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