Star Conflict Review
Now it must be said beforehand that I have not played a game involving flying ships or space battles since 1998’s Star Wars: Rouge Squadron. So, quite rusty from flight game experience, I booted Star Conflict with an open mind and heart.
Upon beginning Star Conflict there is an option to either sign in with a pre-made account via the game’s website, or your Steam account; I chose the latter and seemingly easier option. I was met by an entertaining CGI introduction that gave me a quick run-down of what each ship does and how the game plays. At the hangar, which acts as the main screen to view your ship, you can choose its equipment, buy or sell items and various other options, all the while admiring how pretty your ship is, which is very pretty indeed.
Being a first timer, when presented with a tutorial, I gladly accepted. This threw me straight into battle, with bots thankfully, who very helpfully showed me the control layout and basic systems, which was nice of them. When I began the tutorial I was quite surprised that it was a team versus team type of game and I was given a single ship, whilst the bots had three themselves. Our objectives were simple: capture the three beacons. It couldn’t be simpler. The field was filled with plenty of floating meteorites of various sizes, casually spinning around the atmosphere.
As this was a simple tutorial match, I was overconfident with my skills in the game. Press “W” and my ships moves forward, very slowly, a snail moves faster than this, I thought. Three quarters into the field and I pressed “Shift”, which kicked in the afterburners and then, I was flying like a real space pilot, which was the cause of my death. Although afterburners made me fly much faster, it didn’t mean I could fly head-first to the nearest beacon, kill the bots and then take the beacon. What happened was I crashed into the beacon and was shot down by the guard drones before I could react. For a tutorial, these bots were brutal. Then again, I am inexperienced and was over-confident, so I can’t complain.
Once I respawned back into the field, I learnt from my previous mistakes and began to get a feel for the controls, as well as the game itself. Star Conflict has a steep learning curve and learning from mistakes is vital, if you are to survive.
With the tutorial out of the way, I felt like I could play a match against real players.
There are three different game types: Scenario, a team vs computer battle. Battle Arcade: a PVP game type which is randomly generated, and Battle: a regular capture the beacon game type. Each one is just as much fun as the other, but I personally prefer Scenario, as it can lead to team building skills.
Before I go into the good and bad about Star Conflict, I want to throw this out there and inform you that Star Conflict is a not an MMO, as it claims to be. It is a lobby based space shooter. The player selects a game type from the drop down menu and then waits in a queue for the match to start, which isn’t that long.
First of all I would like to say how pretty this game is. Although it may contain just three to four maps that consist of space debris and meteorites, the background environment is absolutely stunning. However, there is also a downside to this. Because Star Conflict is such a fast-paced game, you can hardly stand around to appreciate the surroundings or to see how nicely textured everything is. I wish all the players could just stop and stare at it in appreciation before going back to shoot each other, even if it is for just five seconds.
The controls are tight and simple. Honestly, I thought the controls would be highly complex and would require me to stretch one of my fingers halfway down the keyboard to do the simplest actions; I couldn’t be more wrong. Everything is within your reach to do the simplest actions, perform evasive manoeuvres and activate special skills, all of which I found easy to master. My only concern is that because the controls are based on the standard “WSAD” keys, left handed players will have a harder time to master the controls, or may not be able to play the game at all.
Star Conflict is fantastically immersive and addictive. There are various different ships available, some through ranking up in your faction and some through special credits. Each one has its own role to play in battlefield, so knowing your ship means better chances of victory. Available upgrades, or Modules as they are called in-game, help improve your ship through its weapons, shields, hull and general actions. The player is also rewarded with Loot to sell following winning a match, which makes victory all the more worthwhile, along with bonus money for playing the game every day. It really is nice to feel rewarded just by playing the game.
The only bad thing I can say about Star Conflict is how it introduces itself to new players. There are two different types of tutorials; there are the kind that throw you into the deep end after giving you a brief run-down of controls and then throw hints at you after it is all done. Then there are the kind that give you a step by step during gameplay and don’t bother you ever again. Star Conflict is definitely the first one, although, this isn’t entirely a bad thing, this is just a small concern for new players. Not everyone is a fast learner; we are all individuals that learn at different rates and ways.
Overall, Star Conflict is a gem, a little rough around the edges, but I see a bright future for it. It’s also free to play, which means poor people can also escape their dreary lives for some time.
Release Date: 27 February 2013
Developed By: Star Gem Inc
Published By: Gaijin Entertainment