
  3. The core gameplay is involving and well executed, and bolstered by a great camera, solid controls and an intuitive interface. However, the sequel lacks any decisively outstanding or revolutionary features that truly invest the player in the storyline.
  4. The key problem is that just about all the good things about it are lifted straight from the original Homeworld, and there's really not a lot in the "enhancements" to this sequel which distinguish themselves above the first game.
  5. A sort of misguided reworking of "Homeworld," halfway between a rehash and a remodeling job, but with the intersting bits sanded off. The vividly distinct sides added in the "Cataclysm" expansion are gone, the clean interface is now a mess, and much of the strategy has been methodically cut out. [Dec 2003, p.126]
User Score
8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 128 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 40
  2. Negative: 8 out of 40
  1. Sep 22, 2011
    10
    You have to keep in mind, back in the old days I had only dabbled in a bit of C&C red alert and Starcraft as far as RTSs go. They weren'tYou have to keep in mind, back in the old days I had only dabbled in a bit of C&C red alert and Starcraft as far as RTSs go. They weren't anything special, I was far more involved in FPSs. So then, being a Trekkie... I go and buy Star Trek Armada. Ultimately a fun game, one of the better Star Trek games ever made, but pretty much a disappointment if you expected it to be more then Starcraft with starships. Then Homeworld 2 came out (I missed the boat on HW1), and what a revelation. Completely 3D environment, with no basebuilding, intelligent fleet formations and fighters all swarming around on their own. It was simply incredible. All from a completely new studio, out of the blue.

    And the environments they created... were completely breathtaking. Every Relic game has had that unique Relic art direction that utilizes quality concept art to bring the game to life. It's completely unrealistic, but space never looked more beautiful then in HW2. FreeSpace games come close, but staring at some of the backgrounds as your battle-weary ships sail past... it's majestic, breathtaking, elegant, operatic, awe inspiring... like looking at a brilliant sunset in autumn. The grandeur of the cosmos was perfectly captured.

    I dunno... it was the first, and still stands as the greatest 3D space RTS ever, as few of those as there are.
    Full Review »
  2. RickH
    Jan 3, 2010
    4
    I've beaten and replayed Homeworld 1 and HW Cataclysm more times than I can count (each time experimenting with different strategies or I've beaten and replayed Homeworld 1 and HW Cataclysm more times than I can count (each time experimenting with different strategies or using different units in ways I never had before just for the sake of experimentation and innovation). Dedicating countless hours just experimenting with every concievable tactic and use of the different ships in HW and HWC was a satisfying ordeal that helped one to appreciate the varying strenghts (and weaknesses) of each ship. I empathize with the intentions of the development team behind HW2 however this game is a frustratingly bittersweet experience at best. Graphically stunning with elegant backdrops; attractively designed ships; smooth animation physics; intense sound effects; as well as beautifuly rendered lighting/ particle effects are just some of the many possitive attributes HW2 uses to immerse the player into the complex and cinematic battles like no other RTS. Where then, did it all go wrong you ask? It fell apart in four critical areas. The story driven (vice gameplay...or atleast a mix of the two) mission designs, the absurdly imbalanced enemy A.I., the low survivability of capital ships, and unresponsive strike group tactics. Like so many have stated before, HW2 doesn't let the player "play". It instead puts them on a train and shuttles them through each mission giving them no opportunity to (1) regroup and rebuild an the end of a challenging mission; (2) admire and absorb the beauty of the game and ship designs with some down time. The enemy AI is frustrating, not because it's actually good but because as it merely overwhelms the player with countless waves of unrelenting attacks. From the beginning of the game you're always reacting to a preemptive attack ever on the defensive. A typical game play experience goes like this: You're purposely placed at a tactical disadvantage as per story narration and you narrowly fend of an attack and flee to rebuild your fleet. In the mission where you're supposed to rebuild, you get...you guessed it, surprise attacked by ungodly numbers of enemies which you of course, defeat but at great cost to the fleet you were supposed to rebuild. The game auto-harvests the resources in the sector and shuttles you off to the next mission with said fleet still decimated. In the next mission the theme is for you to finally launch an attack of your own for what they did to you in the first mission. Alas, you cannot, because you're using the period of time when they don't know you're there to rebuild your fleet from the last encounter. Well too bad! because the theme of the last mission was "rebuild fleet", this one is "let's make them pay"...you don't have all day to stall before an enemy scout patrol discovers you and you loose the element of surprise. Oops! I spoke too soon you've been discovered and, you guessed it, waves upon waves of enemies are heading your way and they don't really care that you've only managed to rebuild 50% of your fleet. Another scenario is: Through sheer strategy, perseverance and the infinite RU cheat, you're 3/4ths of the way through the game and you've finally researched/discovered the biggest and baddest ships in the galaxy. Your fleet is large and impressive and you can't wait to see it in action. Fear not, because exactly one mission after acquiring the baddest ships in the quasar you'll be out numbered and outmatched 6 to 1. The heaviest ships will have an average life expectancy of 45 seconds and smaller warships will last all but 10 seconds tops when the fighting starts. Oh yeah, even with 3 carriers and 1 mothership on "pump-em-out-as-you-loose-em" mode you can't replace them fast enough. This brings us to the survivability of the capital ships. In HW1 a force of 40 strike crafts vs. a frigate is an ordeal that equals a 2 to 4 minite struggle before the frigate succumbs. You get the impression that the frigate is a ship, with shiplike armor and a crew of around 150 (like the manual indicates). A vessel carrying that much people should struggle for a while before being destroyed. In HW2 the ships are fancy and make you want to get attached to the survival of each one as you imagine the crew onboard. But as 4 squadrons of strike fighters (not even bombers) can make short work of an expensive frigate in HW2, you start to question the worth of each ship. Combining ships in a strike group is a partial solution at best. When a strike group enters combat, each ship attempts to attack what its good at attacking. Unfortunately, the different subclasses of ships always break ranks in every engagement. Imagine your frustration when you have a tightly grouped and protected formation on a collision course with an enemy battle group. You give the command for all units to force-attack the biggest enemy threat...which they all do. Problem is, 7 flak frigates caravan out from the formation one behind the other while they fire away. On the left, 5 torpedo frigates do the same. The ion canon frigates follow suit while the destroyer (the slowest one in the group) hangs way behind. After your strike package disperses, you then loose positive control as they're strewn across the battle space. Because each unit has specific strenghts and weaknesses, the enemy AI then exploits this lack of protection and you get to watch as your expensive warships get wasted one after the other. It seems someone at Relic forgot what it was like to have all ships attack a singular target from the wall formation of HW1...or the envelopement effects of the sphere formation in said game. No. We're left with a strike group that looks mean en-route but turns into an "every-man-for-himself" frenzy when the fighting starts. Also, an area of note on the story driven mission design I forgot to mention...After you've prepared for an impending enemy onslaught by placing your ships in a strike group, the story cutscene interjects with one more alert (usually of yet even more enemies coming from the rear as well) and automatically places all your ships back to parade formation. So now that you're royally unprepared your strategy is a mess as you attempt to reselect your units that are..you guessed it, already zigging and zagging all over the place fighting the enemy as individuals. The reason I said I could empathize with the developers is because while this game was being made, various interviews with them had expressed this installment's emphasis on strategy. Back then, they maintained that HW1 & HWC had loopholes that players exploited to make the game easier. In one respect I guess they're right. By the time I got to the last mission of HW1 I had close to 400 ships (Turanic Raider, Khadeshi, Taiidan). Heck, I even tried to capture the junk yard-dog ship. I've used over 30 salvage corvettes and 3 cloak gens in a sphere formation far above or below every major battle keeping them infinately invisible as an option while the battle raged on. HWC offered so many unique and specialized crafts that I couldn't help but exploit them. Therein lies what I believe is true strategy and replayability. I say this because...not once did I have to resort to outside cheating (manipulating of RUs, etc) just to survive. Simply put, the capture ploy is a strategy in and of itself for it is also a design feature of the game. It is not always easy, nor is it always successful. It requires dedication of time and concentration. Often times a 30 minute mission can turn into a 4 hr mission depending on how prepared one wants to be in the end. Simply design a game, make it challenging yet fair and above all else, let the player determine what methods he/she would like to use to reach the finish based on the tools you've given him/her. Replaying HW2 in order to go back and try something new will always lead back to "that one thing that works" and nothing else. When it comes to HW2, why should I have to maneuver my forces to delicately destroy all but 1 enemy craft just to keep from triggering a silly narration that would pit me against insurmountable odds before I'm ready? You see dear developers, that which i've just mentioned can either be seen as a loophole or a strategy for survival. Ultimately, the exploitation of loopholes and weaknesses is the goal of every strategist. Despite this fact, trying to force players to use strategy by using imbalance and rushing them will often effect more tactics to undermine the game's design itself vice the enemies within. Criticize this post if you like. Truth is i'm just a casual gamer who liked the HW games so much that I spent alot of time playing them. And so, 3/4ths of the way through HW2 when I saw how little value was placed on anything less than a battlecruiser or the dreadnought, I felt that the developers relegated all previous technologies to utter uslessness well before the game was over and just decided to uninstall and forget about HW2. But I couldn't...because of those overwhelmingly possitive qualities I mentioned earlier. So i keep it im my collection for the day a patch comes out that can correct these issues. Full Review »
  3. Sultry
    Sep 25, 2003
    10
    Wow. More than a video game.