A SANDY HOMAGE
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
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.
SAND, SAND, AND MORE SAND
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.