I love a good strategy game. Especially when they advertise high levels
of customization. So I picked this up during the beta off of steam and dutifully worked to improve the title as it went.
Here is what went wrong.
Combat. Space Combat here is a 5 round Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard,
Spock battle in which you choose from 8 cards. Each card has an
Strong/Weak against item. Some of these “Tactics” will repair your
ship, some make it harder to hit.
Here is the major problem. It turns
the strategy portion of a game into a luck of the draw, and prevents any
real time action from occurring. The result is if you are good, an
under armed fleet can wipe out a major fleet, if you are unlucky the
converse can happen.
2) Even on its largest setting, the galaxy
is amazingly flat, with fewer star systems that you would think.
Planets are assigned at random. Populaces on each of the planets suffer
from chronic whining syndrome making you forced to stop and cater to
their whims, which as a result of poor system balancing results in
crushing economic disasters very similar to what the EU and US face
today. Each system has a 1-6 planet pool of which there are a variety
of resources to gather and negatives to overcome. The real unrealistic
part of their model comes from settling some of the asteroids and gas
giants. These planets by definition of their make up should be
harvesting facilities or research areas. Instead they get treated like
real colonies that must be catered to with entertainment because living
on an airless lifeless rock is just so boring. An acceptable substitute
would have been to make them facilities that traded with the real
colony on another planet/space station (which you cannot build) or
system. Unfortunately they didn’t design their system with enough depth
to account for this or to add it later.
3) AI, the enemy AI is
pretty much the laziest since this type of game was conceived. They do
not get more intelligent on higher difficulties, they get economic,
happiness, and production boons to make them faster.
Civilization Like Victory settings. Each faction has its own desired
type of win scenario. If you get close to theirs they get pissed off,
no matter how long standing the peace and trade. Each Faction also
drives mindlessly towards its goal and only react to outside stimuli
such as boarder wars or you. Negotiating is all stat based, and you
have to research those stats.
5) Worthless Heroes in battle,
great in economy. Due to the Random nature of the battle, all heroes
end up doing is making your Rock a stronger Rock to their Scissors.
However in development of Star Systems, even the most battle hardened
veteran is a boon to the growth. This shows where the team spent most
of its development time. And they are expensive. It is impossible in
small campaigns and difficult in larger ones to support enough Heroes to
really be worth a crap.
6) Finally, R&D. With any game of
this type R&D is always the best thing. With an expansive galaxy
you might assume that each region would be able to specialize in a
research type. Nope, again flat no depth code only allows you to
research one thing at a time, although they did (eventually) add cuing
research. Then there is the scale of the research map. It is
ridiculously huge and benefits from exploiting one or two trees to the
exclusion of one altogether, and cherry picking the third for resource
identification. A better solution would have been to allow players to
divide systems into R&D areas, and then allocate certain portions of
the budget to each area resulting in growth in all fields, while maybe
allowing players to pick one item at a time to really go after. Such
idea however were not in keeping with Game Designer’s ideas never mind
this was suppose to be a “Player” driven creation.
All in all
folks, save your money. Better games were made back in 2000. However
if you are looking for just another pretty game here is one. I’d just
save up and let this one fold up and blow away.
July 2, 2012