Every faction in Universe at War : Earth Assault has three hero units. Heroes are powerful units with abilities above and beyond that of normal game units. Each hero caters to different kinds of combat and utilizes different tactics to defeat its enemies. Heroes also play a major role in the global strategic game, but today we'll be highlighting the heroes from the Hierarchy and how they go about crushing the opposition on the tactical battlefield.
Kamal Re'x, the Abductor
The Controller (leader) for the Hierarchy project on Earth, Kamal is a ruthless and cunning alien who has eliminated or bested those that have stood against him in his rise through the ranks of Hierarchy command. His nickname comes from his ability to mysteriously and conveniently make his adversaries vanish, as well as his masterful control of psionic energies, further amplified by the machine apparatus he is partially contained in. Kamal's quest for further power has led him to ignore Hierarchy planetary neutralization procedure here on Earth. He's taking a large gamble in order to eliminate a threat the Hierarchy has yet to cleanse itself of, in the hopes that the Overseers will take notice… if he succeeds.
- Psi Blast (vs. ground targets): Kamal's primary attack sends a shockwave of psionic energy along the ground towards distant targets. This wave of force propagates from Kamal to his target, sending infantry caught in the blast flying and even knocking back lighter vehicle units. When the energy reaches its designated target, it detonates, causing even more significant damage in a large radius.
- Shove (vs. air targets): With a powerful burst of psionic force, Kamal can knock enemy air targets away from himself and out of combat range. This attack does little damage but causes system malfunctions, rendering the craft incapable of resuming normal operation for a few moments.
- Force Wall (Targeted ability): Kamal channels his energies into a wall of reactive force, blocking all enemy attacks and movement in a wide arc while allowing Hierarchy units to shoot and move through it freely.
- Abduct (Targeted ability): Kamal negates the planet's gravity in a moderate area, forcing all objects caught in the field to be hurled up into orbit… and into the maws of the waiting Hierarchy collection ships. The Hierarchy instantly gains raw materials for the value of all abducted objects. This ability can be used on friendly forces as well… when required.
- Usage: Kamal is a long-distance unit that requires line of sight to your opponent's forces in order to use his abilities to best effect. He is not a front-line fighter against heavier units and can be overwhelmed if his abilities are not well utilized. A good player will use him as an incredibly powerful support unit to the walkers and Hierarchy ground forces, removing serious threats with abduction, disrupting lighter units' attacks, and protecting damaged walkers with force walls.
One of the few remaining members of a race the Hierarchy annihilated years ago, Nufai is Kamal's advisor and assassin. Turning on his own race, Nufai assisted the Hierarchy in exploiting his races' weaknesses, ensuring his own survival and earning himself a place in Hierarchy command. Although trusted, Nufai's motives are somewhat ambiguous even to the Hierarchy. Utilizing dark energies and manipulative technologies from his race's nightmarish past, Nufai is able to take on both ground and air targets with ease, paving the way for a Hierarchy assault.
- Phase Claws (vs. ground targets): Nufai's default attack utilizes a set of powered energy claws that phase in and out of reality on a moment to moment basis, allowing him to slash through any material with ease.
- Paranoia Field (activated aura vs. ground targets): Nufai bends the enemy's perception, turning every nearby piloted unit and sentient against each other. These units see nothing but treason and betrayal in everything around them, wildly firing and attacking friend and foe alike until the effect wears off or is neutralized.
- Tendrils (activated aura vs. air targets): Although a ground-based unit, Nufai can send out tendrils of disruptive gravitic energy from within his armor. These tendrils seek and latch onto any nearby enemy aircraft, forcing them to land immediately. The crushing energies disable further flight and cause damage over time until the effect decays.
- Usage: Nufai is a very fast infiltration unit that relies on speed and his ability to confuse and cause chaos to survive. Utilizing Nufai correctly requires that a player intercept attacks against the Hierarchy before they occur, thereby forcing the battle onto Hierarchy terms. Once Nufai is within enemy range, his auras can easily neutralize and distract enemies, buying time for other advancing Hierarchy units.
Orlok the Eternal
One of the most decorated of the Hierarchy's military commanders, Orlok has survived more battles than most could count. During a pivotal confrontation against an incredibly formidable foe's home world, Orlok was mortally wounded. Realizing morale would be crushed and defeat a possibility if he were to die, the Overseers (the Hierarchy's ruling body) used a radical technology from a long-past conquest to burn Orlok's consciousness into an armored battle platform. Orlok embraced this unique honor and rallied his troops to eventual victory. He has continued to serve the Hierarchy in his new form as a powerful warrior and upholder of the Hierarchy's might.
- Assault Mode: In this mode, Orlok teleports in a shoulder-mounted plasma-spitter cannon that can fire off deadly and constant bursts over medium range. While he wades into enemy forces and lays down streams of damage, Orlok utilizes his “tractor-beam crushing arm” to collect and crush enemy objects and other raw materials. These collected materials are internally processed within his armor into ammunition for his deadly and massive siege cannons.
- Endure Mode: Losing his guns in favor of defense, Orlok teleports in additional armor around his entire form. This extra layer of defense makes him impervious to most damage and allows him to still collect ammunition for his siege weaponry via his crushing arm. When desired, Orlok can eject this additional armor shell and return to assault mode where he can again wreak destruction on the battlefield.
- Siege Cannons (targeted ability): As Orlok consumes enemy objects and other raw materials, he powers up his siege cannon ability. The amount of collected material dictates how far and how many shots Orlok can throw before he runs out of ammunition. Teleporting in massive energy projectors on his shoulders, Orlok unleashes a barrage of highly disruptive energies, vaporizing and annihilating most targets unfortunate enough to be caught in the siege cannon's blasts. Once fired, the cannons are practically melted from the energies unleashed and automatically ejected. His assault weaponry then immediately teleports back in for his use.
- Usage: Orlok is a medium-range, front-line combat unit. His armor and weapons make him ideal at wading into direct enemy fire and taking an extraordinary amount of damage while dishing out even more. His ability to utilize enemy objects, scrap, and resources as ammo for his cannons only adds to his potential – one victorious engagement leading to even further long-ranged damage. Playing Orlok well means keeping him in combat constantly, feeding his ammo supply, and utilizing his modes when required to keep him going.
Although all our heroes are powerful and diverse in their tactical roles, they won't win the battles for you, so don't send them in without backup. While each has very specific strengths, they also have very prominent weaknesses, which can be exploited by the other factions if you know who's on the field and employ counter-strategies to neutralize them. Just what those counters are you'll have to discover for yourselves!
Universe at War: Earth Assault for the PC is scheduled to ship to retailers in North America and Europe Holiday 2007 and for the Xbox 360 in Q1 2008.
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