Star Control comes back as Star Control: Origins! The series has been pretty stagnant since Atari folded and the rights were picked up, and after a legal battle with the original creators, we see something that comes close to being right where we left off. This has nothing to do with the other games in the series, but feels like a relaunch of the franchise, B-Rated story and all!
The game has a natural Story Mode, an Online Multiplayer component, Lore, and a Crafting/Creation section (which has a lot of still coming). There is a little bit of everything for you could want including Trading Cards, Achievements, and Steam Workshop for your mods!
So other than flying from planet to planet to do your quests, you will inevitably encounter enemy ships, which will put you into an Arena against them. The Arena has different sizes from small to large, power-ups scattered about, wormholes, and even nebula storms. If you upgrade your ship with an AI Chip, you can pretty much let the computer handle the fight all by itself.
Word of warning, there is a point where the AI-Controlled Battles will just show how bad the AI scripting in the game truly is. Both your ship and the enemy ship will fly off, and separate from each other, making the battles egregiously long. The only way to stop the AI-Controlled fights, is to.... Surrender. Oh wait, you lose, I hope you saved your game recently, because that means GAME OVER. Wait... what? That is right, you cannot currently cancel an AI-Controlled battle like you can in Auto-Pilot zipping across the universe. SUCK!
If you are not battling, you will be spending time on planets and moons, gathering resources to sell or discovering objects for quests. This is kind of like driving around on a MAKO from Mass Effect, just a lot faster to drive around, and will get just as tedious and boring after a few hours. Of course there will be hazards on some planets that you have to deal with, so you will have to make upgrades to your ship, that will in turn put upgrades on your little vehicles.
Most main friendly planets or space stations will allow you to sell those resources, and if you talk through the correct path, you could buy parts and ships from them. Just do not forget to refuel too, or... GAME OVER!
As mentioned earlier, there is Multiplayer component that allows you to play Solo vs AI, Multiplayer on same PC, or Online. You can Quick Search or even make Custom Matches. Unfortunately, there is nothing any different than the Arenas from Story Mode. This is a let down as it would have been nice to have something more robust for multiplayer, but we just get "more of the same" and if you do not like the Combat, you will probably just bypass this whole component. They call them Fleet Battles, but really, it is just 1-vs-1 and when a ship explodes, the next one comes out. There is ZERO Fleet involved.
The Crafting area lets you create your own starships and space stations. Steam Workshop already has hundreds of items to download and use in the game. I have seen things such as a Y-Wing (Star Wars) or the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-D (Star Trek) and they are all free! The game handles implementation of these mods very well and it is a lot of fun to have battles with friends online.
The game is a lot of fun, but there will be a lot of grinding for resources later and the "Go here and come back" missions will get tedious. I found that putting the ship in Auto-Pilot to get to a galaxy or space station was a lot easier as you would receive a warning if you did not have enough fuel to get there. This is important as some galaxies do not have a refill station, so you will be hopping about to ensure you make it there and back.
The game is currently $40, and while to some will feel like that it is priced right, others have argued for a $30 based on repetitive gameplay and lack of true game design as combat as boring and all you do is zip back and forth to galaxies. This is a decision for you to decide but honestly, with full voice over, Achievements, Trading Cards, and the Workshop. It is well worth the price of entry and if you are a Star Control player, you will dig it. Even if you are new to the series (myself included), it kept my interest for hours and I am still playing it.
Some of the controls handle really well, but the controller feels sluggish. The combat is not very good and feels more like the old Asteroids game.
Very nice update to the Star Control graphic system. The ship models look great and the throwback cell animation cutscenes are great.
Everything is great. Music, sound fx, and the voice overs are fantastic!
With SteamWorks connectivity and the ability to build you own spaceships and starbases, you will have hours of replay value. It also looks like we will be able to create our own scenarios at some point as well. You will be back to this one.
PROS / CONS
- Great voice acting.
- Expected B-Movie story that introduces a lot of races.
- The game's builder and attachment to SteamWorks.
- Fleet Combat. More like 1-on-1 combat with extra ships.
- Mine minerals - Go here - Mine minerals - repeat system
- AI in combat can get pretty dumb