I bring you treasures from the new world.
A well set balance between plot and action, Terra Nova successfully blends together a good story line and relevant missions. Somewhat of a mix between Wing Commander and Mechwarrior, I really liked the relationship between the missions and movies. The missions kept everything interesting, while the movies added a little more to the game than simply running around shooting bad guys.
One part of the game that I appreciated was the variety, shape and form of the terrain. With all the hills to hide behind, trees to watch out for, and deep ravines to jump into, the environment made the game much better than it ever could have been with flat terrain. In fact, one of the most important tools you learn to use to your advantage is the environment. If you don't know how to take cover in an emergency or use a depression to ration the number of bad guys that come at you at once, you'll get fried in a second! A great idea that I haven't seen in any other competing games of this class is the change of weather. Sometimes it was very foggy, other times sunny, and the best effect was definitely rainy. All changes in weather effected some aspect of play: your detectability, visual range, or weapons accuracy. The rest of the graphics are somewhat mediocre, but looking at the age of the game, I'll cut them a little slack. I will, however, admit the game would have been much more fun with 3D textured models instead of 2D sprites.
Sound effects are of no deciding matter in this game. Definitely not stunning, the music was normal; the effects weren't original, but they weren't generic either. I didn't find the audio portion influenced my view on the game at all. Nothing great, but they served their purpose just fine.
I liked the keyboard interface a lot, it was well thought out and actually required a little skill and practice. You had to use your mouse to move around the viewing screen to target and shoot people, while maneuvering your suit with the 'w,' 'a,' 'd,' 'x' keys. I didn't like the fact that you couldn't change the keyboard keys to your convenience, but the interface was well designed in the first place, and there were just a few minor keys that I would have liked to move around.
The variety of missions is what really kept me playing this game. The interesting plot kept me wanting to beat each level to find out what happened next, along with missions that really did have different objectives almost every time. I really enjoyed the fact that there were very few "Kill 'em all" missions. Personally, I like a game that requires a little more analytical thinking than to just 'blow up everything as quickly as possible'. Terra Nova included reconnaissance missions, escort missions, rescuing missions, and also demolition missions (those were really fun!). But each mission was unique, new and there was always something to be discovered. The advancement in technology during the game kept everything fresh, forcing you to find to new tactics and change to different strategies that have been obsolete since mission 1. And by no means does new technology only mean guns. There were advancements in suits, weapons, armors, and stealth technology/detectability. The combination of all these aspects made Terra Nova much better than games like Mechwarrior.
The controls for Terra Nova also feel different than those of Mechwarrior. Mechwarrior was based more upon a tank setup, with a rotating turret, throttle control, etc., the only difference was the fact that you bounced up and down as if you were walking. In Terra Nova, it's more like Doom or Quake, instead of having throttle control, you can walk forward, backward or strafe sideways. This adds more maneuverability making the game more intense and fast paced.
Terra Nova is a fun, action, first person game. Not like Doom where your only objective is to shoot everything that moves, and not like Mechwarrior where you can get shot 30 times and you only lose an arm, but instead, a great mix of maneuverability, skill and tactical awareness. I really enjoyed this game, and if you have great system, the game is even better with the terrain settings on high.Terra Novawas fun, adventurous, constantly fresh, with good replay value, and definitely worth the bucks.