Home­world: Deserts of Kharak

GAX (Malaysia) - - REVIEWS - by John Law


For the gamers whose for­ma­tive years hap­pened to­wards the end of the 90’s, it’s com­mon knowl­edge that this was the time when pub­lisher Sierra En­ter­tain­ment and (the now de­funct) de­vel­oper Relic En­ter­tain­ment re­leased Home­world, a se­ries that is widely agreed to be one of the few ti­tles with a legacy that ef­fec­tively showed de­vel­op­ers an­other way of play­ing strat­egy games.

The game was so well­re­ceived that Gear­box Soft­ware (the com­pany who bought over the Home­world IP af­ter Relic’s demise) made the de­ci­sion to re­lease a Re­mas­tered Col­lec­tion of the first two Home­world games, as well as the lat­est in­stall­ment, Home­world: Deserts of Kharak.


This is not Home­world as you know it. There is no space (yet), only a large ex­panse of sand dunes that is beau­ti­fully wo­ven to­gether with the game’s brush- style, comic book art (al­most rem­i­nis­cent of Feng Zhu).

Deserts of Kharak de­parts from the usual space sce­nario that we’ve all come to know and love in the Home­world se­ries. Serv­ing as the pre­quel, it fol­lows chief sci­en­tist Rachel S’Jet – the an­ces­tor to Home­world’s orig­i­nal Karan S’Jet – and the Land Car­rier the Kapisi, as she leads her peo­ple, the Kushan (also the an­ces­tors of the Hi­igaran) on a quest to find a lost civ­i­liza­tion and its tech­nol­ogy buried deep within the sand. But to get there, the group must fight their way through the Gaal­shien, a group of religious zealots, who wor­ship the same alien tech­nol­ogy.

The Kapisi is your largest, yet most ver­sa­tile unit of the whole game. Un­like most units in the game, the Kapisi doesn’t just pro­duce units, but it can at­tack, re­in­force its ar­mor, self-re­pair, and even in­crease its de­tec­tion range on the fly. In ad­di­tion to its ba­sic arse­nal, the Kapisi also plays house to a num­ber fighter jets, bombers and gun­ships, all of which are able to un­leash a dev­as­tat­ing bar­rage of mis­siles and hell­fire that makes quick work of any en­emy in the game.

As the game isn’t based in space, bat­tle se­quences and strate­gies have been sim­pli­fied to a sig­nif­i­cant ex­tent. The at­tack for­ma­tions from be­fore are gone, as the A.I. au­to­mat­i­cally sets your units into a ready-for-bat­tle for­ma­tion. The Overview mode has also been given an over­haul. Since ver­ti­cal­ity doesn’t need to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion, the Overview mode is pretty much locked in an ad­justable top-to-bot­tom an­gle.

Mul­ti­player mode is pretty much stan­dard fare, ei­ther with you go­ing head-to-head with a com­puter, or tak­ing on a chal­lenge with up to five other play­ers on­line. Sadly, there weren’t that many hu­man play­ers on­line to chal­lenge at the time of this re­view, and quite frankly, the A.I. wasn’t all that chal­leng­ing.

CON­CLU­SION As a pre­quel, Home­world: Deserts of Kharak pays homage to the se­ries with its visit through the sands of time.

Bat­tle for­ma­tion is au­to­mat­i­cally dic­tated for your units by the A.I.

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