Generally favorable reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
Buy On
  1. Once again, the gents and ladies at Petroglyph haven't disappointed. However, there's still nothing groundbreaking to be had here and due to the aforementioned slip ups, the game failed to achieve its full potential. But it comes very close.
  2. Most video games use up all their gameplay ideas in the first few hours, but Universe is always offering something new. While all three races perform the basics of strategy games — gathering resources, building weapons and finding and destroying enemy bases — the way they approach these tasks is quite different.
  3. Overall Universe at War can be a lot of fun for strategy fans. However, some annoyances and the lack of any real innovation may be enough to turn off the more casual player or those who are burned out on the standard strategy game paradigm.
  4. PC Gamer
    It's far from perfect, but Universe of War accomplishes what few RTS games have dared to attempt--introducing three sides that have completely unique gameplay experiences. [Jan 2008, p.76]
  5. Universe at War is a diamond that is a bit rough, a game with great potential, but it is sabotaged by the LIVE system and some elements which can be repaired in an ulterior patch (the bugs, the limited zoom and the path-finding).
  6. Online play suffers from the Games For Windows Live disease while the single player game is a tad short and heavily scripted.
  7. Playing through the single-player story-driven campaign or fighting a real-time global campaign is fun. Multiplayer is somewhat bare-bones, but the matches themselves are entertaining enough.
    When a sleeper turns out to "only" be recommendable to hardcore fans, something must have gone wrong. In the case of UaW, it's the realization of the sensational ideas and hugely announced features, that, in the end, apparently didn't totally work out. Yet UaW offers RTS-gameplay at a very high level, that may help to overcome the waiting time for "StarCraft 2." [March 2008]
  9. Finally a new RTS where you can discard all the usual strategies. The makers of Universe at War offer suprisingly refreshing and innovative real-time battles.
  10. Universe At War: Earth Assault is a finely shaped game with some underlying issues to be sure, mainly UI related, but Petroglyph’s brand of cheesy action humour and the great diversity of strategy, especially when playing against other red blooded players, can make war a guilty pleasure again.
  11. Pelit (Finland)
    Universe at War feels initially too much like blast from the past. Mainly thanks to some fun units and interesting background setting, in the end UAW is an OK game. No less, no more. [Mar 2008]
  12. Hardcore Gamer
    Universe at War is a good title, but it isn't without it's flaws. As-is, though, Universe at War is a comfortable ride. [Dec 2007, p.64]
  13. Universe at War takes a lot of chances, and most of them pay off in the form of a unique real-time strategy experience. Just grin and bear the campy story and you'll find plenty to love here.
  14. 80
    Universe at War is a great, well-balanced design that's marred by a predictable sci-fi concept and a disappointing campaign.
  15. 80
    On one hand it has plenty of great ideas and promise, but it lacks that polish that helps elevate games towards greatness. I'd still recommend that gamers check out Universe At War but it's a shame that it doesn't quite live up to its potential.
  16. Online is where Universe at War: Earth Assault comes into its own. It's not overly complex, but it offers plenty of depth with all of the various options and customizing features.
  17. With some neat spins on the RTS formula along with three excellent races, Universe at War is a good addition to the genre. A few problems, such as spotty AI and a predictable campaign keep it from being a classic.
  18. The distinct factions make for some interesting encounters and require noticeably different strategies on the battlefield. This makes for increased replayability and definitely ups the fun factor. At the same time, it is marred by some longtime issues inherent in the genre.
  19. If you like your strategy games with a sense of fun about them, while still offering some actual strategy, Universe at War: Earth Assault should speak to you.
  20. A decent start to the inevitable franchise, Universe at War's solid Campaign and range of game modes for both online and offline RTS action offers enough for players to get on with. The fact that it also introduces new features such as dynamic tactical upgrades to units on the fly also helps to make Petroglyph's latest stand out.
  21. 80
    The battles are explosive and exciting, and despite having three really odd factions, the learning curve isn’t terribly steep making it easy to pop in and play any side without too much of a headache.
  22. Play (Poland)
    The alien races fighting for control of the Earth are completely different from each other and from the usual anthropocentric units, and yet the designers managed to strike the proper balance of forces. It's easy to forgive the exceedingly huge mech designs taking up half of the field of view and occasional trouble with units failing to find the right path to the target. Overall it's a refreshing departure from the routine in the RTS genre. [March 2008]
  23. Universe at War delivers a unique, fresh gaming experience with factions that have truly innovative concepts sewn intrinsically into them.
  24. PC PowerPlay
    We found the different races to be surprisingly equal on the battlefield and if this holds up under super competitive online play UAW could become very popular indeed. [Feb 2008, p.59]
  25. PC Zone UK
    For all its merits and imagination, all its potential and breathtaking battles, Universe at War is lacking an essential ingredient of real-time strategy games: strategy. [Mar 2008, p.72]
  26. I really wanted to like Universe at War far more than I did. It never goes quite far enough, nor delivers the money shot. [Feb 2008, p.68]
  27. Play Magazine
    RTS fans would do well to investigate Universe at War. [Dec 2007, p.96]
  28. Universe at War has three engaging factions and some interesting ideas, but it's also saddled with some annoying issues.
  29. There are still plenty of entertaining moments buried beneath the scorched rubble if you have the patience to dig far enough to find them, but be ready to accept a little collateral damage on your part if you do.
  30. 75
    An unexpectedly good time that manages to rise above a cluster of problems, most notably - for us, at least - with multiplayer. A smidge more polish will get Universe at War up there with the best.
  31. PC Format
    Healthy doses of polish and patching are needed. [Mar 2008, p.106]
  32. 75
    Universe is a good game that deserves serious consideration by RTS fans that are looking for a new game that doesn't stray too far from the Command & Conquer mould.
  33. Universe at War: Earth Assault is a good RTS, but clearly needed more production time to correct some glaring bugs, that even the recent patches couldn't completely eradicate.
  34. It’s such a shame though to see what could have been a splendid old-school RTS with mostly decent presentation (aside from the fact that the camera doesn’t zoom out enough) and three imaginative and well-balanced factions being wasted on a single player campaign that’s broken, and a multiplayer mode that nobody’s yet playing.
  35. 70
    Sophistication's not UAW's strong suit: It flaunts its influences on its sleeve and thrives on its absurd outlandishness -- an exploitation RTS, suitable for midnight screenings.
  36. 70
    The sheer exhilaration one gets when watching horribly damaged walkers amble into an enemy base, exploding and taking out half the opponent's infrastructure can't be underestimated. Unfortunately, a poorly designed single-player campaign can't help but limit the game's appeal and the multiplayer, while awesome to play, has that Games for Windows LIVE nonsense tied around its neck like an anchor.
  37. Universe at War: Earth Assault has what it takes to be a great RTS game, but sadly, it doesn't come together in a fulfilling way.
  38. 70
    After learning the full extent of each faction's abilities, it really is pretty neat to completely adjust strategies based on both who you're playing as and against.
  39. If it had free no-holds-barred multiplayer, UaW would be a very good game.
  40. The heart of Universe at War is a beautifully crafted strategy game which could have been one of the best things in the genre in years. This just makes it even more tragic that it's let down by a passable but unimpressive graphics engine, utterly dull single-player and the disastrous decision to use the godawful Games for Windows Live Gold service for multiplayer.
  41. Mixed feelings about this game. On the one hand Petroglyph is trying something new with totally different factions, but on the other hand it's not executed very well, a missed opportunity!
  42. 70
    As long as developers continue to chase after "jaw dropping" graphics we'll have to continue to be content with ho-hum AI players.
  43. AceGamez
    Had the single player been up to scratch and had the online functions been open to all instead of the select few willing to pay the extra costs, Universe at War could very well have been one of the year's first great strategy games.
  44. As the box says - if you can't wait until "Starcraft 2", then you should give Universe at War a shot.
  45. The game looks good with neat graphics and a solid gameplay. However, a poorly designed AI and a bad camera view are problems which hamper the experience.
  46. Universe at War shows a lot of promise. As a first entry to a brand new series, there’s a lot to like on display.
  47. Edge Magazine
    Takes great pride in its science-fiction absurdities and provides a genuinely entertaining skirmish game for those who still hanker for the base-building battles of old. [Feb 2008, p.94]
  48. Everything that's wrong comes down to a lack of polish, and a poor choice in multiplayer game management.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 144 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 144
  1. Jun 8, 2011
    While Universe at War could have been a glorious game, comparable to Starcraft in how different the factions are, there are some issues thatWhile Universe at War could have been a glorious game, comparable to Starcraft in how different the factions are, there are some issues that make it considerably less than it could have been. First of all the most glaring example, units are too strong. Every fight lasts minutes because units have so much health and so little damage. Superweapons are a mere support power, in fact the only super weapon that is powerful is the Novus Gravity Bomb, a black-hole type power that sucks all units into it. Oh, and it deals more damage than almost anything else. Another issue is the fact that two of the three factions are considerably more useful than the third. The 1st faction, Hierarchy, who is based around steamrolling, yet have the best scout (Monolith) and the have the ability to see the entire map at once. They are also the only faction to have an artillery unit, who is also debatable the most powerful Hero unit in the game. They also have structures who double as what is essentially an Epic/Super unit. The 2nd faction, Novus, is a swarming faction who also has the only notable Air units. The Dervish is a fast fighter that also has the ability to shoot lightning in every direction and kill just about anything. They are also supported by Vertigo, the only Air Hero. Vertigo is stealthed, fast, and has a deadly Railgun. The Novus also have Mirabel, who has more offensive capability than any other Novus unit. She has a powerful burst-fire Railgun, shoulder launched anti-ground missiles, and the ability to snipe a target from long distances. This Sniper ability is the only weapon that can instant kill another unit besides Superpowers. The final faction, the Masari, are supposedly Gods, yet are horribly outmatched. They supposedly are the turtling faction, yet the Novus have the only turret that can hit air and ground. The Novus turret also redirects enemy fire and increases in damage as more of them are made. The Hierarchy has an anti-ground turret that can mutate infantry into zombies and hold most vehicles at bay. The Hierarchy Anti-air turret can pull air units to the ground while it kills them when upgraded. The Air units cannot escape. Even Vertigo is not immune. The Hierarchy also has a stealth hero who can pull air units down, and then turn invincible as he drains their health. He can also drain vehicles health while invincible. His claws deal with infantry easily. Generally, this makes him a deadly force against all units. His one weakness: He has pathetic range. The game does have many more differences in the factions than games like Supreme Commander 2, but it is nowhere close to the differences between Starcraft's factions, and the differences are not exploited as much as in games like Command and Conquer 3. Full Review »
  2. Mcneal
    Jan 10, 2008
    Finally an RTS game where all three factions have different play styles, functionality, and personality. Who would have thought this possible Finally an RTS game where all three factions have different play styles, functionality, and personality. Who would have thought this possible after generic games like C&C 3 and SupCom. UAW is a fine fine game worth checking, simply for the fact that all three factions are truly unique and a blast to play online. Full Review »
  3. MarkoP.
    Jan 20, 2008
    The game is a standard RTS set in the very near future with different gameplay for each of the 3 assymetric factions. what takes this game The game is a standard RTS set in the very near future with different gameplay for each of the 3 assymetric factions. what takes this game apart is the ability to change your tactics on the fly through the use of tactical dynamics, adapting to each of the battlefield conditions. a win for all looking for something new to the genre. :) Full Review »