82 people found this review helpful
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 18.4 hrs on record (16.7 hrs at review time)
Posted: Aug 26, 2016 @ 2:26am
Updated: Aug 26, 2016 @ 2:58am

Master of Orion 4 is not a remake of Master of Orion 1 or 2.
It's pretty much the game we needed instead of Master of Orion 3.

You see, back when MoO3 was announced I was very interested in it.
MoO2 was one of the games that kickstarted my love for videogames and boosted
my switch from consoles to pc.

The horrendous ui, bad ai and terrible gameplay mechanics in MoO3 killed my dream of a more modern and refreshing MoO experience and as such left me with replaying MoO2 countless times.
Which by no means should be interpreted as bad, because to this day I still love booting up MoO2 and the original CD-ROM plus euro box are on display on my shelf.

However as much as I love MoO2, it has flaws and with these flaws it would never survive a simple remake in today's gaming world.
Game franchises of the older days like Civilization, Total War and X-COM have shown that slow paced 4X games aren't dead, but at the same time require careful updates to keep up with today's audience.

And all of these changes are usually either dumbing down game mechanics (Hi, Total War post Medieval II) or changing the franchise itself to a certain degree, making it far more accessable for newcomers (X-COM 2).

I have to admit it's not the worst approach, it's actually not even a bad one when done well.
X-COM 2 and Civilization V have shown perfectly how we can get very fun and deep 4X games that proceed to build the bridge between "casual" 4X and the "number crunching" ones.

Master of Orion 4 is such a game.
Hate it or love it, it's the Master of Orion I would play in multiplayer with people younger than me or those who had no previous interest in 4X games.
MoO2 would just make the average joe turn away from the genre with it's focus being more on the number crunching and in-depth game mechanics rather than the steamlined approach of MoO4.

Now of course it's great that the game caters to a wider audience by including those that have no previous experience with the genre, but what of the "veterans", those who have played 4X games since their earliest incarnations?

It's pretty simple, either you can appreciate what the game does in it's own way, or you'll never like this game.

I wrote in the very beginning that MoO4 isn't a remake of former games of the franchise.
It's a new game in the franchise, taking new approaches and changes to not only simplify existing game mechanics, but also adding new ones.

Take the change from tactical to real time combat for example.
I like that change, I also liked the real time combat in games like Imperium Galactica II, I loved the newer Sins of a Solar Empire for it's great real time 4X approach.

It's not only more graphically pleasing, but also interesting in it's own way.
Turn-based combat leaves a lot of it's representation to the player's imagination, which is enjoyable, however also confines it into a corner of the room.

To put it simple, turn based combat is methodical, more like a puzzle, while real time combat also relies on player instinct and ability to adapt to situations quickly.

They're too different to each other, but interesting for exactly that reason.

Turn based combat in any game makes me want to min-max my troops performance as much as possible, granting me perhaps the chance to turn a devastating loss into a victory by making the puzzle pieces fall into the places I want them to be.

Real Time combat fills that itch of mine to do my best possible within the time granted.
It's decision making on the fly, identify the outcome, proceed or change the tactic used and work
with the results to prepare for the next step.

And that describes MoO4 perfectly, too.
It's not MoO2, it didn't try to be to begin with.
It's a game on it's own.

Does it have flaws?
Oh yes it does, some of which prolly won't be fixed until later and some of which are flaws of the genre itself and are unlikely to be ever "fixed".

MoO2 had flaws, too.
Different ones, from a different genre subtype.
Did these flaws make it a bad game? By no means.

Do the flaws in MoO4 make it a bad game? By no means.

As such I recommend to buy MoO4 to anyone who likes the 4X genre in itself and not just certain subtypes of it.
It certainly isn't a game for someone who only appreciates the number crunching Paradox-esque 4X games of this world, but for people like me who enjoy all the subgenres it'll be a good gaming experience.

Major negatives on the current build (As of 26.08.2016):
- Tactical combat maps are too small
- No tactical combat in MP
- Tactical combat duration still feels a bit short
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Karma Mule Aug 27, 2016 @ 6:09am 
This is one of the best reviews I've ever read on Steam. Informative, well written, thorough but not indulgently long, and describes who it might appeal to and why rather than just whether or not you personally like it.

Well done, and thanks! :)