Star Wars Empire At War: Forces of Corruption

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Star Wars Empire At War: Forces Of Corruption

Star Wars Empire At War: Forces Of Corruption

Like Jabba, it's a bit sluggish.

Empire At War might not have stunned us with its mild innovation and even milder Star Wars battles, but it was nevertheless an engaging and time-gobbling RTS-with-tactical-campaign-map-management-stuff. For the rabid few, however, it was a godsend: a Star Wars RTS that wasn't rubbish. Imagine that!

So the towering sales figures might have been a testament more to the number of satisfaction-starved Star Wars fans than to the quality of the game itself, but I doubt many of the people who bought the game were particularly disappointed. It was a solid game. The tactical campaign maps lacked the nuance and versatility of something like the Total War maps, but it nevertheless provided the kind of challenge that keeps you wanting to push forward, defeating intransigent enemies and spreading your colour all over the galaxy. If anything it was the real-time combat sequences that really bored me. They might have been pretty, but they were also utterly unexceptional in a time of demanding, highly accomplished RTS games. Forces Of Corruption does little to change that fact, even though it has suicide bomb-Ewoks.

And no, that idea does not justify an entire game, at least not in this case. Detonated Ewoks are but a sideshow. The Forces Of Corruption expansion actually has an entirely new core premise: a third galactic faction that uses intrigue, guerrilla warfare and criminal exploitation to get what it wants. It's a splendid idea, and makes full use of the Star Wars background materials. There's always been a huge criminal underworld just beneath the surface veneer of Imperial control and Rebel do-gooding that has been underexposed by Star Wars games. Given this general air of independent villainy that pervades the Star Wars universe it's surprising how rarely we get to play with the crime-lord characters. The odd bounty hunter here and there, but not at the level of Jabba and chums. And it's refreshing not be ultimate evil or Rebel heroes, and simply a greedy bastard trying to be top dog. That is Forces Of Corruption.

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Empire At War expansion demo

Empire At War expansion demo

Corruption eruption.

LucasArts has moved to spice up your Friday with a bit of corruption. No, it's not forgetting to tell you about the sexually explicit MSN conversations it had with pages; it's releasing a demo of the new Star Wars: Empire At War expansion.

Forces of Corruption it's called, for which our first paragraph offers its thanks, and on the demo front what you've got is 605MBs worth of combined mission and tutorial level, which sees you attempting to corrupt Mandalore and establish a black market on Nal Hutta.

The full game, developed by Empire At War's Petroglyph, will see you take on the role of an aspiring underworld figure, taking advantage of the confusion/barbecue that followed the Rebels' destruction of the Death Star. Plus it'll have customisable and upgradeable bases and guerrilla warfare since, though it might not sound like it, Forces of Corruption remains firmly in the real-time strategy genre.

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Empire At War expansion

Empire At War expansion

Corruption to reign in autumn.

Another one that got a bit lost during the E3 onslaught - Petroglyph's working on an expansion pack for Star Wars RTS Empire At War.

Called Forces of Corruption, it's due out this autumn and puts you in control of an underworld figure called Tyber Zann, whose goal it is to spread corruption through the galaxy, using new gameplay elements "to influence other factions, steal their funds, slow their production, spy on them and more, all en route to becoming the most notorious criminal leader since Jabba the Hutt."

Tyber's lot will be able to use customisable, upgradeable bases and guerrilla warfare, including chemical weapons, radioactive contamination, mines, holograms, disguises and camouflage.

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