Homeworld 2 took the beauty of the original Homeworld and made it even better. The ships are now constructed using a much higher number of polygons and have much more detailed textures. In fact, I played this game with full details turned on. The shadows look great when enabled and I am impressed that they rendered the shadows correctly based on the brightest source of light. However, the shadows did turn out rather jagged instead of properly anti-aliased.
What impressed me most in Homeworld 2 was the background. It is the nicest background ever created for any Homeworld game I've played so far. In fact, I was so stunned by the awesome beauty of it that I ended up looking around the whole place before I started my mission. The background comes with very beautifully rendered light sources and there are even shades and shadows on any distant objects that are huge enough to have a visible shadow.
Interestingly, Homeworld 2 still retains its usual in-game engine cut-scenes as well as black and white animations for the interludes between missions as seen in original Homeworld. However, the black and white interludes contain far more animation and details than I have seen before.
Another great thing about Homeworld 2 is that the developers actually made it possible for us to use our custom-designed decals on the units. If you take a look at some of these pictures, you will notice that there is an ARP logo on the ship!!! However, this feature is only available in multiplayer mode.
The Sound Effects
Homeworld 2 maintains the top-notch sound effects and music that was found in the previous releases. The volume of the sound effects were determined by the distance of the object to the screen. The closer you are to the object, the louder it gets.
The music itself is very atmospheric and gives a mysterious yet ancient feel to the game. And yet, it keeps pace of the game up and changes to suit the scenario. However, the soundtrack on the later missions seem to have an abrupt ending which is rather disconcerting whenever it loops.
The voice-overs for all the major characters are very well done. Top-notch as usual - just exactly what I expected from another Homeworld game.
However, the only character I personally find annoying would be Captain Soban in Mission 2. Yeah, his fleet was great but even in the most intense moments, he seem to talk as if he was either talking to a retard or talking to someone who is almost deaf. Maybe he is just trying his best to make his speech really clear. Whatever it was, the time he took to convey his message was long enough for me to wipe out most of the other fleet (or vice versa).