"You are outgunned. You are massively outnumbered. You must win." These are your orders. Humanity has already fought its war against the machines -- and lost. AI death squads stand watch over every planet and every wormhole, the few remaining human settlements are held captive in orbiting bubbles, and the AIs have turned their...
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (817 reviews) - 86% of the 817 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 21, 2009

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Buy AI War Bundle (2014)

Includes 7 items: AI War: Ancient Shadows, AI War: Children of Neinzul, AI War: Destroyer of Worlds, AI War: Fleet Command, AI War: Light of the Spire, AI War: The Zenith Remnant, AI War: Vengeance Of The Machine

 

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September 7

AI War II Music Theme Teaser

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNXmzaUAQsU
Pablo getting prepped for the newly reorchestrated AI War II theme. The kickstarter for this sequel to AI War Classic is launching in the next 1-3 weeks.

  • Email arcengames at gmail dot com if you want to be notified when it goes live.
  • If you want to participate in discussions about the growing design document for the game, please visit our forums and join in!
Lots of stuff is happening fast, and we'll have more to share with you soon!

Best,
Chris

8 comments Read more

September 2

AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!

This is only the beginning.  The first 36 pages of the AI War II design document are in place.  I'm sure that folks on the forums will have a lot of commentary already about this.  I'm going to be out over the weekend, just to warn you, but I wanted to leave this with you to peruse before I left.

The largest segment so far is detailing the technical advancements of the sequel (most of which are already in place).  It's actually kind of insane to see how far things have come from where we left AI War "Classic" in 2014.  It was already quite long in the tooth by our standards then, being very rooted in a 2009-based code architecture that had been remodeled enough times that we couldn't really go further with that.



Squads

This document does start by going into the rationale behind ship squads, which are a change with major performance-boosting ramifications and that should be able to yield an increased feeling of giant space battles more along the lines of the pre-Unity battles in AI War Classic.  Feelings in this particular area may run a little strong since it is a pretty big shift (although familiar to many RTS games), so there's a lot of math and explanations there to hopefully make it clear just how freaking awesome this change is and why you should be happy about it.

The TLDR is that it will make your game run more smoothly even while we are able to do more complex things.

Multi-Part, But Not Modular Ships

This is the first example of something that is being changed that will have an impact on a lot of units in the game.  Based on discussions with players on the forum, we should basically have the best of what modular ships offered before (the multi-part bit), but without the fiddly interface for customizing them during the game.

Of course, given the moddable nature of the new game, you can customize ships to your heart's content anyway.  And there are space platforms that are a thing that have been designed but not yet written up, and those will also scratch that same itch...

Other Bits

There are a lot of other sections of the document that are just stubs for now, and they will be filled in next week.  First of all focusing on the largest structural changes, since those require the most discussion with players.  Then moving into smaller and smaller topics until we have a document that we feel is complete and correct.

Kickstarter

Depending on how long it takes us to reach that "complete and correct" status with the design document, and how long some of our prototypes for a few things in the new game take, we will be heading to kickstarter with this in 2-4 weeks.  The game already has a remarkably complete base in terms of the multithreading, the networking (minus transport layer), and so on.  The status of items are noted in the document above, and quite a lot of the trickiest things are already in the "complete" camp.

That said, there's still a ton to do, so it's not like the game is going to be rolling into early access tomorrow.  But the goal is for us to be able to show you the vision for what this is (visually and otherwise), concretely show you what is planned (design document), and give you an accurate timeline for completion (with appropriate buffer).

If you're interested in hearing about the kickstarter when it goes live, you can always email us at arcengames at gmail dot com.



I'll see you all Monday!

Chris

Click here for the official forum thread on this post.

20 comments Read more

Reviews

"AI War breaks most of the genre’s rules. Which is precisely why it’s incredible… This out-of-the-blue one-man passion project is one of this year’s finest strategy games."
- Alec Meer, PC Gamer UK, November 2009

It’s a balancing act, with your own strength on one side, and the AI’s opinion of you on the other. Piss it off before you’re ready to face it, and you’re going to get squashed. That moment, when you’re finally in a position to turn the tables, is about as glorious as gaming gets.
- Phill Cameron, Eurogamer, February 2011

I think I’ve stumbled across this year’s Really New Thing. There’s a lot of 2009 to go, but I’ll be surprised if anyone else twists the RTS formula this dramatically and this effectively. And I’m hoping it’ll be the Next Big Thing, because it’s big, different, entirely unprecedented and an exciting way to play an RTS.
- Tom Chick, Crispy Gamer, August 2009

Having played this title at two distinct points in its life cycle what really stands out is the incredible dedication of Arcen Games in keeping on top of how the game evolves and expands. Even though a great many features have been added and tweaked and refined, it was possible for me to drop back into AI War after more than a year away and not find it to be a confusing mish-mash of feature overload. The post-release support is, quite honestly, the best I’ve seen for any game.
- Peter Parrish, IncGamers, February 2011

AI War is, quite simply, the best experience you could have with co-op or single-player real-time strategy in this or any year. It combines grand strategy with emergent AI to form an excellent game perfect for parties and multiplayer. It is easily worth double the price that the developer is selling it at, and anyone with any affinity or taste for strategy games should not miss it. It may be daunting at first, but an excellent tutorial and amazing gameplay mechanics alleviate this into a game that almost anyone can - and should - play.
- James Murff, Big Download, November 2009

About This Game

"You are outgunned. You are massively outnumbered. You must win." These are your orders.

Humanity has already fought its war against the machines -- and lost. AI death squads stand watch over every planet and every wormhole, the few remaining human settlements are held captive in orbiting bubbles, and the AIs have turned their attention outward, away from the galaxy, to alien threats or opportunities unknown.

This inattention is our only hope: a small resistance, too insignificant even to be noticed by the AI central command, has survived. These are the forces you will command. The AI subcommanders will fight you to the death when they see you -- but your glimmer of opportunity comes from quietly subduing those subcommanders without alerting central processing to the danger until it's too late.

You do have a few things going in your favor. Your ships are much faster. You have safe AI routines to automate defenses and mining outposts. You have production techniques that can churn out fully-outfitted unmanned fighters in seconds. There will never be more than a few thousand of your ships versus tens of thousands of theirs, but through careful strategy you must somehow reach and destroy the heavily-guarded AI cores.

Go forth into the galaxy, steal AI technology, recapture those planets you must in order to achieve your ends, and save what remains of humanity. But draw too much attention to yourself, and the full might of the AI overlords will come crashing down.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.
    • OS: Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may very well work
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.
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Overall:
Very Positive (817 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
17 of 17 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
111.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 4
So, this review has been a long time coming from me. Surprised I didnt do it before now.

Before I begin, I'd like to point out one thing: I'm going to be essentially reviewing the version of the game that involves all 6 expansions installed. I've gotten so familiar with that, that heck if I can remember which bits come from those and which bits are just in the core game. That being said, even just the core game has TONS of content, and the things I say here can be applied to even just that by itself.

And that's one of the major things about AI War that players will notice: There are so... many... THINGS in the game. A normal RTS doesnt actually have all that many different units per faction, and there's only a couple of factions, as a rule. AI War, however, has... some absurd number of units. I think over 300, once expansions are there (the number is still huge even without them though)? And that's just ships... that's not counting other things like structures, turrets, guard posts, or whatever, of which there are also many.

If this sounds like it might be a tad complex, have a bit of a learning curve... you're right. I always describe AI War as "the Dwarf Fortress of strategy games". This is very much a hardcore title, and the learning curve is more of a learning cliff-covered-in-acid-spikes.

The premise of the game is that it's you, representing the last vestiges of humanity, against the almighty AI that has not only taken over the galaxy, but spread far beyond it. Fortunately, the AI's attention is focused on something outside of the galaxy, some other threat... and compared to that, you are insignificant. It's not really watching you that hard, and that means you have a chance to start building up a counter-attack.

I'll note here that this is NOT a multiplayer-focused game. You can play with friends, but it's co-op only. There's no VS mode here. Wether with a friend or not, it's always you, versus exactly two AI opponents. The interesting thing is that this is also an asymmetrical game. The AI has many, many things that it can use, but that you cannot. As do any of the "minor factions" that may be doing their own thing. And you, also, have tricks of your own.

Another major factor of the game is that it does not take place on a single map at a time, as every other RTS does. Each game of AI War takes place on an overall "galaxy map", which is a map of different systems, with lines between them showing wormhole connections. Click on any of those, and you're taken to that solar system, which is a full "map" of it's own; this is where stuff happens, where you see units and structures and explosions and whatever. On default settings, the galaxy map contains 80 systems, each of which is it's own thing... and all of these systems are active simultaneously. If you've got a battle on one system that you're watching, and you open the galaxy map to go look at another? That battle is still running on the one you were just at; ships are still fighting, still executing any orders you gave them, the AI is performing it's own things... needless to say, managing so many different places at once is very daunting!

But it's that grand scale that really makes this game what it is. This is a game that will involve thousands of ships at once in the overall war, and sometimes, thousands fighting at a time on just ONE system (with stuff probably still happening on other system). This is a truly epic war indeed.

Your goal in this war is to find and destroy the AI Homeworlds. There are always two of these, one for each AI opponent you face. You're going to have to expand your little "empire", constantly taking over enemy territory (did I mention that the AI starts out in total control of EVERY planet that isnt your starting one?), and seeking out your ultimate goal. What makes it interesting though is the sheer number of things there are to do. Along the way you're going to encounter all sorts of different structures and gizmos on different planets; scout ships let you find these, and deciding which objectives to go for can be very hard. Perhaps you should capture that advanced research station to open up an entirely new type of ship. Or maybe it's time to go after that Data Center, to lower the AI Progress a bit if it's getting too high. There are ALOT of things to go after, and every single one of them is important.

However, you cant just take everything. As the war progresses, the "AI Progress" number will increase as you take various actions. This number represents how concerned/angry the AI is, in relation to you. The higher it goes, the more powerful and dangerous the AI becomes. If this number gets TOO high, you'll find yourself fighting an opponent that's simply too overwhelmingly powerful to stop... and you will lose. This has a really interesting effect on the game... in other RTS games, as you destroy more and more enemy structures and units, your opponents weaken, right? In this, as you smash things up and take over planets, the AI gets STRONGER and more aggressive. In a normal RTS, once you've done enough damage, you hit a sort of "cleanup" phase, which is pretty boring as there's no challenge left while you finish things off. That doesnt really happen here.

As you go, you'll find yourself getting into all sorts of complicated situations. There's TONS of different complicated and quirky elements in the game, and much of the time they'll be combined in all sorts of ways, forcing you to think hard about each situation, often having to make difficult decisions about how to proceed, so that the AI doesnt eat your face.

The AI itself is, frankly, pretty incredible. This isnt a dumb opponent that can be clobbered by screwing with it's pathfinding. This is a deadly opponent that'll do all sorts of unexpected things, stuff you never saw coming (and some you do, it will send "waves" at you frequently, and the game will warn you about these particular things), and it'll always be INTERESTING. In addition, there are many... many... MANY types of AI types to choose from (you choose these, along with a bazillion other settings, when you start a new campaign), each with their own "personality", style, and sometimes coming with special units that only that specific AI uses. The variety here is every bit as incredible as the variety of units and other things.

There's SO much stuff I could talk about in this game and it's expansions... things like the roaming Devourer Golem (invincible nightmare ship that goes around the galaxy *eating* all the ships in the system it's currently in, both yours and the AI's), Nomad Planets that move around the galaxy map, Zenith Traders that you can buy crazy stuff from... but there's not even remotely close to enough room to talk about these things.

And that's the one big problem with the game: it really is the Dwarf Fortress of it's genre. There is SO MUCH to learn, and it's NOT easy. The tutorial is, frankly, kinda crappy. It'll teach you the absolute basics only, and then say "Have fun, try not to die!", throwing you into the game while not having taught you 90% of it. You'll have to expand upon the basics on your own, learning about different units and structures and whatever as you go, and... yeah, it's not an easy process. This is not a casual experience. 12-hour long campaigns (which are procedurally generated) are the norm here. And it's VERY DIFFICULT.

But if you're the sort of player that craves complexity and true depth, and if you have the fortitude to handle something like this... then I highly recommend buying this. Hundreds or thousands of hours of replay value here, all of it incredible. I recommend all of the expansions, too.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
58.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 1
AI War is the perfect game for you if you happen to be it's intended audience. That includes be me, but is it for you?

TL;DR: yeah, this game isn't going to be for you.

It's hard to describe what this game is all about since this game is 4x'ish strategy, it's real time, with a very thorough and varied tower defence aspect. Your every action is weighed with the cost of potential gains and efficiencies vs AI counter attacks and aggression. There are enough ship types that you will constantly be introduced to new ones even after many campaigns with different hulls and different available counters. The non random battle mechanics makes sure you never feel the game was unfair if/when you lose. The number of units you field as the game progress skyrockets and you are constantly moving around 1000+ units by mid game. You can opt for offensive tower defence instead of just defending. The brilliantly optimized UI and customizations brought to it's current state by years of improvements is the best there is in any strategy games. If something is too bothersome to micromanage, someone in the past has already complained about it and the dev added a button to take care of just that.

Yet the game learning curve is steep. When the tutorial says you will very likely fail your first campaign, you will. But if you do get through learning the core mechanics, you are rewarded with a game that actually features strategy and thinking central to it's gameplay; And that is so rarely seen. Even Europa Universalis will not compare. After one beginner campaign you realize just how smart the game mechanics are designed and how it differs from other strategy games.

A key aspect that makes this game so great is the implementation of a perfect game constraint called AI Progress. What this AIP does is it ramps AI difficulty proportional to the player's progress so that mindless spamming never wins and real planning and strategy becomes integral and encouraged throughout the game. A good counter example is any of the Total War games.

In TW, even if you wish for a paced out diplomatic campaign, it never fails to degenerate into one long continuous war where you are forced to roll your stacks from one side of the map to the other just because the game AI and mechanics were badly designed and any other play style is ruled out or rendered meaningless. In AI War continuous battle gets you nowhere because the AI will retaliate with a ridiculous/impressive number of ships and just kill you right there. But a planned strategy will balance the AI agression as you capture more planets and grow your fleet. That's not to say you lose because the AI is programmed to cheat. On the contrary the AI is programmed to punish stupid actions by the player and that is what keeps the game fun.

The game is from 2009, so the graphics aren't going to impress anyone. But the swarms of missiles from 500 missile frigates that never miss obliterating hundreds of enemies absolutely will. Sound is great as well.

The game is definitely aimed for those willing to accept complexity and just learn by losing sometimes. This is not AdVenture Communist.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
103.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 7
I don't always play 4X games, but when I do, I play AI War. Don't let the graphics fool you, this game is one of the deepest Rock Paper Scissors games you will ever play. The key is finding the right ship to do the job. Certain ships will be more effective against others, so planning is key to maximize your strengths and minimize that of the AI. In one sense this game is a series of random puzzles that you must overcome to end in victory. To do so you need improvise and come up with plans that will let you succeed with the forces you have at your disposal. You need to pick away at the enemy forces with tactical finese to take them down. The pausable real time allows you to move forward and execute your plans or stop to get everything set to go and perfectly plan your next move or heaven forbid, regroup in the face of a disaster! Years of game play with this game and DLC. Can you defeat the AI? Play and find out.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
103.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 5
Lose the tutorial.

RTS Roguelike.

10/10

EDIT:

Now I'm in my third game.

The first game is the tutorial, which I shamefully lost (I aborted the tutorial when those guys overran my homeworld though).

I played against two 7/7 AIs in my second game with all expansions enabled. Held for more than 2 hours, and during an exogalactic invasion 12+ starships rammed into my homeworld, while my troops and allied force were distracted by enemies elsewhere. I losed horribly and earned an achievement "The First Loss".

Still playing against two 7/7 AIs in my third game. I'm doing far better than I expected. I survived for more than 4 hours, held off a full round of (that is, four) exogalactic invasions, a cross-planet invasion, and countless Level-I and Level-II waves, while still having some space to breathe and launch some offensives. Every time I thought humanity was doomed, I survived. I think I will lose eventually, but in my next game I can probably do better.

I think the term "RTS roguelike" precisely defines the game, because, like any roguelike games (such as ToME, NetHack, Dwarf Fortress, etc.), the learning curve is quite steep, the content is rich, the replayability is high (with totally different experiences between games), the opponents are unforgiving, and most of all, you will probably die a lot .

However, the game proceeds in real time. So the game play is very stressful, intense and exhausting. You will be analysing the situation all the time, closely watching the dynamics of the entire galaxy all the time to figure out opportunities, manage your crises, patch up vulnerabilities, and turn disadvantages into advantages, etc., until your brain cells were worn out. I tend to pause a lot to think of what I should do next.

As other reviewers noted, taking all the territories without selection would NEVER work, unlike in some of the other RTS games such as, say, Total War series (It's not that Total Wars are bad. It's that Total Wars care less about campaign, because their main selling point is real-time battlefield tactics in massive scale), because the AIs can ALWAYS crush you if they want to . You have to determine which planets should be controlled ASAP, which planets should better be left alone, and which planets should be weakened instead of controlled, until you turn the table and truly smash the AIs in their face.

If you like games such as Dwarf Fortress, you probably would also love this game. Buy it now.
If you like to play roguelikes (and therefore don't mind losing, and weak graphics and audio etc), and you also like real-time strategy games. Give this game a try. Probably best to grab the entire expansion on sale.

Overall:
10/10 RTS roguelike
10/10 Skynet simulator in space
10/10 Would doom humanity by their own AIs again
10/10 Looking forward to the sequel
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1 of 22 people (5%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 3
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
480 of 487 people (99%) found this review helpful
229 people found this review funny
Recommended
35.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 16, 2015
This game plots you against 2 super powerful AI's, and starts you with one planet, one base, and you must build up from there.

So my 2 other friends and i have a fleet of over 3000 ships. We have captured 12 combined planets, and we are doing amazingly, when we find the husk of an ancient ship.
It calls to us, and asks us to repair it.
We start repairing it with everything we had.
10 minutes later, it gets fixed, and we get a ship called the 'Exodian Blade.'
The Blade shoots a laser that instakills most ships in its path. However, it is super, super slow.
We become greedy, and we start capturing planets, with the Blade singlehandley defeating everything on it.

But when one of my scientists conducts a survey and finds a strange subspace signal, the AI gets mad, and launches a full scale assault.

Even with the Exodian Blade, we couldn't defend forever.

We had lost all but 2 of our planets; only our capital and a far-off isolated colony remained.
We had repositioned the 300 ships left from our 3000 ship fleet at the capital.
When suddenly, my friend completes a nuke.
He had been building it all game.

We use the nuke, completely destroying every ship and planet except for one AI's home and our captial.
We track down the AI home, and send the Exodian Blade there.

Meanwhile, a devourer golem appears, which slowly moves and instakills any ships next it, at my capital.

Fast forward, I had kited the golem away, and the Blade arrived at the AI home.
We were surprised to see that there were only 300 ships there. Nothing that we can't handle.

Then we realize that we needed to destroy 13 different shield generators around the planet that protected the AI core.

"We can do that! We have the most overpowered ship in the game! We can just instakill them all," we all exclaimed.

"The most overpowered ship in the game" looked like crap to what came in next.

A exogalactic wormhole appears, and through it come 3000 different max level ships, ships with missiles, ships with integrated shields, ships we have never evever seen before.

It took a minute for the Exodian Blade, with 200 million hitpoints, to die.

We hadn't destroyed a single thing on the AI home planet.

We had lost on difficulty 'very easy.'

I cant even imagine what the highest difficulty level is like.

This game is the only game that can make you go from amazing to crap so quickly, and still be fun.
This game is the only game that makes losing fun.
This game is the spawn of Satan.
But it might have well been a gift from heaven.
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243 of 248 people (98%) found this review helpful
21 people found this review funny
Recommended
262.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 4, 2015
Ai War: Fleet Command feels like playing chess - without knowing all the moves, and with a cheating opponent.

First off, the opponent doesn't really cheat, but it feels that way to a new player. The learning curve is extremely steep, which means you will probably only lose for the first few dozen hours of playing - unless you choose one of the very easy difficulties.

The main problem most people will have is the completely different playstyle. Yes, it is an RTS, it looks and even plays as a classic RTS, yet when you go out from your home planet lasers blazing, burning and capturing new resources, you will lose. Always. How discouraging, right?

The reason to this is asymetry. Your opponent does not share your options. He does not build, he has everything. You on the other hand have but a single planet. Why not crush you in an instant? Cause he doesn't care, you're not important enough to be crushed. However if you blow up a few planets of his.. he might as well decide it's time for the human remnant to die.

All this said, the game *punishes* you for capturing important assets - planets, technology, etc. Each time you do such an action, the ai gets more aware of your "threat", which will mean stronger and more frequent attacks. From now till the end of game.

In conlcusion, there seems to be two games hidden under this title:
First, a guerilla war, in which the player gathers strength and tries to avoid antagonizing the enemy too much in fear of brutal retaliation.
Second, the glorious moment when the carefully prepared guerilla finally decides to go on par with the ai and fight a full on war - no more hiding.

Replayability: High, assuming you don't mind defeat. There are plenty of ai structures, and only some of them are used on each map. Throughout the expansions, a lot more has arrived to make the game entertaining and keep the player busy.

Multiplayer: Brilliant. The player slots can be changed on the fly by the game host. Playing a single player game and having a friend who wants to join? No problem, open a slot for him, give him a planet and you're playing within seconds. He's leaving again? No big deal, just close his slot, grab his units and go on with your game.

You probably don't want to play this if:
- You dislike frequent losing
- You dislike slow-paced games
- You dislike games with a steep learning curve
- You dislike constantly analysing the situation and like to just order your units to go and pillage instead.

You probably want to try this if:
- You like complicated strategy games
- You like analysing the strategic situation a lot
- You like slow-paced strategy games, in which fortifications actually work
- You are a hard-core strategy game player and like a challenge
- You like dwarf fortress and space strategy games
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273 of 286 people (95%) found this review helpful
24 people found this review funny
Recommended
1,303.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 25, 2014
At the time of Writing, I have over 1000 hours clocked in this game.
I have won four times on difficulty 7, once on difficulty 8. I got crushed in 3.5 hours on diff. 9
Any other strategy game I load up (against AIS), the results are a foregone conclusion. I will win.

It has taken me over four years and six expansions, over a thousand hours... AND I LOSE ON 9.

This game is not simple. it is not forgiving, and it sure as heck isn't easy to learn.

If you are all about grand strategy but micromanagement leaves a bad taste in your mouth, this may be the best $20 you ever spend. Get the bundle.
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254 of 267 people (95%) found this review helpful
119 people found this review funny
Recommended
16.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 28, 2015
So.. I started a game to test the enemy AI, with each of the game's two AI opponents set to the 'Entrenched Homeworlder' preset and 10/10 difficulty (10/10, out of a possible 17 settings)

To "make things fair" I gave myself a +300% boost to resources and limited the technology available for the round (no starships, no shields, couple other things..)

The "match" lasted 6:12.

Six minutes for me to set up my base.. I built a bank of 15 sniper turrets, and two semi-crescents of laser turrets, and piled minefields around the two warp points in my home system (and lightly along the path I was sure the devils would cut straight towards my base, as well..).

I crafted a fleet of 200 ships, 50 of each available at the time. Set up tachyon drones and reinforced my swarm of engineers.. I created a Mobile Builder in case tragedy happened, and was just about to waste time setting up tractor beam turrets when they arrived.

The ship types didn't matter. Nothing mattered.

135 mixed enemy ships showed up and tore through the minefields like they weren't there. It killed some, but it wasn't enough. The spear of sea-foam green demons flew directly for my colony, shrugging off sniper and laser fire.. As my fleet approached, they simply drove through them.

They didn't want the fleet.

They took two things, in that 12 seconds: my home colony (which earns you a pleasantly red text stating YOU HAVE LOST!), and my energy supply (throwing my entire setup into electrical brown-out).

Then they turned and left. I was reminded of an assassin, gently dispatching their hapless and hopeless victim with grace and ease, silent.. and leaving, without fanfare.
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274 of 294 people (93%) found this review helpful
16 people found this review funny
Recommended
112.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 15, 2014
AI War is a special game to me. To borrow a quote from Firefly:
"Live with a man 40 years. Share his house, his meals. Speak on every subject. Then tie him up, and hold him over the volcano's edge. And on that day, you will finally meet the man."
AI War lets you meet yourself. Some games you play until you can win, then you get bored. AI War is different. At difficulty 7 or below it's still challenging, easy to stumble on the long road to victory and not a sure thing. It'll take a while but you'll have a satisfying victory. But you won't stop there, once you can win the game then you'll feel free to turn up the heat. Walking through the labyrinth of options until, quite quickly, you find yourself standing on the volcano's edge, bound and tied by your own hands. But when you find yourself there it'll be with a smile on your face, saying quite happily: "Oh no! Oh no! Oh dear... I'm dead." And if you do manage to win at difficulty 10, it's a bug. Report it on the Arcen games forums... with pride.

Also, it has co-op multiplayer. So you can tie your friends up and hold them over the volcano's edge... though you'll probably both be a little singed. (Fighting Scorched Earth AI's and... Mimes! NB: Scorched earth destroys planets rather than letting you take control, never set both AI types to that if you want to win. Mimes mimic the ships you used against it, you'll think... “So what happens if I use...” and the answer: You die.)

Lastly, the developers are kind, polite and extraordinarily hard working. The game has evolved with constant developments for year after year after year. They read people's after action reports, watch the lets plays, answer questions on the forums and are just plain nice. Not a dull nice, but a sweet, genuine, sharp and creative nice... rather like shaving a birthday cake into a beard. Or sneaking into the office to digitise old files to save you time.

They've got a touch of magic, love and creativity that I want to watch, and I hope that other people will have a chance to see it too. So yeah, it's just a game, the graphics are a little dated and the learning curve is a little steep... it isn't really magic and it doesn't grant any wishes. But I like it. I'm glad I bought it. I hope you'll set aside a few hours and give it a solid try. Then some more hours when you drag a friend to play a co-op game.
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AZSLIMJIM
0.1 hrs
Posted: September 30
Did you ever read that series by Jack Campbell? The Lost Fleet series where theyre a small force deep inside an enemy galaxy? Well this is that, only the AI are smarter than the Syndicate and you dont have any heroes from 100 years ago to save you out of cryosleep...
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HoboGod
13.0 hrs
Posted: September 17
An absolutely excellent RTS, I cannot recommend this game enough, if you like challenging single player/mutli player RTS games, this is the game for you! And don't worry about PC specs, no matter how ♥♥♥♥♥♥ your computer is, you should be able to run this. And while the graphics may not be the greatest, in all honestly, they aren't that bad.
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Ben Franklinstein
1.9 hrs
Posted: August 30
Meh. It's a pretty standard, 2D RTS. The tutorial is pretty boring (I even fell asleep while trying to get through it!). The game might as well take place on the ocean, as space is flat. There's really nothing that sets this game appart. If you like RTS, well, there are a bunch out there. There's probably already one in your library. Go play that.
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SixHealthOfFury
16.6 hrs
Posted: August 16
I've attempted 12 campaigns, 5 with lower difficulties, 8 with smaller number of planets, and every time I get stopped by a Superfortress on the 6th, 7th, or 8th planet with no way to progress. I've tried not conquering every planet and even still, I get BS like that. The game doesn't respect a player's time and I question every positive review because their experience is nowhere near the same as to what I had witnessed.

It has a great concept of the player being a small army, having to ambush the robot army and the game enforces that by giving the enemy unlimited resources. To succeed in destroying the A.I. mainframe, you have to go to each planet and decide if you want to conquer it for resources and in the process, increase the difficulty, or quickly go to the next planet, hoping you won't get trounced by an even stronger pre-built setup that doesn't reflect the A.I. "awareness" you have earned throughout the campaign.

The game pretends to give you encouragement, that it is about tactics and planning, within the tutorial. The four main weapon types come with the standard extreme Rock-Paper-Scissor forumla of dealing and taking damage present in the game. It is more annoying than anything else when fighting something like a Super Fortress where you know you need to use only bombers to handle those, but they place anti-bomber items around the Super Fortress and the weakness against those anti-bomber item one shot each of your bombers, so the fight becomes 'how many thousand of units do you want to waste?' instead of the careful planning you were doing at the start of the campaign.

I'll try a few more times to beat this game, then never attempt it again. It's the new XCOM: Enemy Unknown all over again; where internet tough guys defend a Games Workshop style of game while the rest of the world struggles to comprehend why geniuses love to torture themselves with unfair RNG.
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Cowan5
11.7 hrs
Posted: August 15
Not an RTS when you have to pause every 2 seconds to issue another 10 commands. There is simply too much to manage.

The number of ships with the upgrades and varients is also too much and the game would have benefitted from a simpler mechanic.
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