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In A Nutshell

🔵 Pros
+ An huge galaxy section to explore filled with quests, secrets and encounters.
+ Varied gameplay situations, including shooter-like combat and management.
+ Generally decent and interesting main and side quests.
+ Very good sense of discovery and progression throughout the game.
+ Good variety of weapons, equipment and ships to include in our Fleet.
+ Great polishing and smoothness.

🔴 Cons
- Resource collection can become very repetitive and boring in the long run.
- Combat feels like a secondary feature, could use more depth.
- Some quest objectives are unclear or misleading.
- Weapons do not have written stats such as Damage, DPS or Energy Consumption.

Star Control: Origins (SCO) is Stardock's attempt to recreate a "starfleet captain-like" modern experience, and it is a success, but with some rough edges. For starters, the sheer amount of solar systems to explore, each containing multiple planets, is immense and alone worth dozens of hours of content, a true joy for exploration fans. The bad part about this is that most of the time, on newly discovered planets, you won't find anything interesting, but instead just resources to collect or maybe a crashed ship to pick up in your Fleet. very few planets you discover will actually contain unique quests or content: this in the long run can make all that huge amount of explorable things just repetitive.

Combat and Management are overall decently done gameplay features, but neither of them provides great depth or options to it. Combat is quite simplistic and boils down to 1v1 real-time top-down arena battles, where opposing fleets deploy their ships one at a time, and winner is who destroys all enemy ships. Management consists mostly in checking fuel supplies to not run dry in the middle of space, getting a decent fleet composition, and aswell making a lot of money (RU) to buy upgrades for your Flagship.

Overall, SCO is a very good space exploration game that fans of sci-fi games, space simulators, and why not even RTS will surely like; it is a bit less complex than many other games of the same type, allowing accessibility even to newcomers or more casual players. Some features could have used better depth as the game clearly has gone all-out on exploration and quests, leaving other parts behind. But all things considered, a solid purchase for the genre.

In-depth Feature Analysis

🎮 Gameplay
Gameplay of SCO will mainly be divided into Exploration, Combat and Management. As you can guess, exploring the galaxy is this game's number one feature, and is done via Hyperspace in a 2D layered map (but with 3D models) where all solar systems, space stations and other ships are displayed in real-time. Entering solar systems will enable you to scan and descend on single planets with Landers, each providing different resources and encounters based on planet category and location. Resource collection is manual, driving your lander through the eventual dangers of each planets, including automated defenses and volcanoes, and carry the most possible amount before leaving. You can of course land on a planet multiple times to get everything.

You will also encounter many different alien species, some hostile, some neutral, and a few even friendly from the start. Getting good relationship with them is one of your main mission parameters, and to do this you will often have to complete quests for them, involving unique objectives or the classical resource gathering.

Management part is very light and consists mostly of being attentive not running out of fuel, having a basic grasp about efficiency in gathering and movement, and having a decent fleet composition to face a variety of different threats.

There also are additional modes: Fleet Battles, consisting in combats against the AI or live players, where you can use also custom ships created with the Ship Editor, a powerful and complete tool to design ships from scratch. These are quite nice additions but marginal to the main experience. User generated ones can be downloaded.

📖 Story
Story of main and side quests is coated with a background light humor, do not expect the seriousness seen in Star Trek for example, because you won't get that. You won't be getting completely silly interactions either, let's make it an halfway through point. Stories are often decent and include mystery and political intrigues more than once. The ending part of the main story feels a bit rushed though.

👊 Combat System
Combat in SCO is a quite basic top-down shooter system. Each ship in combat features two weapons, each consuming Energy when fired, which in turns recharges passively. Ships in our fleet cannot be modified, only our Flagship can, to include better combat-oriented upgrades such as newer weapons, damage reduction items, and even fleet-wide bonus auras.

It takes a while to grasp the control system, the lack of a long distance sight makes it difficult to aim distant enemies and it is quite an issue sometimes. Also, an option to aim with mouse should be added as using only WASD is quite uncomfortable. On the battlefield there will also be environmental hazard such as Ion Storms that sap energy, wormholes and temporary upgrades to boost ship stats.

The combat is not brilliant, but it does the job alright and is quite fun once you get into it.

💰 Content & Pricing
Priced at 35€ as base tag, and offering roughly 30-35 hours of content for a mostly full run (consider 35-45 for a 100% run), with overall good quality of gameplay, i'd say the price is fair enough unless you don't particularly like the genre, in that case you may want to wait a sale, but otherwise go for it.

🔗 Balance & Challenge
Weapons balance could use some rework. Some weapon categories (Missiles, Lasers, Beams) are outright OP and outclass most of other weapons, rendering them useless or just worse to have equipped. There are a few exceptions, but that's mostly it. Challenge spikes up a lot nearing endgame, but generally is on Medium/Low levels.

Technical Analysis

🎥 Graphics
Quite simple regarding planets, ship models and the galaxy in general, featuring polished but still basic models and textures. Good effects in battles and planets. Beautiful models during dialogues with other ships and stations. Overall, graphics is not the strong part of this game, as expected.

🔊 Sound
Excellent voice acting in dialogues, as the game is fully voiced. Good quality of sound effects and sountrack. Overall solid.

🔩 Performance & Stability
Rock solid, never seen any problem. (GTX1080, 16GB RAM, i7 4820K, 1440p res.)

💻 Artificial Intelligence
Enemy AI during combat is actually quite smart and will know to be in advantage or trouble, many ships have unique patterns depending on their equipment. Solid.

🏠 Quality of Life
Some improvements are needed. You cannot sell materials partially but only in bulk, so if you need to keep a part of some material for a quest but also need money, you are in trouble. The possibility of marking locations and having a dedicated, customizable list for markers is great.

🐛 Bugs & Issues
Very few and minor, nothing worth reporting.

SCO is a very good space opera game. It blends many elements well and offers a good amount of content for the price proposed. great polishing ensures a smooth experience. As expected from Stardock, another quality title.

RATING: 8.0 / 10

This product was reviewed using a free key provided by the Developers.

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