I really wanted to like this game. I was excited about the premise, and I eagerly waited for it to download. As I dove into the “meat and potatoes” of the game, I was both pleased and frustrated. This is one of those games that can be polarizing. Some friends of mine enjoyed their experience while I found it disappointing. Here is my take on Etherium…
Etherium brings some wonderful innovation to the RTS genre. For instance, there is a dynamic weather system that forces players to adapt constantly. Many times you will be forced to sell units before they are blown away by hurricanes, or you have to change map strategy by opening routes that were previously closed off. This is because a blizzard froze over a river, or you have to avoid other routes because a volcano was about to erupt. Players are forced to stay on their toes. They adapt quickly, or pay a severe cost for ignoring the elements. I also found that the AI was done exceptionally well, and each level of difficulty seemed appropriate for the player. The true game potential develops once you get into the deeper mechanics, and you are able to realize how different the factions are. It is impressive with what a wide variety build orders Etherium offers.
I feel like Etherium could have benefited from more time in development. The story was told through very little CGI, and it tended to resemble 1980’s anime style (moving stills). That in and of itself is not much of an issue, but I found the story shallow. There just was not a "wow factor" to the way they presented it. The single player seemed to be shallow as well, with most missions feeling like it was a lot of rinse and repeat. The controls seemed to be a bit counter-intuitive, and to be honest, until I made significant customizations, I was all but ready to stop playing the game. I felt like Etherium had mediocre graphics, and only a handful of distinctive units and abilities. Overall, it is short on charm, once the newness of the innovations wore off. At the time of my review, Etherium suffers from a small player base which also hurt the multiplayer experience.
Etherium has a lot of potential. There is a solid foundation to build upon. The innovations and dynamic weather systems can be a game changing aspect to the RTS genre. To fully recommend this game, I would need to see a more fleshed out version, and a less repetitive single player campaign. I would need those innovations built upon. When it comes down to it, Etherium was like a movie with a great trailer and a lot of hype that just missed the mark. I do believe that the sequel looks more promising.
2.5 out of 5
Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.