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Nexus: The Jupiter Incident PC CD-ROM

Published by Mithis Entertainment
Developed by HD Interactive/Vivendi
Release Date: Out Now
Price : £34.99

A lot of people are going to take a quick look at Nexus: The Jupiter Incident and come to the conclusion that the game is similar to the Homeworld games. In truth on first glance it does look that way but even a small amount of time will reveal the truth that the game has very little in common with the Homeworld series except that it's set in space. Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is a more tactical RTS that is more about strategy than a type of RTS game that requires quick manoeuvring of the mouse and complete familiarity of the keyboard hotkeys. It's all about making correct decisions and the choices you make are altogether more sophisticated than in your typical RTS. The only game I've played that's remotely similar is Star Trek: Star Fleet Command Volume II. You issue orders that are much more sophisticated than those in most RTS games.

The single-player game puts you in the shoes of Marcus Cromwell. Cromwell is, even at a young age, a famous captain. Along with his spaceship, the Stiletto, he's already seen plenty of action in his efforts to save Earth from alien races. During the game you'll control up to 10 battleships at a time and it's thanks to the tactical nature of the game, as well as the excellent interface, that this proves to be a comfortable experience. Throughout the game you'll encounter missions that throw up a variety of objectives. Unlike other RTS games though it's not just a case of destroying your enemy. You may have to inspect a ships cargo for instance and if they become hostile you'll have to take out their weapons or damage their hull before you can safely send over a detachment to carry out the inspection. At times you'll have to explore to complete objectives and you'll be able to execute the required orders. In fact you really are the captain and aggressive, defensive and stealth actions are all needed in order to be successful in the game. The single-player game is made up of 6 Episodes that are comprised of 26 missions in total. The game also supports LAN and online play too. It's also great to see co-operative play as an option for the multiplayer games. Mithis have also included various modding tools and some examples of what can be done with the tools.

Before we had seen Nexus The Jupiter Incident we would have to say that Homeworld 2 would be the best looking space based strategy game we had seen. Nexus makes Homeworld 2 look decidedly average though and it's depiction of an in-space environment has to be the best we've seen (yes even taking X² into account). Everything from the planets to the spacecraft looks absolutely stunning and I for one was very impressed with the detail on display. The whole game has that wow factor that Homeworld had all those years ago. You might feel more distant from the action because of the nature of the game but those epic battles are pure space opera and are really enjoyable to watch. In fact it's a blessing that you can pause the game to issue orders otherwise it would be annoying not being able to fully appreciate the impressive battles that take place.

Visually it's not just the graphics which are pleasing on the eye. The interface is clean, slick and completely user friendly. The 3D nature of Nexus means that a quality interface was necessary in order to avoid complication and a quality interface is certainly what we have here. Right from the first mission the game felt comfortable and the interface was never once obtrusive as it manages to remain at the edges of the screen and therefore it doesn't ever block your view. You'll have an icon on your HUD for every spaceship that you encounter and simply choose the desired action and then right click on the icon in your HUD. You don't have to scroll around to find the ship. This means it's not a major headache to keep track of spaceships in this wonderful 3D environment.

Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is impressive in it's provision of subtitles although there are a couple of omissions. With subtitles enabled you'll find most things, even the games introduction, are subtitled. Conversations are shown in coloured dialogue boxes (with each character's comments being shown is a separate dialogue box with a picture of their face next to the text) so you'll be able to follow exactly what's going on. Notifications you receive from your ships computer and comments that are given when you issue orders are the things that are not subtitled. This doesn't cause any problems but it's a shame that these voices weren't subtitled given that everything else is. Mission briefings and objectives are given in text and the objectives can be recalled at any time during a mission.

Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, as we've mentioned a few times, is not your typical RTS. In fact in many ways, it will probably appeal strongly to fans of turn-based strategy games because of it's depth and the fact that you can pause the game to make decisions in your own time. Gamers who aren't patient enough to play a game where you issue orders then wait for them to be carried out might be deterred by the lack of immediacy in Nexus and there's really little you can do about this because it's just not that kind of RTS. Comparing it with Star Trek: Starfleet Command command games (because after all it's the only remotely similar game that we've seen before) I have to say that Nexus is much more like it and far more intuitive and does a far better job in making you feel like you're a captain of a spaceship.

Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10
An altogether different kind of RTS that is actually pretty impressive. The less hectic, more tactical, pace may not be to every RTS fans liking but it's a game worthy of praise.

Deaf Gamers comment:
There are some exceptions but for the most part it's fine for deaf gamers.