Decide the fate of earth (Terra) in this space-bound futuristic real time strategy game
- Discover what the future of earth will be like once its inhabitants venture into space
- Explore the solar system and colonize other planets
- Battle it out for supremacy in a galactic-sized battlefield
- Wonderfully rich textures and graphics
- Multiple upgrades and ships
- Based on the Legacy of Altair trilogy
- Automated battle system can make the player anonymous at times
Light of Altair is a free real time strategy game for PC, developed by Saint XI, in which you command fleets of space ships and help defend Terra (Earth) from attack, progress its technology, and increase its chances of survival. The game is available here as a demo version. The full version is available on their main website.
When you begin the game, it gives you a brief explanation of its story. In essence, it is the story of man's first expedition into space. As they discover and land upon other planets, they adopt the same territorial urges felt centuries earlier during periods of colonization and seek to do the same thing once more. The main premise of the game, in light of this, rests on the defense of such territory, building colonies and cities, and trying to forge a life in the vastness of space. The narrative in the game is quite detailed, certainly one of its best features. Earth society has evolved to the point where it has entered space, and has begun to colonize planets.
In terms of realism, the game's single player campaign attempts to postulate how the history of earth might unfold on a galactic scale. There are many tropes familiar to science fiction fans including torpedo-style weaponry, lasers, a 'hyper drive' propulsion system, amongst many design features of ships themselves. Because the game offers eight different factions to choose from, the game's single player campaign can be played over and over from a different perspective.
Core Gameplay and Features
Gameplay appears to be in a classic RTS style, with an overhead view (cinematic) of the 'battlefield' or the area in which units are active. The main objective is to accept and complete objectives in the name of expanding or securing your territory. Missions are completed in a series of 'chapters', each dealing with a particular episode in the main story.
Battles in the game are automated, so for those expecting tons of micromanagement, you won't find much here. Your ships are deployed in squads, each with their own specific abilities and a health bar. Squads will fight automatically if sent somewhere, and the progress of your various ongoing battles can be viewed at any time. A player can quickly navigate between planets or even zoom out of the solar system entirely (known as 'Sol'), offering complete control during gameplay. Commanding individual squads is possible, though strategizing beforehand is the best way to win.
Before a particular engagement begins, you will be given information about your squad's offensive and defensive capabilities. These are the only two variables offered to decide a battle. A user interface in the bottom also contains information on allocated fuel, fighter bays and veterans.
While not engaging in combat, you can also visit the various planets you have conquered and view how their society is progressing. Each planet will display a series of enlarged zones in which humans are currently living (domes, for example). Areas in need of repair, population growth and other statistics can also be viewed. This further adds to the sense of realism by allowing you to trace the progress of a society from its earliest beginnings to fruition.
Research and Upgrades
When preparing for a battle, you will need to build your squads. The game offers a very detailed interface for this, with detailed tech trees for weaponry and ship configurations. Once you have access to a particular ship schematic, your shipyards can be instructed to build a squad of those ships. Weapon features include range, damage (numerical), and certain unique strengths and weaknesses. Heavy Rocket Cannons are expensive, but difficult to be shot down and have immense firepower. Alternatively, laser turrets and missile packs have a shorter range, don't hit as hard but are more plentiful and cheaper.
As for research, if you are looking for new offensive or defensive weapons or ship schematics to add to your arsenal, researching one of them will make them available after a time
As for research, if you are looking for new offensive or defensive weapons or ship schematics to add to your arsenal, researching one of them will make them available after a time. Sometimes this is required to complete particular missions.
The look of space from afar is certainly stunning, as well as the ships. Texture glows, particles, animated buildings, vibrant colors of space and excellent lighting and shadow effects make battling it out in space all the more interesting. The various individuals you'll be dealing directly with, including presidents, military officers and so on all have well drawn portraits as well.
If you have ever wondered what will befall earth once its inhabitants venture into space, this game is a stern reminder. The narrative cleverly outlines a potential history for the future of earth without unnecessary detail. The macrosociological scope of the game ensures you're surveying the history of the planet as a whole, its colonization efforts, wars with other planets, and so forth - and not the fate of a single nation. Strong graphics add to the realism, as well as an intuitive control system. The squads system removes the need to micromanage, allowing you to research, upgrade, and build squads of ships in a short space of time. All in all, the game is a fine strategy game and well worth downloading.