Review by cam the man
"Damn, I only have an AutoFire gauss cannon."
Let me start by saying that this game is not for everyone. Only for the hardcore, turn-based strategy nuts will the game appeal. Everyone else, turn back now. Now that we have the "gang" all here, let me say that this game is a geeks dream. Numbers galore, thousands of henchman to do your bidding, alien empires to eradicate. Gentlemen, start your intergalactic war machines.
Master of Orion 3 is at heart, a turn based strategy. You start the game by picking your race and setting detailed options if you want to. Over 15 different races to pick from, from Humanity itself to a mutant race that eats all others. You start as a weakling nation among other weakling nations, fresh out of the binds of their oppressors. This is where the strategy comes into play. There are many paths you can take to win the game. You can focus all of your resources on scientific research, or you can just bootleg and bribe if off your stellar neighbors. Perhaps you want to be the rich ***** on the block. Focus on trading and make your planets as profitable as possible. The beauty of the game is that there are so many technologies to be gained. Whether you want to research a new type of anti-matter weapon to obliterate your opponents or research matter facilitators to transport goods easier, you can focus on one of six different research fields. Now when you finally do get those uber powerful ships and those devastating ground troops, you enter the real-time section of the game. This is what brings the game down, and most people will just opt to watch the battles instead of controlling them, or just let the battles auto-resolve. After you fight the battles, you go though a planetary bombardment stage, and a ground battle stage. Say you want to end the fighting, send a diplomat to work out a ceasefire, as well as a multitude of other diplomatic options. There are so many details in the game, it takes all but the most hardcore to fully utilize them. Detailed statistics of planets, financial status, diplomatic status, and all kinds of other tabs exist. The game has options ranging from easy (for beginners) to extra hard (for veterans). It provides good access to all kinds of information, and very detailed results for the events that happened in between turns.
This game doesn't have much of an in-game story, but the instruction manual that comes with the game has some of the most detailed, engrossing storyline that covers the very beginning of the history all the way up to present day. Reading the book is very enjoyable, and provides a great back-story and precursor to the game. However the story lost points because there isn't any in-game cinematics or stories that follow the end of the game.
This is, to be blunt, not the games best aspect. It was made in 2001, and about the most complicated graphics are very unnoticeable laser beams casting across space in a planetary assault. The sounds are also uneventful, with generic sounds that are played a little to often. This, however, means that you don't need a high-end computer to run this.
You will find the specs on the side of the box very manageable for any computer made after 1998. It just lost points because of the lack of eye candy that would fit in so well with this kind of game.
PLAY TIME/REPEATABILITY 9
This is one of the shining aspects of the game. Each race/species that exists not only provides a unique play experience, but you get an extension on that by getting a chance to modify each race's base statistics. Then there are multiple gameplay objectives, like being elected to lead the Orion Senate, or discovering Antaran X's (super technologies). Then, there is a GIGANTIC amount of mods out there. They do everything from basic visual and sound changes, to complete game mechanic overhauls. If you were to play this game to its fullest extent, you would have no need for a new game for a long time.
FINAL RECOMMENDATION Buy
This game, as I stated before, is NOT for everyone. Only the most hardcore, turn-based strategy gamer should even cast an eye on it. But if you fall into this slim category, you will be in Heaven on Earth. Great, unique gameplay, lots of replayability, and a feeling of being master of your domain. If this appeals to you, then buy a copy for yourself. You earned it.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/14/05
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