The alien Hai Genti race make their human counterparts seem mundane. They'll use the same resources, but in different ways, gathering genetic material in order to build their structures and units. They'll also work to fill their surroundings with water, which also serves as a natural defense that slowly eats away at human units and structures. The Remnant and Ascension armies will need to evaporate the Hai Genti's watery defenses with powerful lasers, or freeze them solid - often opening new frozen highways that vehicles can roll onto. While the Hai Genti's units are powerful up close, they depend on their alien control of the weather to deal big damage from a distance. Meteor strikes, tornadoes and terraforming make them extremely powerful foes.

Maelstrom is full of natural disasters in addition to excruciatingly detailed water modeling (floods) and spreading fire, but these special effects don't just boringly kill off enemy units in slightly bigger numbers. Rather, they'll change the dynamics of the gameplay. For example, dropping a fiery meteor into your enemy's base may crush a nearby skyscraper, knocking it over in jaw-dropping detail - but the cratered remains serves as a perfect foxhole for their counterattack.

Nearly every vehicle in the game is a dual-purpose Transformer, configurable as a special weapon and a means of transport. But instead of simply doubling the unit types, Maelstrom treats us to some incredibly fluid and mesmerizing presto-change-o moments. Wheeled buggies flip into small, emplaced turrets, modded M1 Abrams tanks suddenly transform into towering mechs and jet-fighters grow arms and legs to alight on the ground to fight as lumbering, robotic missile platforms. Even better, you can slap on upgrades and directly control every unit to turn the tide of desperate situations.

These transformations are especially notable for their cinematic high-quality; see it for yourselfand watchthe gameplay trailer by hitting the movies tab above. Maelstrom is one of the most unconventional, beautiful and action-packed strategy titles we've seen in some time, and while it won't ship until October,we can't wait to get our hands on the early playable version in August. Stick around and we'll keep you in the loop.