Universe at War is a great, well-balanced design that's marred by a predictable sci-fi concept and a disappointing campaign. The individual factions have remarkably inventive and flexible strengths that allow for tremendous variety in terms of tactics. That they could all be so different and still remain relatively well balanced is a testament to the time and attention that Petroglyph spent on this game.
On the other hand, the giant robot, alien invasion, woken gods angle has been done to death by this point so there are bound to be some RTS vets who give up on the game before they can appreciate the strength of the design. The campaign's lack of freedom only underscores this problem.
Fans of the standard RTS approach will find a lot to love here, but it may require too much digging to get down to the good stuff.
Overall score: 8/10