Ty Reviews: AI War

They had somehow become so farted off at me, that they broke the laws of physics.

Blink. Blink. Blink.
Well the AI decided I’m an actual threat. 

With the release of AI War 2 coming (fairly) soon, I figured I might as well review this. 
First released on June 2, 2009, in the Impulse network, AI war is definitely one of the weirder games I’ve played. From its blatant violation of traditional RTS rules to its ridiculously intelligent AI, so much of this game is so unique, that I’m not sure how to even review this. 
But I’ll give it a shot. 
The game takes place in the distant future, and, as the name implies, there was a war. The big cinch? 
Humanity lost. Overwhelmingly so. 
You’re the commander of the last few resistance members. 

Now you might be wondering why, if they won so overwhelming, are you still alive? 
Basically, these guys are so logical, that it basically turns around and bites them in the butt. They think your forces are so weak, that it isn’t worth sending the troops necessary to kill you. That’s how weak you are. 
They know that they have the advantage in everything. From technology to sheer numbers, they are simply stronger than you. 

Butt. There is a small chance.  
You see, there was one fatal design mistake when they were building up their defenses. 
The homelands. 
These homelands act as a central database for the AI, so to speak. The AI has a jugular. And for all its weapons and armor, there is still a weakness. A weakness that you, as the player, CAN exploit. 
Of course, it’s not gonna be that easy. Throughout the galaxy there are multiple shield generators, producing massive energy, essentially making it impossible to strike fight them head-on. That brings us to the first goal of the game. Take down said shield generators. 
And that’s basically the gist of the game. In case I missed anything in my ridiculously elaborate summary. Here’s a less elaborate summary: 
You basically build ships, have them do some kamikaze-type stuff, then build turrets and command centers which let you build more stuff and then you attack AI planets and more stuff. 
That wasn’t too difficult, was it? 
Go on! Answer me! 
The Good 
The best part of this game is just how unique it is. So many hallmarks of grand strategy are thrown into this game, and despite how most of the said hallmarks have basically been cut into swiss cheese, then blenderized, then run through a water filtration system, it still works wonderfully. I love the RTS and tower defense aspects of this game, as well as the micromanagement. 
Often times I’ll find it so engaging that I won’t even bother to look away from the screen. 
Personally, I really appreciate how they really changed the 4X(ish) formula. Too many games have fallen into the trap of making the AI less intelligent, and less powerful than the player. 
AI War does not cut any corners, and instead makes YOU the weakling, not the AI. It is astonishing, how advanced said AI is. I often find myself facing defenses in the area where I came from, fighting ships specifically made to fight my ships.  
The game forces you to think outside the box, rather than forcing you into a significantly smaller box. 
Unlike many players, honestly, I find the controls rather easy to grasp.
(Note to self: P IS FOR PAUSE. NEVER FORGET.) 
It really is fun setting up ridiculous amounts of turrets. And I couldn’t find any bugs worth mentioning. 
The Bad 
Unfortunately, the game suffers from some annoying gameplay issues that have to do with its very design. 
For example Production. 
I could go on for days about how utterly annoying the vast majority of production in this game is. 
!!SCIENCE!! is just a pain in the butt. Unless you really want to fart on the AI, you can’t conquer planets fast enough to make any real scientific progress. 
That’s right. 
You literally have to conquer entire planets just to get one (basic) upgrade. And after that? They don’t even produce minor amounts. 
Hacking is another personal pain in the butt for me. Often I find myself getting attacked by ridiculous amounts of enemies due to a small, nay, minuscule use of hacking.  
The pace of the game is definitely an issue. I’ll often find myself unbelievably bored, trying to find a way to force troops into an assault transport or something equally dumb. Suffice to say, I’m not exactly eager to go through that yet again. 
For all the AI’s sheer awesomeness, I’ll often get ridiculous outcomes that make no sense. For example, I gained +5 AI difficulty. No biggie, right? WRONG. 
Next thing I know, I have a 500+ fleet storming its way through my bases, destroying everything in sight, until finally, they stop, wrath appeased. 
One base left. I said to myself, sighing in relief.
I had that base set up as a last defense if anything went horribly, horribly wrong. It was on the other side of the map, dealing with the second AI(there are usually two you have to fight in-game). 
There was no possible way that the AI-1 would’ve been able to attack me. 
But, they TELEPORTED to that base and tore it to shreds. 
They had somehow become so farted off at me, that they broke the laws of physics. 
It’s funny now, but at the time, it was really annoying. 
I mean like seriously. Diagos is still mad that I captured him. 
(TRANSLATED: The literal embodiment of space is still mad I stuffed him into a poke-ball.) 
Another infamous bug story occurred sometime around my second playthrough. I was going merrily along, ready to beat the AI to a pulp. 
Something had to go wrong. 
I had set up some beachheads on enemy territory, ready to kick butt. Force fields were in place. 
More needlers. 
And I got attacked, as expected. 
What happened next I did not see coming. 
Fart, I’ve never even heard of this kind of bug happening to anyone in any game. 
So there I was, delightfully murdering a bunch of ships. 
When I started to notice something. 
When I killed a ship, they didn’t die. 
The remains disappeared, then teleported back by about three inches, before coming back to life, full health, ready for another day of fighting. 
After about five minutes, the insane amount of ships forced the game to turn off.
I couldn’t find anything on this, but it never occurred on any subsequent playthroughs. 
To this very day, I still have no idea what happened. 
The Ugly 
The graphics are lackluster, that’s it. 
Honestly, it’s not that bad. I’ve definitely dealt with worse graphics cough Dwarf fortress cough. But at the end of the day, it’s functional, and you can tell the difference between a bunch of bombers, and a bunch of fighters. 
And Everything In Between
All together the game is really good. 
Beneath all the difficult menus and complicated productions is a gem of a game, completely unique and beautiful in terms we can’t begin to imagine. 
Alright, that’s an exaggeration. 
But the game is amazing, and personally, it’ll always have a place in my RTS-loving heart. 

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