Review by Chaodin
"A MAJOR dissapointment, and here's why..."
I'm too angry and disappointed to give a FULL review or every aspect of the game right now, but I will try my best to describe why I believe MoO3 is not worth your time and money.
This isn't ANYTHING like the previous games, and even if you don't compare it to the others, it's still horrible on it's own.
The fun is gone
First, everything I had loved about MoO2 is either gone or fully automated now. The designers removed the level of control from the first 2 in favor of having an extremely huge universe to play in. If you call clicking Next Turn 30 times with-out having to do any ''playing''. I should give credit to the new grand size of the game, you now have the option to play in a huge spiral armed galaxy or a cluster galaxy where the planets are in a 3D mess, a nightmare to navigate through.
My biggest complaint is the amount of automation in the game. Colonies now automatically queue up the next type of building to build and what ships to build. They manage their own money, you give them funding and they decide who gets what. You setup governing policies, and the order of importance (Primary, secondary, tertiary) but the colonies might decide not to do what you want anyway. There's a button for automatically designing your ships and your armies. You can even set up entire planets to take care of themselves. IT'S NO LONGER FUN! Hell, it even Auto-colonizes planets for you. Just start a new game and click on Next turn a few hundred times and by the time you start your first battle, you'll have several systems under your control with a full armada with the newest technology to boot. The only thing fun anymore is the combat, which is now Real-time, so the only thing worth doing in the entire Turn-based Strategy game isn't even turn-based anymore.
You have so little control in this game that you no longer even tell the people what to build, you just give them ''Build some research buildings, some food harvesting thingies there, maybe some political building, oh, and military stuff!'' And that's about it. A planet's size determines the number of regions available, and each region has 2 spots to build things, which you get to choose with vague and general building options (i.e. Recreational, Research, Military) That's about the extent of it. Each region is nothing more than a name, land type (i.e. desert) and 2 slots, no graphical representation of the region or anything.
Research is no longer fun. It's now so complicated and bungled up that managing it yourself and trying to maximize your research is flat out ridiculous. Researching used to be a lot more direct, much more intuitive. I appreciate the little random things that happen like: During the update at the beginning of my turn it tells me the research for phaser rifles has been delayed by 6 turns because of protests. That was interesting, but I can't get into detail at the ineptitude of the research system, I don't want to type that much.
On a positive note, they now let you create ground troops like you create ships, however, they screwed that up too.
There's no retrofitting, what you put into your ships isn't as expansive as before, and there's only a handful of ship designs (at the beginning of the game there are only 4 different ship models, it even uses the same model for 2 different chassis)
They got rid of a few and and added a few, that's to be expected. But to completely get rid of what made each race unique was completely ridiculous. If you create a custom race, they no longer have the pick system of picking specialized attributes like Cybernetic (so you don't need food, just minerals) You can't pick anything about your starting homeworld anymore either. The differences in the races merely consists of a list of general areas (i.e. Research, Political, production) and you can put either poor good exceptional ect. Better ratings cost points, bad ratings give points. Plus, on a personal note, the Meklars look stupid now.
Well, if you consider lines upon lines of text graphics, then this game is great. Seriously, the battles look good and the cinematics are nice, but other than that it's taken a HUGE dip, and that's pretty harsh since the previous game was made in 1996. You no longer get to see the fruits of your labor, looking at your planets is just that, you never get to see the surface or anything they build. To add insult to injury, even the cursor looked pixelated.
In closing, this isn't a game, it's a simulation.
And to think, it's release date was pushed back constantly for over a year and a half with nothing to show for it. I'm going back to playing MoO2.
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 02/28/03, Updated 02/28/03
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