Welcome to this Star Wars Empire at War mod review, this post will cover the Thrawn’s Revenge mod for Star Wars Empire of War: Forces of Corruption, created by Corey Loses. To say that this mod is an overhaul of Star Wars: Empire at War is an understatement. This mod is nothing short than a complete re-imagining of the core mechanics of the game that not only expands on the original idea but improves it in almost every conceivable way.
To break down exactly why Thrawn’s Revenge (also known as Imperial Civil War) is such a fantastic mod, we need to explore some key elements to this project that make it worthy of a mod review here on Sacred Icon.
The Galaxy Far, Far Away
One of Empire at War’s biggest drawbacks was the underwhelming nature of the Galaxy map. Considering the fact that Empire at War is a layered game with both space and ground combat battles coordinated by a greater map screen that depicts the Star Wars galaxy, the layout was uninspired and cramped. Thrawn’s Revenge completely overhauls this by accurately recreating the Star Wars Galaxy from various Legends sources, and the mod adds hundreds of new planets, asteroid fields and other systems that can be fought over in the game. To account for this huge Galaxy, there are also multiple new factions in the game.
Control New Factions
If the mod’s two titles ‘Thrawn’s Revenge’ and ‘Imperial Civil War’ don’t give it away, this mod is set during the post-Endor era in the Star Wars Legends continuity, meaning that Emperor Palpatine is dead (for now) and the Empire has splintered into multiple warring factions. In total, the number of factions in this game varies dramatically depending on what mode you play, and there are lots of new non-playable factions that populate the updated, larger Galaxy. Playable factions include the standard Empire, the New Republic (formerly the Rebel Alliance), the Pentastar Alignment, the Greater Maldrood, Zsinj’s Empire, the Corporate Sector Authority, the Eriadu Authority and the Empire of the Hand. Needless to say, that’s a lot of Imperial splinter factions, and each one is represented by its own colour and distinctive sector of space.
However, there is a lot more distinguishing these factions than just their colour. Each former Imperial faction has its own set of specific ships and units, and with that come specific strengths and weaknesses. The Greater Maldrood, for example, lacks a large starting territory but specializes in heavy-hitting capital ships with lots of firepower. Conversely, Zsinj’s Empire starts off with a fairly large territory – as well as a Super Star Destroyer – but must rely on inferior frigates, even ex-Rebel ships, to maintain its dwindling fleet. This highlights one of the greatest strengths of the Thrawn’s Revenge mod, and that is that it encourages players to use the various tactics and strategies of their chosen faction in order to succeed. The New Republic relies on starfighters and hit-and-run tactics at first as it lacks sufficient capital ships, whilst the Imperial Remnant must cede territory and fortify a specific area otherwise it will be carved up by the greedy warlord factions.
Whichever faction you play as, you will have unique units and heroes to try out, and each faction has a different difficulty rating as some control vast swathes of space whilst others are tiny juntas holding out against the New Republic and Imperial Remnant. The huge swathe of new units and heroes added to the game make each and every faction feel unique and learning the best way to play each one is an interesting process that can make for hours of fun. Specific highlights include the Quasar Fire carrier for the New Republic, an early and somewhat costly frigate that comes loaded with starfighters, the Boarding Shuttle, which lets opportunistic New Republic players capture Star Destroyers. Add to that the huge range of new types of Star Destroyer available in this game and there is a diverse array of fleets to see here, and this is barely the tip of the iceberg.
Build the New Republic
With Palpatine dead, the Rebel Alliance has formed the New Republic and entrenched themselves in various systems across the Galaxy. One of the best things about the Thrawn’s Revenge mod is the era progression, which allows you to start out as the New Republic in its early years and claw your way to power with just a handful of systems, or start out in later eras in which the New Republic is already an established power.
If you do choose to play as the New Republic in a later era, you will see a rare example of post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars Legends content rendered in painstaking detail with high-quality custom models, including the elusive E-Wing – the replacement for the X-Wing, the Nebula-class Star Destroyer of the New Republic, and the MC80B and MC90 Mon Calamari Star Cruisers. There are also a huge array of old Clone Wars ships up for grabs in this game, as several factions rely on older warships from old Republic Venator-class Star Destroyer to former Separatist Munificent-class frigates to prop up their navies. All of these models look fantastic, and the mod itself can run surprisingly well on lower-end computers despite the extensive graphical upgrades.
Hold Out as the Imperial Remnant
Palpatine may be dead, but the Empire lives on. In Thrawn’s Revenge, you can turn the tide against the New Republic by playing as the Empire and attempt to wrestle control back from the fledgling government whilst also quelling multiple treasonous Imperial splinter factions. Like the New Republic, the Empire is capable of era-progression, and as you play through a game the era will advance when a particular goal has been achieved or enough time has elapsed. This means that the Empire can progress from old Star Destroyers to brand new ships, and over time your fleet will evolve and adapt to combat the New Republic tactics.
You can also control the infamous Grand Admiral Thrawn himself, who will aid both the Empire and the Empire of the Hand depending on the era and gamemode. Thrawn is one of the many unique Imperial heroes included in the mod, including some who have their own powerful ships and abilities. A great mechanic to take advantage of when playing as the Empire is that as you progress through the eras your cast of heroes is radically shaken up, so you can afford to expend minor heroes early on as they are gradually replaced as time goes by. Even the great strategist Thrawn himself, is not immune to this mechanic, though rumors of his death in the early-game are greatly exaggerated…
Conquer the Galaxy
One of the best things about the Thrawn’s Revenge mod is its flexibility – there are so many playable factions that you can play out your own alternate version of the events post-Return of the Jedi, and depending on who you play as there can be some interesting results. You can control on Imperial faction that would usually occupy a tiny corner of the Galaxy and make a push for the Core. Alternatively, you can play as a difficult faction like the Greater Maldrood and subvert key trade routes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and secure a foothold.
New mechanics added to the game allow for some interesting influence over the Galaxy, from the Galactic elections that, depending on the victor, can influence what ships you can build, or the newly-added boarding shuttle system, which allows the New Republic to capture capital ships of various kinds and build a ragtag fleet of stolen ships to combat enemy invasions. Hours of fun doesn’t quite cut it with this mod for Empire at War – you can sink days into week-long campaigns and find that you have hardly even started.
Download Thrawn’s Revenge
If you’re a fan of Empire at War or even just a fan of Star Wars in general, it is essential that you give the Thrawn’s Revenge mod a go. You can download it now for free from Steam, all you need is a copy of Star Wars Empire at War: Gold Pack (which includes the Forces of Corruption DLC) and a Steam account.