If you actually run out of missions to play against the computer, then you can always go online and try out your skills with the millions of other Assassins on the Internet. Gameplay can be configured as team play, free-for-all, melee…all your standard game modes. A fast connection isn't totally important here as much as a reliable one is. However, Dune generally plays with more units than most RTS games, which means there's more data coming down the pipe at once, so modem users beware.
Multiplayer is fun, though, and using the Westwood online game-matching service a la Battle.net, it's really easy to find a match to go into. Not in the mood for searching out a decent opponent, but don't want to play a full campaign either? Emperor also includes an offline skirmish mode that lets you play one quick battle tailored to your specifications.
Ordos has sent these guys in to tear up the place.
Also, the game isn't totally about full-scale war. Several of the missions involve commando raids and guerilla tactics. Be careful on these missions, though. Once you lose a unit, it's gone, and you can't just crunch all you want, because they're not making more. Still, these missions offered a fun break from the crazy world of build-shoot-build-some-more. They vaguely reminded me of the small-party missions in Warcraft and Starcraft.
The game looks good, plays good, and sounds good. But does it feel good? Sure. I really enjoyed playing Emperor, even if I did it in a mad rush! Once I finish this review, and the sooner the better, I can get back to bringing House Ordos to glory and riches by grasping control of the Lion Throne and annihilating Atreides and Harkonnen forever! Well…okay. Maybe I'm taking this a bit too seriously, but honestly. This game will take a lot of time before I get tired of it. I wish there were a few more units for each race, but there are so many as it is, with the sub-houses to diversify the game, so that, realistically speaking, the game experience will be different every time you play.
One other note I'd like to point out about Emperor is its stability. Westwood released a patch for the game before it was even released. Traditionally, any time before where I've seen this happen, the game wound up being very stable to start with, and was of excellent quality. Emperor is no different here. The patch solves a few very minor issues, mostly with multiplayer. It doesn't fix something that should've worked in the first place, nor does it make the game winnable. I could have done this whole review without the patch installed, I'm sure. That speaks volumes about quality.