100 - Armada Online (PC)

I've been tooling about with the alpha version of this for a few months, but even with a severely limited functionality it makes its way into my 100. I enjoyed the Dreamcast original very much. Straightforward, fast-paced and rather addictive. Armada Online takes that and turns the pace down somewhat, focusing on a more tactical level of combat and different areas offering different objectives and play styles.

Essentially the game consists of a number of combat objectives that players can team up to take on. Alliances are formed, preparations are made, then its off to fight the bad guys. Aside from the combat there are ship upgrades, personal skills that affect your combat, mining and trade abilities, and 'influence', which allows you to purchase limited-time bonuses. There are also plans for a fairly in-depth item creation element. So it's perfect for a quick blast but promises to offer the kind of depth that keeps online gamers coming back for more.

Everything is mouse controlled, with the option to use keys for equipment shortcuts. Using your weapons wisely is important, as each one takes its toll on your ship's energy banks. As you rise up the technical ladder you'll be tougher and more maneuverable, but as with all these games you have very humble beginnings. These early parts can feel a bit slow (dare I use the fateful word grind), but it's also remarkably relaxing. It's absolutely gorgeous too, the perfect blend of 3D objects and a 2D playing field. There's a lot still to be implemented but even at this stage its an impressive piece of work.

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