Domination

It's good to see that there's still a place somewhere in the vast repertoire of games for a turn-based strategy (TBS) title, and Domination fills that space.

Unlike most TBS games, though, Domination is packed to the hilt with next-gen strategy features that make good use of current 3-D graphics cards, and design that builds upon former ideas - which makes for some fairly-well refined gameplay.

Fans of the series may either be a little miffed or very relieved that the actual gameplay itself hasn't changed that much from Domination's earlier Massive Assault incarnations.

Some notable differences include a few new units, which for the first time differentiate the two warring factions, and a single-player component that has had far more effort put into it. Unfortunately, the effort was in vain, as the bizarre voiceovers and cheesy conversations are the first major annoyances that fans of the series have already identified as a weak point.

As before, its multiplayer component comes complete with the useful play-by-mail and direct action options, but - wait for it - after four months, players will need to pay a small subscription fee to continue playing online. In light of the number of titles that offer this kind of service for free, this is just offensive to Massive Assault's niche fan base.

Otherwise, there's some solid TBS gaming to be had here, and the missions offer engaging challenges. Many have complained of numerous bugs and gameplay misdemeanours, though we haven't suffered any to date. So, if you're interested, download the playable demo from www.domination-game.com before buying. Just be warned - it's a little large (230MB).

Score Card Visuals: Detailed and attractive 3-D units and environments use new graphics hardware well. Audio: Annoying and cheesy voice content, but background audio works well. Gameplay: The eventual subscription fee for online gaming takes the shine off of an otherwise very worthy and playable turn-based strategy game. Score: 4 Publisher: Dreamcatcher Developer: Wargaming.net URL: www.domination-game.com Price: $69.95

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