4X strategy games aren’t easy to get into, but NGD Studios‘ Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars tries to be both accessible and demanding.
Being a reboot of the 1994 classic title, this should be something both newcomers and old fans should like, at least in theory. For those who’re not familiar with the term, the 4 Xs mean Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate, so basically one chooses 1 of 10 playable races to conquer the galaxy by any means necessary, either by peaceful trading or aggressive warmongering. This obviously entails being at the top of the technological advancement as well as resource gathering and managing space and ground fights.
The genre has always been about complex gameplay, and I have to say that I’ve not have much experience with it, already failing with the handbook of Alpha Centauri, a game by Sid Meier that was complicated and slow. Apparently, this is where Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars already divides the fan base that wants more difficulty and an experience like the old Microprose title. There also seem to be quite a few problems since its recent release, with bugs and online DRM multiplayer (even for the GOG version), so one should maybe wait a bit before diving right in.
As it is, the presentation with its epic soundtrack, great voice acting (including Michael Star Trek‘s Worf Dorn) and exciting CGI cutscenes, makes it more enjoyable than the pixel graphics of old. Attention to detail in the character portraits should be even more immersive, so it remains to be seen if the title manages to walk the fine line between modern user accessibility and old-school difficulty. The game is available for PC in a standard and Collector’s edition, the latter comprising the original three games, an art book, the soundtrack, an additional race, and more. A 15% discount will last until September 4, 4:59 PM UTC.
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