All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power

Score: 65%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Wargaming.net
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Strategy/ Turn-Based Strategy/ Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics and sound of Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power are basic stuff. Granted, this is a genre noted for never going the extra mile in graphics, but the terrain, no matter how alien, generally comes across as repetitive, although this does at least make it easier to spot units.

The sound likewise gets the job done, but won't motivate a player to call his friends and family in to appreciate. There's a Russian accent on the voiceovers, and occasionally the text is clearly written by a non-English speaker.

Occasional cut-scenes add to the story, but, much like the rest of the graphics, they're nothing you'll remember after a day or two.


When it comes to the genre of turn-based strategy war games, one idea runs through all the great ones: epic scale. Whether it's covering 7,000 years of human endeavor (eg, Civilization), conquering a universe (Master of Orion, among many), or the most devastating war in history (World War II, the basis of many games), these games, so far, have only been successful when they cover a scope great enough to offer a wide range of tactical situations, along with a system capable of handling research and production on a grand scale.

The developers of Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power (PoP) thus are on the right track with a game that asks the player to conquer an alien world, or, more accurately, the three alien races inhabiting a world in the far future. Oddly, while the scale is grand, the main campaign game puts you in the role of a single person, Maxim Kammerer, space explorer extraordinaire, who somehow got shot down on the world of Saraksh, in the Land of the Unknown Fathers, a region dominated by mind-controllers, at least until Max takes out the mind controlling network. Close on the heels of this destruction are three mutually hostile invading factions; the game is loosely based on a work of fiction, but the game only provides lean fare, with fast cutscenes and voiceovers setting up each scenario. The game gives just enough justification for all the carnage and nothing more. It's sufficient, if limited - anyone willing to buy and install a wargame doesn't need much motivation past that point to play.

The campaign begins easily enough, with a few small battles that also serve as training scenarios. They certainly accomplish this end and give a nice taste of the level of depth to come. There is a bewildering array of units available to the player, loosely based around general classes (eg, infantry, armor, air, artillery, naval). Within a class, apparently identical units can vary quite a bit in firepower, so a player quickly learns to disregard the graphical appearance of the units, and instead focus on their actual statistics. For example, identically appearing infantry can have an anti-armor rating of 1 (i.e., feeble) to 8 (crushing, at least against armor in the early game). Using the right unit (or, more accurately, the unit with the right stats) against the right pieces is the foundation of the strategy throughout the game - there's little you can do to influence the scenarios as they're set up, much less do anything about the terrain, weather, and time of day conditions.

One thing you can do as the battle progresses is manufacture more units for your army; generally these supplemental forces are only a small part of the units in the game, and such building is focused around building specific pieces needed against particular forces (eg, anti-tank guns if being invaded by armor). Building new forces, along with research and development, is very streamlined, as much as in any real time game - an odd choice, since players get all the time they need to make every move. A player gets specific scenario-determined resources every turn, and can build a unit from that; a few clicks let him upgrade his base to build more advanced units, or to build enhanced versions of the basic units. It works, although the lack of a clear rules set makes it difficult for a player to make an informed decision. The races themselves could have been interesting, being focused on either swarms of low tech pieces, advanced elite units, or other specialties, but the player all too quickly learns to coordinate his attacks, pitting his specialized units against their preferred targets, with the A.I. generally complying to make this general plan of attack work every time.


The scenarios of Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power start out easy enough, but ramp up in difficulty. The generally mindless aggression of the A.I. detracts a bit; the primary strategy is to find a strong defensive position, sit back, and annihilate the hordes as they come in, or possibly lure the occasional defensive piece into moving out of position before crushing it in focused offense.

If things get too frustrating, there's a difficulty level button (Easy, Medium, Hard) a player can set at any point in the campaign, although Medium is quite playable.

Game Mechanics:

There are various ways to increase or modify your units, but the game does little to explain the mechanics involved. Adding +10 hit points to infantry sounds good... but if weapons hit for 1,000 points, it might not matter. Granted, things in Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power aren't that out of balance, but there's no real way to determine what exactly the effects of various enhancements really mean, a bit of a weakness in a kind of game fanatics devote pages of text to addressing even simple battles... such analysis is simply not possible here. The only thing the player can do is assume that "more is better, and lots more is much better," and build whatever he can.

There is a morale system as well; as units take damage, they'll eventually run away; it's not at all clear if such panicking units can cause otherwise unharmed units to panic, so that punching holes in the line accomplishes little beyond destroying/routing the single unit. Units can be repaired if they make it back to home base and resources are available; as your units generally get to fire back when attacked, it often makes sense to destroy demoralized units rather than allow them to retreat.

Still, the lack of any clear rules set makes the battles tend to be unsatisfying, as a player bases his decisions not on the game, but on general tendencies (best to keep infantry in cover, best to concentrate firepower, etc.), with no real exploitation or cleverness possible.

The bottom line is, PoP is a basic strategy game, set in an interesting world, but fails to really exploit that world, or to present the player with truly fascinating tactics and equipment. Fans of the genre might get some fun here, but this won't create any new fans, and is destined to be forgotten in short order.

-Doom, GameVortex Communications
AKA Rick Moscatello

Minimum System Requirements:

Operating system: Windows XP with SP2, Processor: Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, AMD Athlon 2500 or better, RAM: 1GB, HDD space: 2GB, Videocad: GeForce 6600 with 128 MB VRAM or better, Sound: DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card, Internet play: 28.8k modem connection or better.

Test System:

Test System: Windows XP. Processor: P4 3.4GZH 1MB RAM: 1 GB 512MB Rev2 Memory, 160GB 8MB cache HD, Videocard: NVidia GeForce 6800, Sound: Soundblaster Live!

Nintendo Wii Madden NFL 08 Microsoft Xbox 360 Two Worlds

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated