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The Strengths of Homeworld 2

  1. #1

    The Strengths of Homeworld 2

    No, I don't mean this as bait or sarcasm. It's true I don't like Homeworld 2, but that discussion is everywhere. I'm curious what people see as the strengths of HW2, both as it's own game, and compared to HW1/HWC. I'm mostly interested in story or storytelling stuff, not straight fidelity or gameplay, unless it's an aspect of gameplay you feel serves the story.

    I may ask questions to dig for more details, but I'll try to refrain from slamming HW2 any. I ask that others show the same respect.
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  2. #2
    The middle easterny music was a great addition to the series soundscape, I felt.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sastrei View Post
    The middle easterny music was a great addition to the series soundscape, I felt.
    There was middle-easterny music in HW 1 as well. And personally i found the HW1 OST better overall. With obvious exception of Adagio for Strings and the Homeworld title song by Yes my personal fav tracks were the Imperial Battle music and then the Kharak track - especially this one is absolutely monumental and fits the spacey feeling of the game perfectly. Bottom line, its better than anything on HW2.

    That said, its not like HW2 music was bad or anything. And the whole game in general was not as bad as some people make it out to be on occasion. I prefered the original too, in about every possible way, but that does not make HW2 bad game. Just not as great as original, but then again, how many sequels trumped the original games? I recall liking Max Payne way more than Max Payne 2 too, and i am sure there will be others, especially among the titles you i liked the most.

  4. Gamers Lounge Senior Member General Discussions Senior Member Homeworld Senior Member  #4
    Legendary JAL-18's Avatar
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    The sensors manager is way more useful in that you can give orders through it. The Homeworld 1 sensor manager was really clunky and hard to use and it's jarring to go back to it.

    Storywise...I'm sorry, I can't think of any aspect where Homeworld 2 does this better than Homeworld 1. Even without the contradictions to the earlier games just internally the story is disjointed, shallow, and uninspiring. HW1 was a story about people whereas HW2 was a story about technology - you don't relate to technology.

    This does bring up something I think is interesting though in that I think Cataclysm's story was much better than people give it credit for. The manual added a ton of Kharakian and Kiith history as well as provided many of the ship descriptions for the Taiidan. Cataclysm also made an attempt to show off Kiith relationships and conflicts and show that it wasn't just "they lived happily ever after" post-Homeworld. Yes the Beast, energy cannons, seige cannons, etc. were all cheesy but there were a lot of good ideas in there too. (Plus, let's be real, that opening battle scene and music are sweet)

  5. #5
    Member Busby's Avatar
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    HW 1 had a better story but HW 2 was better to play.

  6. #6
    Member Carl's Avatar
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    Got my system back so i feel upto typing something here. Overall a couple of balance niggles aside, (typical for the level of patching of the era though so i can't really be too mad), and the lack of really detailed manual where the main things i felt HW2 got wrong. The burning sequence is so powerful because your so invested in the kushan's vis the manual. The death of the bentusi is an awesomely powerful moment, but it never reaches the same heights. That said i feel HW2 kept the emotional aspect going much longer, it built to the bentusi over time and only dead ended afterwards. Where's HW1 went up to the burning decayed through to the end of the garden and then dead ends barring the last mission/closing cinematic, (and i'd argue aside from the HW2 M11 cinematic the two end cinematic's for both games are my two favourite sequences).

    HW1, nah, I've never been a fan of anything about it gameplay wise or ui wise except so much in how bits inspired the superior HW2. As noted i quite liked HW1's story too but felt it fell flat over a lot more of the story, it just had a really epic high point.
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  7. Homeworld Senior Member  #7
    Hiding out on LM-27 Norsehound's Avatar
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    The user interface, camera controls, and orders delivery in Homeworld 2 was the most superior of the 3 systems.

    The modules idea was something interesting as well. That they kept it to super capitals was appropriate. I understand gameplay balance prevented multiple construction lines out of carrier ships, but I can live with it. Cataclysm may have started the idea but going the support unit route helped kill the game's appeal for me.

    The Vaygr as an asymmetric race addition was really big for the Homeworld universe. No Ions and using a different way of ship balance, but not loosing sight of what it means to be a homeworld faction (ie, no spamming of special unit abilities to make every ship seem more like a utility class than a combat class).

    Homeworld 2 built on some of the interesting leads set out by Homeworld 1: Mysterious starships, abandoned technologies, and the fulfillment of a grand destiny. I'm sure many wanted to explore more about the Karos Graveyard, what the background was all about, and how those ancient ships were wrecked there. Not only did Homeworld 2 expand on these ideas but it opened up another avenue to explore by way of the Progenitors.

    For me personally Homeworld 2 fleet mechanics felt more direct than in Homeworld 1 (And Cataclsym, which units felt more like toys than tools). I recall there was some negative feelings about the rock-paper-scissors nature of Homeworld 2 balance but I'm satisfied with knowing for certain that every ship in my fleet has a defined role that it does well, and actually displays those results. In Homeworld 1 I was never sure if my interceptors were working, or if Assault frigates were ever going to hit corvettes, or if More corvettes were better than multigun corvettes. You did not see that contrast as strikingly as one does in Homeworld 2 with regard to functionality.

    Squadron behavior was a nice addition. The design result was a subtle nudge to providing pre-packaged small units of fighters rather than forcing you to build your own. For those who like the fleet feel, it gave some structure to the big interceptor blob one would throw at enemy craft. By also giving a fighter unit more individuals in it gameplay can be dramatic without being crushing.

    The only two downsides I really perceive about Homeworld 2 is frigate fragility (it makes the Hiigans uninteresting to play), and the overall lack of polish. The bones of the story were good but the rushed nature prevented refinement to make it as moving of a story as the Homeworld 1 version.

  8. #8
    I like some of the devices used in the storytelling. The cut from the intro cutscene to the first mission was probably my favorite graphical sequence in the entire game... and I really, really liked the way the cutscenes in general blended the old HW/HWC storyboard style with smoother, more modern visuals. It was an elegant way to preserve something of great nostalgic value while giving it a next-generation update.

    One thing which was never outright mentioned, but which I thought was strongly implied, was a strengthening of the alliance between Hiigara and the Taiidani Republic- the designs of the Hiigaran ships in HW2 evoke both Kushan and Taiidan designs from the HW1 era, which implies that there's been some degree of tech trading going on. Other little ship-related details hint at commerce between Hiigara and elsewhere- the resource crates in the first mission (the ones with corporate markings), the long-haul bulk transport design of the crew ships in M02, and so on. The one thing I thought the HW2 writers and artists did really effectively was to sell Hiigara as a rising power on the galactic stage... it was evident even though your contact with other powers during the game was really quite minimal.

    Agreed with JAL-18 on the sensor manager; being able to issue orders beyond basic movement while looking at the overmap was very handy. I also loved that dust clouds could actually conceal ships; that was something that was referred to in the other two games but never actually put into gameplay. Those were nice... especially the radioactive clouds that offered concealment, but only for a price in health. Defense platforms were also a plus for me... something I felt the first two games lacked- a means of moving in and securing a location without necessarily tying up ships there all the time. Far, far more effective than minefields ever were, even when mines worked.

    As far as the content of the story and the rest of the gameplay... I liked HW and HWC much, much better, and beyond that I'll just keep my big mouth closed.

  9. #9
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    Siber: You've heard me say these things on #bp before, but I'll post it here anyway. Just going to submit a modified version of something I posted to the Gearbox forums about why I think HW2 is a better HW game than Cataclysm is. Incoming wall of text.


    seriously, wall of text



    Homeworld 1 is better game than either of them, but HW2 is a far, far better sequel, IMO.
    Last edited by Aesaar; 19th Mar 15 at 4:27 AM.

  10. #10
    Member Carl's Avatar
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    HW2, to me, is not a story about finding the holy grail, it's about culturally primitive people who think they're looking for the holy grail because they can't help but project their religion onto things they can't understand. We're destined to win this war because God is on our side, and he's left us these hints so that we may find the weapons he has left for us. After all, who but God could create these weapons? And who but God could leave such formidable guardians to protect them?
    This just wants to make me bang my head so hard.

    Look not every religions definition of a god is the same as ours. If all the legends about sajjuuk say he did was shape the universe so it was fit for them to live on and created all the life thereon and the ship turns out to be a giant teraformer, then in reality it does fit their definition of a god.

    Or hell look at what happened to poor Karan between games. She's become a religious icon, a sort of household god separate from the old pantheon all on the basis of her exploits in HW1 as fleet command, a sort of extreme form of hero worship. No one's expecting her to go around shooting thunderbolts or otherwise doing anything we'd consider godly, but she's still treated in a semi-divine fashion anyway.

    That doesn't neceserially mean the scenario i sketched out above for sajjuuk is right, but don't assume just because they're willing to treat pieces of technology as of divine construction as them being primitive. That's making assumptions about their religion and how it fits into their world view. Personally i always treated the Higgaran's as, (overall, individuals are individuals), agnostic on the whole thing, they just use religious sounding language a lot when discussing it because, well, thats how their language has evolved to talk about sajjuuk. They'd be using bad grammar to phrase it differently. The vaygr on the other hand are clearly true believers.

  11. #11
    Member Aesaar's Avatar
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    And that's a perfectly valid interpretation. I view the Hiigarans more like the ancient Greeks and Romans or early Renaissance Europe that way. They're fully capable of using science to explain a lot of the world around them, and they understand the way most of their tech works, but what they can't explain, they call the work of the gods. This covers most Progenitor technology. They might look at Sajuuk and the Dreadnought the same way the ancient Greeks would have looked at an abandoned WW1 battleship. I definitely don't see them as agnostic. The Taiidan probably, the Hiigarans and Vaygr, no.

    Again, this is my interpretation, and you can certainly able to disagree with it. HW2 leaves a lot of room for discussion. I just think the story becomes a lot more interesting if the Hiigarans aren't just modern-day humans in terms of cultural and religious attitude.

  12. #12
    Member Carl's Avatar
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    Again, this is my interpretation, and you can certainly able to disagree with it. HW2 leaves a lot of room for discussion. I just think the story becomes a lot more interesting if the Hiigarans aren't just modern-day humans in terms of cultural and religious attitude.
    Oh don't get me wrong they won't be anything like us i agree. I've said before that given they went from pre-gunpowder to modern tech in 3 centuries, (it took us in the west 8), and to beyond us by probably several centuries in another 2. Even accounting for another century, they're going to be lagging us culturally a lot, though they probably didn't start from the same place as us except in very broad strokes. But in HW2 for example, when Karan, Fleet Intel, and Soban are discussing Sajuuuk, the progenitors, e.t.c. the language doesn't feel very true believer. There's a total lack of any lines that speak of blind reverence. They clearly know of Sajjuuk, (duh), and the progenitors and there's a degree of reverance, but nothing like what you see in the typical full on religionary, Makaann on the other hand displays clear signs of it in his language choices.

    Also sorry if i seemed a bit harsh. The quoted line came off more as blind "anyone who believes in god is stupid", which annoys me generally but especially in settings where the definition of the word "god" may not match our own.

    Also when i say Agnostic. i mean more charles darwin than modern human. Much more religious in general, (qf what happened to Karan between games), than modern human's, but still fully willing to question their understanding of how the world works through science and modify both their religious views via their view of the worlds from a science PoV to keep the two in sync.

    Closest i can come up with would be DS9's Bajoran's, though they're probably a bit more overtly religious than i'd peg higgaran's at. Whilst Vaygr are the other side, (i.e. more religious).

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Aesaar View Post
    Siber: You've heard me say these things on #bp before, but I'll post it here anyway. Just going to submit a modified version of something I posted to the Gearbox forums about why I think HW2 is a better HW game than Cataclysm is. Incoming wall of text.
    Wow... that is almost a perfect mirror of my own thoughts on Cataclysm vs Homeworld 2.

  14. #14
    The thing I liked about homeworld 2 was the pacing and the challenging difficulty

    In the first few missions (Tanis, link up with crew, regrouping with shipyard) everything was just FUBAR - you were under constant attack, the vaygr had you on the back foot and all the fights were frenetic and exciting. Later on the missions became more peaceful, space-exploration type missions like in HW1 - And then you return to missions like Thaddis Sabbah where you get annihilated with one wrong move. With the possible exception of Kadesh I can't remember any homeworld 1 missions that were anywhere near as challenging

    Overall I think of HW1 as a game where you explore the beautiful universe, and HW2 as more a tense battle of survival.

    Didn't think much of homeworld: space zombies

  15. #15
    Member Chimas's Avatar
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    Hi Siber,
    Regarding the storytelling side, I think the strength of HW2 is how it relates to a grand strategy and military logistics. Although there is a potential for much more, they barely scratched it.

    In M-01 you have the secret base that is get by surprise. In M-02 you have the convoy under attack that needs help. In M-03 you have to rendez-vous with a shipyard to get reinforced by a carrier;
    In M-04 you have to breach a HS inhibittor field and get a station by surprise. As Grankl said the drama for survive is part of the storytelling and part of the strength for HW2. Meanwhile HW1 is more cosmocentric and pictures very well the size of space, the void and how a race feels lone and fragile on it, HW2 is more anthropocentric and has more stress and struggle for survival appeal.

    There would be more in other missions, but what I dislike is that in all 3 games you have too much misterious situations and events**. I think this strength of HW1 and HWC became a brand to be honored in every game and ended up a weakness in HW2. I really dislike the oracle, the progenitors, the dreadnaught, sajuuk and etc. Now the game is done for a while and it's easy to criticize, but I would have done a game with more targets, commerce hubs, stations with more capabilities and such. I would have fill it with more stuff.

    ** - Played only the 1st mission of Cataclism. Really hated the voiceover in that game ...

  16. #16
    I thought HW2 was OK. Sure, the story was stupid and having to research tech that would have alredy existed was lame. But it just wasn't as good as Homeworld.
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  17. #17
    I thought HW2 was OK. Sure, the story was stupid and having to research tech that would have alredy existed was lame. But it just wasn't as good as Homeworld.
    Was there supposed to be a strength in there?

    At least for the remastered versions, so far I'm having more fun playing Homeworld 2's campaign than I did HW, mainly due to Strikecraft not sucking and actually being pretty great, on their own or as a first wave before the rest of the fleet comes in. I also also surprised by how well the Marine frigates captured ships when they were first unlocked, they didn't seem nearly as good in classic, but due to my maxed fleet they're kinda useless now and very weak so I keep them back near the mothership, out of danger. I'd retire them, but I want to try and capture a Battlecruiser when we first come across them.

    Also, not really a strength or weakness but I'm halfway through the campaign and sitting on over 190,000 RUs?

  18. #18
    Member Carl's Avatar
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    The classic HW2 Campaign needs them for the latter missions but they nerfed the difficulty for RM without scratching the RU income.

  19. #19
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    The UI got an improvement.

    ...yep, that's all *I* can say about it. Because we're not allowed to say anything negative. :P

  20. #20
    Well, the biggest Weakness of Homeworld 2 I would gather is that it tried to ride the nostalgia train far harder than it should have. The entire 'Hyperspace Core' lore was made up on the spot to justify the existance of a second Mothership, and even worse, unlike the first game the Mothership serves absolutly no gameplay purpose as the Shipyard can do everything the Mothership can do and then some. I could argue that the story would have improved if they simply tossed the mothership and gave the player a Carrier in the beginning.

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