If so many decent space simulations had not preceded the release of Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain, the idea of a space conquest game that focuses on exterminating all life that dares be a little different from your own race might be somewhat more palatable. But in this case, there is absolutely no danger of confusing the eight opposing races with the Federation do-gooders of say, Star Trek or Battlestar: Galactica. Actually, the perspective held in the game resembles the latter more than the former. The universe in which Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain is set is a harsh, cruel place and you've got your sights set on becoming emperor at all costs, to your own race as well as the alien races (in this instance, humans make up one of the eight "alien" races since you can play from any one of the eight perspectives.)
The problem with Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain is that nearly every aspect has been done before in some form or another. All the basic elements of most world builders such as resource management, colonization (eminent domain), technology advancements and military buildup are faithfully reproduced here. The main ingredient that makes the game a bit different is the emphasis on two aspects. One is the fact that you can research multiple technologies on the impressive but obligatory "tree" at the same time rather than using a domino effect to topple the advances in linear fashion and two, the overriding focus on real time space battles. To be successful in this game, it is absolutely imperative that your military forces (starships, etc.) be strong, plentiful and deadly.
Each of the eight factions has, per the usual formula, unique characteristics, strengths, abilities, attributes, weaknesses and agendas, although the goal of each is identical: world (or universal) domination. There is really no room for moral imperatives as the road to success lies directly through the mayhem of violent space encounters supported by the latest technological advances in space combat equipment and weaponry. It's basically a race to see which faction can develop weapons of mass destruction the quickest and, of course, production and management of resources is the driving force behind it.
If you're a veteran gamer in the space/combat/conquest genre, you'll no doubt get a serious case of deja vu after spending any quality time with Pax Imperia. Certainly Master of Orion II comes to mind immediately but even so, the game manages to inject a few welcome improvements in some areas such as simplicity of the ship design interface and upgrade facilities for spacecraft. Battle sequences can be frustrating unless you've got excellent hand-eye coordination as battles in real time tend toward the arcade mode but as a concession to playability, the designers included an option to pause the real time action in order to allow you to assess each situation and make changes accordingly. Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain isn't a bad game, it just has a feeling of "been there, done that" that pervades the sense of enjoyment. It's basically an old dog with a few new tricks.
Graphics: Better than average, pretty nice eye candy, but not overly gorgeous.
Sound: Not as developed as one might expect but in a way it may be more realistic given the lack of noise in space.
Enjoyment: The emphasis on real time space battle is a double edged sword. You either love it or you don't, but in this game you'd at least better get used to it. The depth of resource management and technological branching isn't as fully developed as in some games in the genre but the manufacture of deadly space craft and equipment is fairly comprehensive. There is certainly no confusion on what the ultimate victory conditions are in Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain.
Replay Value: Lots of action, plenty of races and options to choose from. Definitely scores high in this department.
People who downloaded Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain (a.k.a. Pax Imperia 2) have also downloaded:
Imperium Galactica 2: Alliances, Imperium Galactica, Master of Orion 3, Star Trek: Starfleet Command 3, Patrician 3: Rise of the Hanse, Master of Orion 2: Battle at Antares, Homeworld 2, Port Royale: Gold, Power and Pirates
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