#325 Star Control 3

Posted: 9th December 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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654th played so far

Genre: Strategy/Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 1996
Developer: Legend Entertainment
Publisher: Accolade

There are a bunch of hybrid games, that combine two genres that don’t normally fit together, but manage it with their own spin. Prior to starting Star Control 3, I’d already seen parts of its predecessor in a let’s play, so I’m ready for this adventure-strategy hybrid, the shoot ’em up part coming in during battle sequences.

I’m now looking forward to trying this for real, see where the story leads me.

Our Thoughts

Star Control 3 really grabbed me. It’s really an adventure/strategy/shoot ’em up, with the latter part – controlling several battles that happen in these games – being partially optional. You can let the AI play them, but they’re not as good as you would be playing on your own. That’s fine too – the battles feel like an annoying version of Asteroids, although with loads of different ships with their own stats and setups. I do wish we’d see something more strategic here instead, considering the size of fleets you can acquire.

The strategy portion adds more to this. There are a whole lot of base building and planet colonization options. These don’t go quite as in depth as 4X games (Master of Orion and Galactic Civilizations came to mind), but there’s still some optimizing you can do. This includes colonizing other worlds, but so far it felt like the time needed to do that wasn’t always worth it in the timeframe I had so far – especially as it takes away resources from the original planet. The focus is also on creating resources for your own fleet, rather than growth on its own terms.

What appeals most to me are the adventure/growth elements. Your first step is to gain the support from nearby alien races. Some will do so easier, others require you to jump through some hoops. Doing so requires some fuel balancing as well, so you can continue to travel, made more complex as your star map is actually 3D.

It’s this personal touch, where you actually have to build relations and focus each race, that is interesting. It adds a lot more personality to what could otherwise be an interchangable set of races with some unique units. That these alliances shift as you progress only make the game more interesting.

Final Thoughts

While, as said, the genres of this game are more complicated than we express in a short summary up there, it actually holds together well and you move between the layers seamlessly. It’s incredibly compelling, once I ignore the ship battles, and make for a series I feel I need to explore further – it’s a shame only this entry is on the list.