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Earth 2160 is the latest game in a series that's flown a bit under the radar for some time now. Though not as well known as Warcraft or Age of Empires, the Earth games have still managed to garner a solid following thanks to some excellent gameplay mechanics, as well as graphics that have always pushed the boundaries of technology. And, on the surface, Earth 2160 delivers the same. It has a state-of-the-art graphics engine along with some great mechanics. However, all of that can't quite overcome a badly told single-player campaign that overstays its welcome. Still, if you can get over these flaws, there's a good game lurking in there.

Picking up after the events of Earth 2150 and its expansions, Earth 2160 takes place on Mars and the outer solar system, where the three surviving factions of humanity continue to battle for supremacy and a new home. As always, the factions in Earth 2160 are quite distinct from one another. The European Dynasty could probably be considered the most "conventional" of the three, as it has tanklike units and builds sprawling, interconnected bases. The Lunar Corporation is an Amazon-like faction headed up by women, and it relies on lots of hovercraft-like units and constructs towering, vertical bases. Then there's the Union of Civilized States, a powerful, technologically advanced faction that favors multilegged robotic units, as well as alienlike bases that "sprout" out of the ground. And speaking of alienlike, there's a fourth new faction in the game, the aliens, which differ from the human races because they don't research technology or build bases. Instead, the aliens have the ability to clone themselves and mutate to powerful new forms.


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