Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Planetary Annihilation [official site] got a mixed reception. On one hand, the premise and eventual game wasn’t too shabby. It took the plague-like swarms of units from Total Annihilation and the hefty robot generals of Supreme Commander and brought the whole RTS genre to it’s most ridiculous conclusion, forcing you to wage war on multiple globes. If you survived long enough against your opponent, you might even be able to build a massive thruster and launch one planet into another: the game’s ultimate superweapon.
On the other hand, features touted during the game’s Kickstarter were missing when it came out of beta and always-online DRM meant you couldn’t play against the computer without an internet connection (although that has since been fixed). What’s worse, the developers released a slightly-improved update, Planetary Annihilation: Titans, just one year afterwards, charging
full-price again another $15 for things that arguably should have been in the first game to begin with, leaving anyone who bought the original with a sour taste in their mouths. The only people who got this expansion for free were early Kickstarter backers.
But if you haven’t played either, and are itching for fast-paced land-grabbing, there is still a lot to like about these robotic hordes. The AI is fiendishly quick and challenging, combat is frantic and stressful, resource management is a hairy juggling act, and dramatic matches have explosive and silly finales worthy of cheers and groans. Titans is the definitive version, if you’re up for it. It’s not a perfect example of the genre, and the developer’s actions have given it a bad reputation. But if there’s a sale on and you’re in that particular mood, it’s worth taking over a few worlds.