Homeworld 2 PC

User Score
8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 129 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 129
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  1. 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 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 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. Expand
  2. LokeszH.
    Oct 25, 2004
    4
    Real downer this one. Try to play bad! Loose almost everything before you just win a scenario. The AI is 'adaptive' and throws 4 times your amount of ships in the next scenario.
  3. Objectmaster
    Oct 25, 2003
    2
    Agree with most of the other comments, compared to HW1 this is way too difficult...so difficult in fact that the only strategy is: build super big fleet -> move everyone into battle -> loose fleet -> rebuild fleet -> repeat. Now, this tactic may appeal to some, but not to me. Next to that, the AI launches continous strikes against your fleet, don't bother using carriers for anything Agree with most of the other comments, compared to HW1 this is way too difficult...so difficult in fact that the only strategy is: build super big fleet -> move everyone into battle -> loose fleet -> rebuild fleet -> repeat. Now, this tactic may appeal to some, but not to me. Next to that, the AI launches continous strikes against your fleet, don't bother using carriers for anything but production and supply, you'll have your fighters in the field all the time. Graphics, are a lot better, and I also think they improved the interface. I'm always tempted to try again, but after 20 minutes get bored rebuilding my fleet over and over again. There is no cheat available that would make it any less difficult, unlimited RU's only prolongue your suffering. Example, in mission 4 (thats where I gave up), you at some point get a dozen frigates, 1 missile frigate, and 2 dozen corvettes move against your forces, I had the max. allowed units for all types, balanced well (fighters/corvettes/frigates), but still had my entire force obliviated. Had to rebuild, in the faint hope this was all, guess what! The entire enemy force, as described above, reappeared the moment I had my force rebuilt. Tedious, or what? I bet I could be sitting here, killing thousands of enemies and get very old and still have continous attacks. What's the strategy behind that? Make me hate life? Expand
  4. PalmerW.
    Sep 21, 2003
    0
    The game installs fine.. But after that its useless... When i try to play the game it sends me to a black screen for a few secs.. Then it puts me back to the desktop.. So i go to the siera fourms for help.. When i get there i find that 100 other people have the same problem.. And no one is being helped.. This really disappoints me..
  5. RavindK.
    Oct 7, 2004
    3
    I played HWC, and i loved it. You really had to think, the AI level was well balanced-easy at first, much much harder later. There were some levels that were easy, some hard. but always there was space to breathe. IN HW2, there is no room to breathe. yeah great graphics, great gameplay, but whats the point if the game is bad? the AI only knows one thing-build build build build build build.I played HWC, and i loved it. You really had to think, the AI level was well balanced-easy at first, much much harder later. There were some levels that were easy, some hard. but always there was space to breathe. IN HW2, there is no room to breathe. yeah great graphics, great gameplay, but whats the point if the game is bad? the AI only knows one thing-build build build build build build. And you can only build build build build build. theres no end to it. at the third level, when the three carriers appear, i had 5 bomber squadrons. i hit on fighter facility, went to the next, and when i got that, the other was rebuilt! i give up. Expand
  6. FredE.
    Sep 10, 2005
    2
    The audio&visual artists did a fine job on this title and the engine looks good. On the game design side I have to say it showed little intelligence. Truly amateurish. The tactics and strategies of this game can only be interresting to a computer. For me it looks like hard work playing this game. The bottom line of the game seems to be this: harvest, build, build; throw your pretty little The audio&visual artists did a fine job on this title and the engine looks good. On the game design side I have to say it showed little intelligence. Truly amateurish. The tactics and strategies of this game can only be interresting to a computer. For me it looks like hard work playing this game. The bottom line of the game seems to be this: harvest, build, build; throw your pretty little toys at his; repeat... Perhaps in the next 5 years the RTS copycat industry would learn something from games like Opperation Flashpoint. Expand
  7. KelemvorG.
    Oct 31, 2003
    2
    I was extremly excited when i learned, that HW2 has gone gold. I was eager to play it, so i got it from a friends who bought it the day it was in stores. The Intro was ok..the quality level was expected. But the story is a little bit lame. Than i saw the graphics..not much change there..little bit polishing, but the models are still blocky and the new ships looked very "random" in I was extremly excited when i learned, that HW2 has gone gold. I was eager to play it, so i got it from a friends who bought it the day it was in stores. The Intro was ok..the quality level was expected. But the story is a little bit lame. Than i saw the graphics..not much change there..little bit polishing, but the models are still blocky and the new ships looked very "random" in comparison to the streamlined and effective HW1 designs. Music was good, sound was ok. BUT...here comes the big flaw: The game is too fast, to hectic and very difficult. Not because the AI is good..it is not, or the tactics which are used against you..no..just because the enemy is throwing wave after wave of ships against you. No time to breath no time to harvest ressources in a silent minute. The is HW1 stripped of every feeling, stripped of every tactic and stripped of every fun. I loved HW1 and Cataclysm...there where time for battle and time for slow ressource-harvesting. Not in this game...it reminds me of Z. A RTS of some age...you had no minute to breath, a pause meant end of mission. HW2 is a big disappointment. HW is dead.:( Expand
  8. BrianG.
    Sep 29, 2003
    2
    A complete disappointment as is. Far too difficult to accomplish without having to replay the same levels over and over again. Auto harvest and hyperjump makes no sense given the games difficulty (you can't catch your breath between missions). I loved HW1 and played the SP mission several times but HW2 leaves you more frustrated than satisfied. I read elsewhere a description of the A complete disappointment as is. Far too difficult to accomplish without having to replay the same levels over and over again. Auto harvest and hyperjump makes no sense given the games difficulty (you can't catch your breath between missions). I loved HW1 and played the SP mission several times but HW2 leaves you more frustrated than satisfied. I read elsewhere a description of the game as a frantic "Wack-a Mole" style game' and that's about the best way to sum this game up. There is just not the feel like HW1 BTW the manual is terrible and I think Sierra is banking on a lot of people buying the Strat. Guide. Expand
Metascore
83

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Game Informer
    93
    The backgrounds are absolutely amazing, and you may find yourself studying your ships to admire their incredible detail. [Nov 2003, p.172]
  2. From its finely honed user interface to its nearly flawless campaign and PvP modes, Homeworld2 is a breath of fresh air when most games of its ilk are bogging themselves down with needless complexity.
  3. Cheat Code Central
    90
    It can be a little slow going at times but that's because the focus is on real time strategy. The whole game is about conflict, but it goes about it in a more sophisticated way.