Galactic Conquest video review


#1

Hi all, I´ve lurked a while without registering… I wanted to like this dlc enough that I wanted to make a review out of it. And I like video editing so I guess this is one way to introduce myself to community :slight_smile:

Video review: youtube.com/watch?v=r1Z3lgfahI8 ( Please select 1080p FULL HD if you have the hardware :wink: )

Text transcript:

Concept

There´s a new new downloadable content for Gratuitous Space Battles in the form of Galactic Conquest, a campaign mode that plays out in always the same galaxy map of 52 planets that you are supposed to conquer.

The battles aren´t exactly random, instead the enemy fleets are actually designed by other players so they call this a massively single player game. You will need an internet connection while playing so the game can download enemy fleets and upload some of your fleets for others to battle against.

There´s no diplomacy or commerce or anything other than war between you and the enemy and though there are between 3 and 7 different enemy races with mildly different units, there is really only one enemy: That is every other race allied against you from the start to the very end. Not that I´ve seen the end. Even thought the game is simple, it is kind of addictive and I really wanted to play it through but that was not to be.

Presentation

Graphics is really not the point in this game so the galaxy map looks informative and at the same time quite dull really. Seeing as you don´t really play any economy game or build any buildings on planets, the planets feel more or less all the same. You don´t care what they look like, you care whether or not you can build more ships or repair at them or not. The music is neutral enough to make you forget that it is there, well at least I didn´t feel like turning it off but I don´t find myself humming the tunes either. The battles look and sound as good as ever… they can be beautiful at times.

Gameplay

You got resources like Crew (for carriers and frigates), Money and Pilots (relevant for small fighter craft). Each resource generates a little each turn, more if you have more planets with structures that generate said resources. You don´t build any buildings on planets, instead each planet contains pre-set selection of buildings. You can´t influence the income with taxes or do any economic decisions but the planets are more or less loyal and efficient depending on whether their neighbouring planets are a threat, if you have fleet on it and how long you´ve had the planet in your control.

Because of the pre-set selection of buildings on planets you might think the strategy revolves around capturing the systems that have the required types of buildings. Mmeeeeeh, not really the case… You see, Fleets can only be moved to adjacent systems and one wormhole each turn. Also relevantly the enemy AI will not hesitate to attack you where you are weak. Therefore you will find that you must quickly capture each and every system up to an easily defensible “narrow point”, leave enough of a defensive force there and build more army, then move again move other fleets to other fronts or face the challenge of capturing almost every system multiple times.

There´s no research other than the main game honor based unlocking system and you don´t get honor for individual battles in the campaign so you still need to play the main game first if you want to use some of the unlockable races, spaceship hulls and components. And trust me, you do.

The difficulty curve is all over the place. After a tough beginning, the game got quite boringly easy for a while with battles where my twenty thousand hit point army faced five to ten thousand hit point fleet after another and conquering half the galaxy… and then suddenly the game would change the rules and attack my weakes point of defense with an army fifty thousand hitpoints strong… This is where the new option to retreat from battle could come in handy though it works or not so randomly that I hesitate to use it and would rather hope for a lucky miracle win than watch in terror as half my fleet explodes after trying to turn around for two minutes.

The problem is there´s no way to know what to plan against other than to meet the enemy fleet and flee. But then you can´t retro fit your already built ships with more fitting systems. What ended up happening is I spam my previously designed ship types and that mostly works. I happen to like missile launcher because they have longer range in the game for some reason. You might want to tweak your designs slightly to optimize the need for crew because I found that to be the most limiting factor. Oh and also make sure to actually fit an engine in all your ships or you can´t move to attack obviously. (You see In the main game I always let the enemy come to me instead)

Overall

If you´ve waited for some kind of campaign to string many gratuitous space battles together, then this is it. I have to say though, I was hoping Galactic Conquest would make this somewhat more of a 4x game. But that would be a very generous description. Actually if you´d put a Master of Orion near one end of a line and a simple random battle selection screen in the other, I would place Galactic Conquest right about here. You can´t select any battle, just one of the ones adjacent to where your fleet is at the moment and connected to it with a wormhole and you have resources and an aggressive strategic enemy AI that does not sit around while you capture all the planets.

I got over half the galaxy conquered by the time I got introduced to a show stopper bug that crashes the game after turn 115 each and every time I press the turn button after loading the game. It´s probably a rare bug and will most likely be fixed eventually but it is so annoying having to start the game all over…
For a possible sequel I would hope for more control over my economy and the planets, also it would be nice to see the ships or their crew gather experience and level up, maybe get some perks… something to make me more attached to my fleet.
You´d do well to wait a while before purchasing this one even for the price of 6 euros.


#2

very nice! I agree with most of what you said, however I do not feel it deserves a 6. There should be a score for addictive-ness


#3

I’ll watch the video tomorrow. But I have to ask a nagging question first.

Why are people treating Galactic Conquest as something other than a Beta product? Did I miss something? I mean, if Cliffski has declared it to be “finished”, fine. But he continues to work on and troubleshoot it. So why are we acting surprised by the occasional bug?

And, in fairness, Master of Orion (great game) was made a MicroPose. One of the better game studios of it’s day. Is it really appropriate to compare a one-man-plus-a-few-contractors-and-cats operation to a full-fledged gaming studio? Or maybe that was a back-handed compliment about how much as been done with comparatively little resources. I can’t tell.

Finally (godz, I hate sounding like an apologist, so stop and look in the mirror), you’re bitching over 6 bloody euros? Really? Get a grip! I spend almost that much at Starbuck’s on a latte, for pity’s sake. Are you telling me that if someone gave you a game that was this good, you wouldn’t buy them a cup of friggin’ coffee? GET A GRIP!


#4

Why are they treating GC that way, you ask? Ummmm, based on the available evidence, apparently because they’re hasty, short-sighted, and feeling a sense of entitlement?

The fact that Cliffski accomplishes as much as he does with so few resources is a testament to his prowess. Positech uber alles.

The amount of whine and bawwwww on the part of those finding fault with GC’s price is often amusing.


#5

I bought the game (and dlc) on Steam. There was no mention of the dlc being beta. PC gamer made news of the dlc as being available. Again, being a beta was not mentioned.
positech.co.uk/gratuitousspa … quest.html <- No word “beta” mentioned there.
So I treated this dlc as a just released product.

There´s just something about the battle screen perspective and the shield effects and how the ships are deployed and how the fighter squadrons are in square formation and… something of an eery reminder that I can´t quite put to words. Well also I basically compare any and all 4xish games to what I consider the best. :slight_smile:

I´m sorry if it came out that way. What I was trying to say was 6 euros is not much but you would probably want to wait a while before purchasing even for that price. I´m saying that mostly because of the bug that I encountered.

I´m afraid the final score was affected frustration caused by the bug that prevented my play through. Also I´m kind of trying to establish my score system still, and I´ll probably give some actually bad games even lower scores but I understand you would naturally compare this to some norm in the review industry. If I didn´t encounter a major bug, I think the concept score would reflect the final score.

If anything, I was close to giving it higher gameplay score but there´s the weird difficulty curve… I think some sort of scanner technology to make nearby enemy fleets visible would improve a chance of planning ahead. Or maybe I´m playing this wrong, I just realized I could just send in small scout fleet and retreat before sending in my battle fleet… I dunno, sounds a bit tedious maybe.

Finally, I don´t feel as though the resources available to a game studio should affect a review score.


#6

For those of us on the “inside” who see the development process, we know this. However, nowhere that provides GC for sale (including the Positech site) makes mention of it being a beta. People who buy it are going to think it is a released product (which, really, it is, it’s a released product with quite a few bugs). Honestly, until I noticed people here (on this forum, not specifically this thread) continuing to call it beta, I assumed that the GC Beta thread was an old one from before release.


#7

The objection to the bug is valid, and there are a few that I am still experiencing, but having played just about every strategic space game worth its salt out there (MOOII, Pax Imperia, Imperium Galactica, and, god help me the chrome-plated disaster that was MOOIII), I am very happy with Galactic Conquest in its current configuration. The whole point is to focus on the battles, and not on micromanaging the empire to produce a fleet.


#8

Ok, well, I watched the video review earlier. As video reviews go, it’s not bad. I’d give it 3 stars out of 5.

Since I’m an American, I found Mendel’s accent slightly distracting, but not unpleasant. )In fairness, he’d likely find my American accent equally obnoxious. :slight_smile: ) That said, greater annunciation might help improve things. It seemed stupid when my choir master drilled it into us, but it really does matter.

On the subject of GC being Beta, I’m willing to stand corrected. At least from the point-of-view of the reviewer. If your distribution method fails to make that clear, then it’s reasonable to assume that things are in a “shipping” state. And I can completely understand that a bug that crashes a game of GC at ~150 turns is not kool. Has that bug been addressed in the support forums?

I absolutely agree that the difficulty curve of GC seems weird compared to most games. (Thus, my contention that it’s still in Beta. But enough beating that dead horse.) In another thread, I recommended that we (the fan-base) work together to create a better tutorial and guide to GC. And Cliffski is actively working to enhance GC with additional maps (YEAH!) that may even work to provide a smoother learning curve and/or balance away from Fighter Spam.

I think that I’ll wrap up by contending (again) that part of the challenge that GSB and GC face is the medium. If this were a game for the iPad, people would think it was the greatest thing since Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies. (Both great.) It’s a highly visual, subtly addictive single-player game. In fact, several us us have contended that Cliffski should port GSB to iOS for exactly that reason. But comparing a one-plus-some-man effort like GSB to a mainstream game is apples to oranges. Or maybe more like comparing a custom-designed, hand-built Harley Davidson to a Ford F-150. It’s all about the context.


#9

You make a fair point… but also I think there is maybe a slight misunderstanding again. I didn´t intend to compare how good the game is as compared to Master of Orion. The intention was to compare how deep the gameplay is in the strategy map part so as to give an idea of what to expect.

That is, IMO this game is still not too far from just selecting a random battle from a list of planets. It doesn´t even have to be a bad thing to be simple if it is at the same time quite addictive (there´s certainly some of that in this game.) and if it just works. At least there´s not too much tedious micromanaging. I´d appreciate some more depth though.

Also thanks for the constructive criticism about my accent and such. I may be mumbling a little bit which is something I should try to avoid.

I would tend to agree this would make a great IOS game.