AI War 2: Zenith Onslaught DLC – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation, RTS
Developer: Arcen Games LLC
Publisher: Arcen Games LLC
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

AI War 2: Zenith Onslaught DLC – Review

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Good: The nomad planets and new factions really stir up the fight with new possibilities and strategies
Bad: The AI can sometimes be very overwhelming in firepower while you can’t just build new fleets
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A little more than two years ago, we took a look at AI War 2 when it was still in Early Access. In that time, the game has not only made its full release; but also the first DLC has been released as well. Now, the second DLC, Zenith Onslaught has been released. This DLC brings some new mechanics to the game, with new ships and some new dreadful factions to fight against. Let’s take a look at AI War 2 and its newest DLC, Zenith Onslaught.


In terms of story, there isn’t a real story mode you can follow in this game. In the Quick Start mode, you can choose one of the many scenarios arranged by their difficulty level. There are also some scenarios that were added by the community over time, so there’s a lot to play. With the release of Zenith Onslaught, they added some extra scenarios specifically for this DLC, that will introduce you to everything this DLC has to offer. When checking a scenario, you get a broad explanation of your opponents, alliances between certain factions and the map.


Zenith Onslaught hasn’t brought any graphical upgrades to the game, so the graphics mostly stay the same, which is perfectly fine. They did add some new factions to the game, each having new ships and other vessels. The graphics in AI War 2 look quite good, although you need to zoom in a lot on your ships to see them in full detail as when you zoom out, you’ll only see their icons. You do have the option to hide these icons so you can enjoy the view when your forces are attacking your enemies, which can be quite a sight to behold.


The background music in AI War 2 is very gentle, consisting mostly of soothing piano music, which makes the game seem like it has a relaxed pace, but it surely doesn’t. Whenever the enemy or your allies perform an action, you will hear them say something corresponding to the action they made. When you destroy an enemy command station, the enemy AI will react in a very angry way and will threaten you and with this, the music will change according to the situation. The effects sound all sound very well-made with nothing bad to mention.


AI War 2 is a real-time strategy game set in a galaxy reigned by an AI faction. With you representing the last remnants of the human population, you need to conquer planets around your own and take back the galaxy by defeating the evil AI.

Ai War 2 features a great tutorial with five separate stages that each explain a part of the gameplay. With the first one, you’ll start with the basics and the commands and things become more complicated as you progress through the stages. There’s a lot of information coming at you and if you are a new player, be sure to take your time and read well. If you have completed these five tutorials, you are ready to start playing the game.

When you start a new campaign, you start with one single planet in your possession, with a base and a small fleet at your disposal. The mission is to take over neighboring planets, build bases, gather new fleets, and destroy the enemy home base without alerting the AI too much, or retaliation will be fierce. The location of the enemy’s home base will be unknown, so you’ll need to guess where they could be hiding. Each and every planet aside of yours is in the AI’s control. Whenever you destroy a command station on a planet, the AIP or AI Progress increases. The higher the AIP value, the stronger your opponent will retaliate. This way, the enemy will grow stronger as you (hopefully) grow stronger as well. Whenever you destroy the enemy command station on a planet, you can take control of it by placing your own. There are three different types of command stations: Economic, Logistical and Military with the first giving the most resources, the second providing a balance between resources and defenses and the last offers the most defensive structures to build with fewer resources.

Zenith Onslaught did bring some changes compared to the base game’s mechanics. In the base game, all planets were static, with each planet being connected to others via wormholes. Zenith Onslaught changed this with the addition of Nomad planets, which are planets that move around the galaxy every few minutes. Normally, you could build your fairly weak economic command stations at closed-off locations behind one of your planets with a fortified military command station, but now you can be surprised by a Nomad planet passing by. Nomad planets that are passing by can also be used as a shortcut to reach further planets you’re currently not connected to.

Each Nomad planet has a Control Nexus that controls their movements. You can hack this to take control of it. As an alternate victory condition, you can send the Nomad planet on a trajectory to crash into the home planet of the AI. When this succeeds, both planets are destroyed and you will claim victory. The AI will try to destroy the Control Nexus on your Nomad planet to stop it in its path. If the Control Nexus gets destroyed before it crashes into its target, it will permanently stop its movement, so be sure to protect it until it reaches its target.

Zenith onslaught also introduces three new factions that can be very dangerous. The first one is the Zenith Miner that devours planets. Every once in a while, a probe is sent to a planet and after a countdown, the Zenith miner will appear and will try to destroy the planet by extracting all its resources. The planet disappearing also destroys the wormholes it had, cutting of planets from others. The Zenith Architraves are the second faction that is not related to you or the AI. They won’t really harass you, but will expand their ground once in a while. Zenith Architraves hate their own kind, so when another Zenith Architrave faction is growing, they will attack them and start their own war, which makes for a fun twist of events in the galaxy. The last one is the Dark Zenith, the most dangerous of them all. Later on in campaigns, the Dark Zenith will start wreaking havoc. Even the AI trembles at their arrival. They’re very strong and battling them can seem almost impossible. The only way to beat them, is hacking their homeworld. Nonetheless, it’s easier to use the distraction they create in their battle against the AI to take the AI by surprise before they turn on you.


AI War 2 is a very intriguing and expansive real-time strategy game with a lot to learn before you can even start playing and winning. It is a very challenging experience, and with the AI getting stronger with each action you make against them, it can get quite tricky to stay alive. Zenith Onslaught added some interesting game mechanics to the game with some additional factions that can really turn the tide for both sides. Zenith Onslaught is definitely a good addition to the game and for those willing to try a new strategy game and are not familiar with AI War 2, we’d definitely recommend this one. It is to be said, this is only the case if you’re ready to spend a lot of time in building your conquest against the AI and are also willing to invest some time understanding the game’s mechanics.

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