Gemini Wars: Fighting Smartly Against a Tough, but Inconsistent Enemy
A little while back, I wrote a preview of Gemini Wars in which I tackled the tutorial as well as the first mission. Once I received the review code of the game, I decided to skip the first mission in order to avoid repetition for both you guys and myself as well. I was happy with how the first mission played out, but would the fun continue into the next mission? Read on to find out my friend. (Note, this is also likely pretty spoilery if you’ve not played the game, FYI.)
In this mission, we’ve been sent to Korvus by Admiral Gravely-Voice (I don’t know his actual name, but DAMN that voice…) in order to protect this valuable system from being overrun. Before I left, I checked the local news feed, which worked this time, and added some flavor to the game that I enjoyed. It’s been a while since I saw a game try to infuse some life into their universe this way, but it was appreciated.
Anyway, when I arrived in Korvus, I found out that there were not only two Vindicator-class cruisers being fielded by our enemy — which greatly outclassed our frigates — but that they had already begun mining operations, so we were already behind. I immediately ordered a mining station built and, once that was completed, built more missile frigates and turrets around my military station. It wasn’t long before the enemy sent in their first attack wave…
Thankfully we had enough turrets and ships to fight off the first Alliance attack, but I knew there’d be more, so I kept building and building. While all this was going on, I noticed two things. One, I can’t select a new ship right away, I have to wait until it’s launched and clear of the military base, which to an impatient guy like me is DAMNED annoying, and two, the Battle Camera — while nifty — isn’t very useful, sadly. Anyway, once the game told me I had enough missile frigates, I warped over the enemy-held mining station in the Gamma asteroid field to destroy the station there, as it was a stepping stone to Abbot and my main target, its Alliance military station.
Now as I said, I can be pretty impatient. In most RTS games, I’m typically like “Build all the Units, Kill all the Things!”, which works much of the time. Oh, not so here. I sent my fleet to Gamma and got my behind handed to me on a pretty silver platter. I think this was the game’s way of telling me, “No, don’t fight big, fight smart!”. This was a rare occurrence for me in a video game, and while it was frustrating, I honestly appreciated the smackdown I got. Eventually my fleet of twenty-plus ships was reduced to freaking two, so I had them jump back home to regroup and come up with a new plan…
I had to come up with a new plan, so I turtled for a bit. While I rebuilt my fleet, the enemy kept harassing my main base, but thankfully I kept them off while I formulated my plan. I realized that I would have to be a bit more risky than I usually am in games like this, which added to the tension, in a good way.
I slowly built as many ships as I could, and took a gamble. After building several frigates, I jumped to Gamma. However, I didn’t intend to hang around this time. When a ship jumps, it needs time to recharge its hyperdrive so it can jump again. I therefore waited until the hyperdrives recharged, then jumped my small fleet to Abbot, in order to scout out the enemy defenses there and see if I could do some damage while I was at it. What I ran into were the two cruisers as well as some frigates, as well as the frigates that followed me from Gamma. Ack!
While I lost some ships to this maneuver, it was useful in seeing just what I was up against. I surmised that I couldn’t do this with one lone mining station, so I took another risk. I selected my lone construction ship and jumped it to the Gamma field, where the Alliance mining station and a few ships watched it come in. While the ship is slow, I immediately ordered it to cruise away from the enemy while its engine recharged. Thankfully the forces in Gamma didn’t get there in time before I jumped the construction ship to Beta field. However, the enemy then send ships from Alpha field to pursue! Clever!
When the ship arrived at Beta field, I had her gun her engines at once and move away from the jump point. This gave me time to move some of my own frigates over to Beta field while four enemy frigates pursued my construction ship. Thankfully I sent enough frigates to take care of the Alliance ships, who were quickly wiped out of Beta field.
Then, I had to wait a while. Since I only had the one mining station, new crystals — the game’s main form of currency — came in at a slow pace, so I had to slow my building of new ships and turrets in order to save enough for a new mining station. While waiting for enough crystals to role in, the Alliance kept sending out probing attacks against both my forces in Beta as well as my main station, though the fleets with which these attacks occurred kept getting smaller and smaller…
Eventually, I had enough crystals to build the Beta mining station, which immediately sped up my intake of crystals. This, in turn, sped up the construction of new frigates, and eventually I had a sizable fleet split between my main base and Beta field. Eventually, I had enough turrets around Beta mining station that I decided to take another gamble. I sent both halves of my fleet at the Gamma mining station, flanking them from two directions and attacking their defending forces and the mining station simultaneously.
Indeed, eventually Gamma mining station did fall under the weight of my fleet, the attack by whom went SO much better than my last attack on the station. I lost some ships in the attack, so I queued up several more frigates. Eventually I hit my unit cap, but had several ships queued up in case I lost more (you can queue up to ten at once, apparently). Once I had a big enough fleet, I sent the split fleet separately to Alpha field, to attack the mining base and remaining ships holed up there.
Eventually Alpha also fell under my guns, so I decided to try and bold move and jump all of my remaining ships to Abbot, to attack the cruisers and base there. We jumped in and headed straight for the base. By the time we got close enough to fire, one (not both?) of the cruisers was firing back.
We thankfully took the first cruiser out, but at a great cost, and we were once again forced to retreat. Fortunately this whole time I was building ships back at our own base, and once I had enough ships together at Gamma, we moved in for our final attack. THIS time, we stopped and waited for the cruiser to come to us, so we’d only have to fight it and maybe a frigate or two. This worked well, as the second cruiser went down in short order.
Eventually, we whittled away the enemy’s defenses until the military station went down in a ball of fire and death, and the mission was won…nearly ninety minutes after it began. This was likely due to a combination of my own impatience, starting at a slight disadvantage, and the game knowing well enough when to beat me down. I was drenched in sweat when it was done, but it was a well-fought and satisfying victory.
Besides what I mentioned before about the slow time in selecting new ships and so on, one thing bugged me. If the enemy had two huge cruisers at its command…why didn’t they send them out to fight me? They basically kept them in a picket duty around the military station. I get that the station is a VERY key target, but if those cruisers had shown up at the wrong time for me, the mission would’ve been over that much sooner, and without me as the victor.
I’ll chalk this up to inconsistent AI. While there were times the AI surprised me by pursuing me, turning tail and heading back to base when necessary and so on, it could also be pretty dumb at times. For example, keeping a small enemy force battling against a larger fleet well past the point they should have retreated.
Regardless of this, I had a really great time in my second mission of Gemini Wars, and crap, there are still over a dozen to go! If they all go as long as this one did, I’ll be at this a while. Next time I’ll try to, once again, fight smart rather than fight hard. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of my Gemini Wars review. Please also enjoy the gallery below of all the screenshots I took, and thanks for visiting!