Game Review: Gemini Wars
Deep down, Gemini Wars is a very solid and action packed RTS title. When Camel 101 released it on June 8, 2012, the title was full of bugs and corrupted game files, that would stop the game from running, or just stop players from continuing in general, which made the game nearly impossible to continue playing. In time, however, Camel 101 expressed their concern by providing patches that fixed up a great deal of problems.
Gemini Wars overall provides three modes for the player. There’s the single player campaign mode that comes with about 15 missions, a skirmish mode, and a multiplayer mode.
During the campaign, players take on the role of Captain Cole, whose primary goal is to serve the US Federation Forces. During some of the primary mission, Cole will have to command a small fleet, most of them being armed with simple missile and assault fleet, in which he will directly attack the enemy forces, known as the Alliance. However, as the missions go on, they vary quite a bit. Many of the missions, rather than attacking head on will have you guard a certain planet, or a certain troop, and even need you to utilize a cannon to take out a planet full of enemies.
During the entirety of the campaign there’s a potential for a story, however, it doesn’t seem to be focused on at all. The characters voice acting feels very stiff, as if they were forced to read the script or face death by nagging, and the dialogue itself is very bland at times, which adds nothing to the story whatsoever, and in actuality cheapens it. In addition to these narrative weakness are presentation issues in the visual department.
The game itself has characters who look exactly the same. For example, I found myself wondering if the lieutenant suddenly gotten promoted to a colonel for the Alliance halfway through the game because they both looked exactly the same. It’s sad to say that even though during battles, the galaxy looks amazing (along with a majority of the ship models), the in-ship menu looks terrible. The coloring is very off when getting ready for your next mission, and sadly, it feels as if they hardly worked on the interior of the ship itself. In addition to this are the character models, and the cut-scenes. None of them look at all impressive, and makes you really wonder whether all of the developers placed the bulk of their hard work only in the in-game battles to make it seem far better.
Sadly, the soundtrack itself isn’t particularly stellar. It seems like a total of two tracks are played through the whole game, one of which happens you’ll hear during a loading screen for your next mission, which only runs for a short ten seconds depending on your PC, or the very dramatic fight song that is played while entering a fight with the enemy ships. However, other than that, the only sound players will hear is a woman’s voice warning you that your ships are deteriorating, or that your ships are getting ready to be constructed- nothing really pleasant or special whatsoever while getting ready for a huge war.
However, there are a few bright sides. The developers demonstrate a great deal of potential in helping gamers receive a better experience from a technical standpoint. They’ve added quick buttons that will link them to specific military bases, which wasn’t apparently done before, and they added a few more patches that have fixed the game from freezing, which makes the game actually playable.
The gameplay itself isn’t bad either. There are a ton of different ships, and each one of them have a purpose. Crewmen additionally play a huge role, because if they die, the ships cannot be controlled. The enemy AI are intellectual as well, and go out of their way to trick you to attack a miner base, as they get ready to launch a huge fleet against you, to only buy time. Or sometimes, a huge fleet will come out of nowhere and succeed in attacking your main base while you’re weak and defenseless, just to make sure that you’re done for.
However, sadly, that’s really the extent. Battles themselves hardly prove to be a challenge, and the only reason they do possess any difficulty at all is because Cole is set up against hard odds in which he has to find a way to survive, and if he doesn’t, the player loses. Little to no times do you get the advantage considering that even though you’re the Federation, apparently the Alliance along with any other enemies outnumber you, and have better equipment. Even the cannon, the most useful weapon within one of the battles turns useless very quickly considering that it has a limited range.
In addition to all of these are the very dull missions that you receive. Even though you go to missions given a different task at first, each of the missions will end up the same way. Destroy all of the enemy ships within this galaxy. Sadly, what’s worse is that the tutorial itself doesn’t prove to be too useful either. Why? Because every other second, one of your comrades bosses you around and gives you obvious advice to survive, one of which happens to be: “make a miner base here, so we can get crystals”.
Even though majority of these problems were design choices, they seem to be implemented incorrectly, and were far too irritating to deal with. There’s even a game breaking bug, or something that is similar to it even after all of the patches. The bug itself occurred to me around chapters 5, where apparently the game didn’t unlock chapter 6 for me, so I had to continuously save until I finished the game itself. After finishing the whole title, I went back to see if I could unlock the other chapters, but that wasn’t a possibility. Whether this is a bug, or some sort of other problem, it was personally very irritating.
In addition to this is the useless achievements, and multiplayer. Neither of them seemed to be implemented. For some odd reason I never got any of the achievements after chapter 5 on my Steam account, even though I unlocked them on my in-game achievement menu. The multiplayer itself is deserted completely, and this is mostly because players believe that the multiplayer portion is still broken, or is still being fixed, however, this review won’t count this into the overall score.
There is a glimpse of hope for this title, and that is Skirmish mode. Skirmish mode is great for RTS players who want a quick battle against enemies. They basically choose what the maximum level tech that they are both allowed to use, and choose a map, and basically play quick matches. Personally, I found each one of these battles ridiculously easy, especially considering that players aren’t placed in a battle where all of the odds are against them. In addition, the enemy AI seems to be slow, because they hardly place mines around asteroids quick enough, or make military bases fast enough, before I finish them off.
Overall, it’s not that hard to understand that this game is completely broken, still. There are so many problems that it’s hard to recommend to anyone a title like this one for even 5 dollars, when there are better RTS titles out there. The game’s only main feature is an epic battle in outer space and nothing more. There is no other feature besides Skirmish mode that truly looked appealing, but even there, the battles themselves aren’t enjoyable, rather, they felt more like a chore to get all your money’s worth.