A real time strategy game, Earth Liberation, is set in the year 2077 when mankind becomes aware of an alien threat. They first appeared over Mars where pyramid shaped craft arose from the surface and headed toward Earth. After amassing a fleet, the aliens known as the reptiloids, a reptilian species, came to Earth to destroy humanity. Earth launched a resistance and our defense forces began the campaign to take back the planet. Earth Liberation is about the fight between Earth’s Resistance forces and the invading reptiloids.
In this game players take the side of Earth’s Resistance forces. The missions within the campaign are set as different stories and in different locations around the world. Before we get to the main missions of the campaign, the game takes us through a tutorial. Over two missions you play the tutorial, which are short missions but go through the main parts of the game like constructing defenses, player movement, and objectives. Once you are ready to play the game goes from being an easy tutorial to full out war.
During the the missions within the Campaign, the player commands a variety of units. These include the simple Marine soldiers with ballistic rifles, Rocketeers with rocket launchers, and when the helicopter support is available mortar units for taking out anti aircraft guns. Before the mission there is a text introduction letting players know where they are in the story, for instance the mission after the tutorial places the player in South Africa. In addition, when starting the mission a robotic Adjutant tells us our main objectives and introduces new allies. Allies include a Marine commander that leads the troops but also must be protected and air support.
The main goal of missions is to take out the reptiloid command center but to do that there are other goals like taking out barracks, air and ground defenses, and defending the commander. Our troops in turn must protect the Resistance base. When starting you see the enemies defenses but no enemies are on the map. After mission 3 we get forces available to start but must build the ground defenses. My biggest surprise was once the mission began and the reptiloids appear I realized this seemingly innocent RTS game turned out to be a very challenging battle with a relentless AI that produced a full onslaught of enemies. So after the first missions of the campaign it gets more like a war with more troops, defenses, and fortresses. Making this a great RTS game and challenge.
As far as a sci-fi themed Real Time Strategy it was creative with a fascinating story. I liked the artistic renderings in the opening scenes telling the story of the reptiloid invasion. They didn’t just come and invade Earth but stopped at Mars to gather pyramid craft buried under the surface. Mankind was unaware and unprepared for what was to come. The reptiloids are a worthy foe that wants to destroy Mankind. Humans have the Resistance that includes the Marines. You are aided by a robot Adjutant that relays objectives and allies who give information during the gameplay. I did like the fact there is resource earning and the ability to build your defenses and barracks.
As for the resources they are produced at a steady pace. Turrets cost the most so having a decent size ground can help when turrets get destroyed. Both turrets and barracks are built using designated colored markers around your main base. Its clever and takes the guess work out of the positioning of defenses. This liberates players to focus on training soldiers and completing objectives. However, it can at times take away from the strategy aspect of the game. Another thing is each mission is timed and having those markers saves time.
To build your defenses and train units resources must be accumulated over time. In order to speed up the process and earn currency for training and building are containers. Just send out a soldier to collect one and build your force. Throughout the game players earn more units . To find out more about each unit players can click on them to get a stats bar that gives information on damage, health, and what can be targeted. This also shows up when clicking an enemy. Unit type is shown as well.
As for gameplay, it’s very straightforward. All a player has to do is click on a unit or select a group and click another area. Your units move to the new position or attack enemies in range. This is not a turn base game and the gameplay is continuous until you complete your objective, the enemy destroys your base, or time runs out. Even though the gameplay is simple and straightforward the game is high paced and very challenging. Just in the third mission, what should be a lighter gameplay, the AI kept training reptiloid soldiers for a relentless attack. The game’s AI will not show mercy and its up to the player to find out the best strategy to keep the enemy back so you can press forward.
The reptiloid soldiers move slightly faster then the Marine units. It is good to have a rear guard protecting any troops moving toward objectives. Use Rocketeers and mortar units for the heavy defenses and barracks, they are good for the lighter soldiers but cost more than the Marine units. For the most part movement is balanced. However, the biggest factor between Resistance and the reptiloids have to do with weapons and strength. The reptiloids have what looks like laser weapons. When they come to a turret or the players command base they can inflict heavy damage with their weapons and they tend to have strength in numbers. As mentioned above the AI does produce reptiloids at a fast rate, because of this I felt there was a slight imbalance in the amount of enemies compared with Resistance fighters. We require resources and the AI spits out reptiloids at a rapid pace. Once the barracks are destroyed its only the turrets standing in the way of Marine victory. I also found that flanking the enemy and moving behind their line of sight while having a large force around the base helped. Also using the terrain is advantageous.
From playing this game I have noticed that the reptiloids are not very resilient and can be easily taken down. However, the Resistance forces are not overly resilient either and last just as long as the reptiloids. It feels balanced this way and each force is on about equal footing. The big challenge is the number of reptiloids that come after your base. At the Resistance base you only get the ability to build a set number of turrets and barracks. With a limit on resources, building an army while defending the base is top priority. Once enough troops have been trained and as more resources accumulate the player must move the units into strategic positions to take out the barracks, defenses, and command base. The barracks are priority number one objective as this prevents the AI from training more enemies. Enemy turrets prove challenging and can also be destroyed.
It seems as if Earth Liberation’s AI is able to train unlimited amounts of reptiloids. At first it was overwhelming but the enemy is predictable, at least this game puts the strategy in Real Time Strategy.
Beyond having a decent AI, the soundtrack is perfect for the game, its instrumental but foreboding to keep with the theme of resistance in the face of annihilation. Of course the models and art is very well done with different reptiloid enemies, including the armored Dynos and the Resistance forces are armored troops with different styles to depict their type. Event he allies have their own little avatars that appear in a text box. It might not be voiced but their is enough text and conversation to tell the story in detail and know the objective.
Even in the face of a relentless foe and the challenge of keeping ahead of the AI, Earth Liberation is a fun RTS game with a great story of resistance against an invading alien force. With allies that help along the way, ability to build defenses and train troops, and clear objectives this game allows players to focus on amassing an army and plan a strategy to take back Earth from the reptiloids. I highly recommend this game for anyone who enjoys a challenging RTS and want to fight against a fascinating reptilian alien enemy.