AI War 2 is a strategy game where you control a fleet spreading throughout the galaxy taking worlds from an AI force attempting to eradicate the AI command center whilst discovering new technologies and ships as you spread throughout the galaxy yourself conquering worlds controlled by AI forces, however by doing this you incur the wrath of the AI building a meter which increases the ferocity and strength of the AI as well as triggering a variety of countermeasures employed by the AI to counter your attacks and to take back worlds you’ve captured.

Whilst there are a number of differences between the original AI war fleet command and this sequel there are a few significant ones worth noting, firstly that scouting and capturing worlds has been streamlined and made a lot easier to have everything under the control of a command fleet carrier to simplify matters and make life easier, however on the other hand control over which ships you’re able to build and fill your fleet with has entirely been taken out of your hands and the ability to split up your forces into useful fleets is essentially taken out of your control with all of one type of ship forced together under one wave rather than being able to split them effectively and usefully to skilfully and strategically take on the AI forces.

The game itself claims that a lot of this control has been removed to prevent “frontloading” your forces however I find that being hampered into having whatever the luck of the draw provides is pretty detrimental and you end up with forces which aren’t an effective balance, often having too many engineer repair units floating pointlessly together in one single force rather than spread amongst all of your fleets just throwing themselves into enemy fire, and a few too many weak hulled ships flying headfirst into the enemy lines without the aid of shields or support units which would protect them and this hampers a lot of the gameplay in the late game when the real issues begin to show.

Initially this all works well while the AI is still relatively small in numbers and doesn’t push too hard back as you maintain a balance that can spread amongst your worlds and leave you protected whilst building up defences to protect yourself against any counterattacks. However the science you can gain is limited on the worlds so you can’t really level up your forces effectively, and with hampered numbers of limited forces while the AI fleet itself grows to such a degree that wave assaults against your worlds become so large you’re effectively forced into pooling all of your forces into one frontline assault force in order to simply survive it feels like the game would actually force you to frontload and instead of spreading for entire galactic domination that it wants you to push your frontloading forces against the AI command center as soon as possible before the threat snowballs into such a degree that the AI cheating becomes too much to handle.

AI cheating is a huge problem, because whilst you might see waves and forces are building from one particular planet and decide to hold the gate their end and perhaps route the forces before they invade you cannot do this for several reasons, firstly being that forces just appear out of thin air in the wormholes behind your forces and there’s nothing you can do to prevent that, but the ai forces can also build up such strength in numbers in their forces especially in the late game that these spawned in forces on regular intervals become impossible to prevent incurring into your systems and taking them over (which doesn’t reduce the AI’s threat meter and leaves you severely hampered) You might consider the strategy to take out that homeworld to prevent an incursion, where their defensive strength might be sub 50 but a fleet of 200+ strength is due to be spawned in from that world, however the AI will then cheat in another way transferring that invasion to come in another part of the galaxy away from your now forced frontloaded fleet and still invade in just as heavy a force in a similar timeframe so this does not delay or prevent an attack for now and causes more problems due to perhaps pushing too deep into enemy forces.

Fleets are said to be providing you more ships than ever before and more customisation, but I’ve not been able to find any customisation, and instead you might presume when overwhelming forces are being spawned against you that building more and more fleets would be a great idea, but the fleet command ships you can build will never attack the enemy, and whilst they have a pseudo strength of 1 and might scare off enemy forces from attacking thinking you’re weak they will actually do nothing for you and perhaps make you think you’re stronger than you actually are. Whilst all AI ships are able to attack and be useful in every capacity. If you do mistakenly build up too many fleet command ships though you’ve really caused yourself a problem that cannot be fixed, because the AI will cripple but never destroy these fleet ships and their energy drain will still remain which will actively prevent you from building smaller ships or defensive turrets and the like (even if you sit them on the AI’s command center) and you cannot even sell these yourself or scrap them to gain back the energy from overproduction, and once the AI has taken back a world or two reducing your energy output you will more than likely end up permanently unable to defend yourself even if you wait for the potential forced choosing of smaller ships ending up with a useless fleet of scarecrows being ignored throughout the galaxy.

I really liked the original game and expected it to be more of the same but better, however not being able to split up my little useful ships in any way that would remotely be useful and to design small fleets with waves that would actually work together well like having some shields and repair units alongside offensive units in strikeforces that work I do feel that the only way that the game could ever be played is to have all of your forces together frontlining and lazer beam focused on heading straight for the AI command. I would rather have the ability to choose which little ships I’m building and design my fleets to have X of X type and put them together in forces that stay together in those formations and have it in a way that works, otherwise the AI needs to be dialled back an extreme degree as it really does ignore all the limitations that are forced upon you and spawn waves of forces so severely beyond what you could ever put together to defend yourself that it does just feel like the AI is designed to cheat and take you down after you’ve taken X worlds and it becomes impossible to take the entire galaxy in the way that I enjoyed playing and you’re very much forced into one specific playstyle which does ruin the fun and enjoyment of doing things your way.

I would like to play my way and design my forces in a way that works to me, and I never frontloaded my forces, I kept them spread on a few galactic fronts and I would like to be able to do that and have forces and fleets that work because the fleet system just didn’t work for me at all. This game has just come out and there are potentials that mods may be able to change things in a way that work for my playstyle and perhaps the developers themselves may address some of these issues, but the fact that the AI just cheats to a degree that it’s impossible to play on 10 hours into a campaign and that you’re never able to scrap fleet commands or force enemies to destroy them to get back energy to rebuild and reinforce defences to make a comeback is a real issue that entirely destroys the game. A few tweeks on these fronts so you’ve still got a chance after everything goes wrong, like the AI reducing it’s threat after capturing your worlds, being able to scrap these command carriers and also being able to redistribute parts of fleets rather than having all of that type of ship only ever on one command would be great, because I’m feeling the customisation of fleets is severely hampered by this and it does make being able to build effective fleets harshened to the degree that I would rather line up factories to build units I want up to a total fleet cap rather than how it is right now and return to older methods, yet other aspects like scouting and capturing being streamlined and the hacking all coming from one ship does make things a lot more approachable, however these serious gameplay issues have made it a negative experience overall. Sure you can play and enjoy for a few hours but you are forced into playing one specific way or be punished and it’s a downgrade of gameplay as a result leaving me wishing I had the control over my forces and the customisation I would like.

Get AI War 2 for yourself on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/573410/AI_War_2/