Thanks to x box for the code for this, and I am sorry it's taken a while to get round to reviewing it.
It will come as no surprise to you all that as mankind explores deep space he is going to attract attention. Maybe it's because of humanity's reputation as being a warlike species, it attracts the more aggressive races out there as well.
When two war like races meet, it's sadly inevitable that they are going to butt heads. Who will prevail? Well that dear reader, is in your hands and yours alone.....
Three Dimensional Combat
The game play resembles a game of three dimensional chess as made famous in Star Trek. The attacking and defending ships don't come right at you in a nicely arranged formation, they come in at different attack angles and heights.
So it's best to pause the action and pan the camera around. Like 3D chess, you can see the action on the different levels and plan your attack, movement, and defence in advance. All you have to do then is figure out how the enemy are going to react and that in itself is something of an art form.
Soon missiles and lasers will be flying back and forth, but it's turn based and plays a a reasonably nice pace so when you get used too it, you can speed up the gameplay and have a smoother, experience. Not that the easy option is slow far from it.
This is actually nicely designed (if that's the right expression), it gradually gets more difficult as you earn credits that will enable you to upgrade existing ships and of course, expand your fleet. You'll have Corsair class ships, to massive fleet command ships and escorting fighters, that are small, fast and manoeuvrable, and can 'peck' at enemy ships, weakening the shields, so the missiles can lock on and finish the job.
It is what it is...
Look this is no Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic style RPG, there is no cut scenes to talk of, or loads of dialogue that you may or may not want/need to skip through. You'll get a mission briefing that can be recapped easily from the game's menu when paused. It's the closest you are going to get to a table top miniatures skirmish game on a console.
Graphically it won't blow you away but it still looks pretty easy on the eye. Explosions are nicely rendered, animation (when the game has been un-paused) is nicely done etc.
Lasers and explosions sound nice and meaty, but I don't think playing it through a home cinema system will enhance the experience greatly.
It lacks multiplayer but that's not a bad thing, and two people in the same room could I suppose play it together with one using the controller and the other doing the brain work. There are no online league tables too so for some it may lack that nice 'community' feel too it.
Those of you out there that remembers Master of Orion with fondness may find this a nice tip of the hat to that series without copying it directly. I wish someone would revive that series to be honest, but this is as close as you can get right now.
It's good, has an relatively easy learning curve until later levels, but it does not just start slapping you down brutally though it can test you.
Over all not a bad game, not a blockbuster, but still a decent, strategy game that can draw you in. All in all pretty decent and that's all you can ask for.