reviews\ Feb 23, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Star Wolves 3: Civil War - PC - Review

On paper, Star Wolves 3: Civil War was a great idea. An open world (or space in this matter) RPG/RTS that allows players to pick missions as they freely choose, join up with different factions, pilot different ships, and level up in a complex skill tree, but unfortunately the patience of the gamer will give out quite early on, and inspires players to stop playing out of plain boredom, or better yet, sheer frustration.

The game opens up with a brief cinematic that shows a convoy of ships getting attacked and separated, accompanied by horrendous voice acting that sounds like a bunch of angry guys on teamspeak. Fortunately, this is about the only voice acting presented for a long duration. Unfortunately, Star Wolves 3 forces the players to read pages upon pages to read of dialogue text that is neither interesting nor well written.

A lot of the backgrounds, such as the giant planets, asteroid fields, and star clusters, look magical. The ships themselves have a decent amount of detail, and I played the game with settings on high flawlessly. On the other hand though, that means not to expect too much from this game either. The music is made up of fitting ambient sounds when flying through space, but switches to cheesy techno or rock music when battling and sounds terribly out of place.

The gameplay is similar to many other real-time strategy titles as players control a mothership, guiding it through space. A map can be brought up to aid the player in navigating the map. The problem with this formula of an open world system not working here is that space is huge, and space is barren. Open world games should have an interesting world that invites the player to explore, but in Star Wolves, it’s mostly empty with space stations scattered throughout each area, and barely any other ships flying around. Another major problem is when flying from objective to objective – it’s as slow as a snail. Luckily the game has a fast mode button that speeds up the gameplay to x8. The problem is, during my playthrough, I had that turned on 99 percent of the time. The game would have benefitted from a strict mission format. Read the dialogue, accept a mission, do said mission, level up, and move on to the next mission.

Battles are yet another frustration that could have been thrilling. They play out in a traditional RTS format. The main problem with using this format is that the ship can be moved on an X Y Z axis. Many times I clicked because I wanted to move forward, when in reality it made my ship move backwards because of the inaccurate depth of field, which, instead, resulted in my ship to get blown to bits.

When moving on the Z axis, the Shift key has to be held down while the mouse selects the altitude but even then it is just way too confusing. The best way to get a clear view of what is going on is to zoom out as far as you can, and put the camera in a bird’s eye view. What’s worse is that enemies usually appear out of nowhere, and by the time the player realizes this, their ship is destroyed. The games leveling up system is fairly deep, mainly due to its complex skill tree, but I failed to notice the improvements with a lot of the upgrades.

Star Wolves 3 could have potentially been a good game, but its cons much outweigh its pros, and ends up being a boring trek through open space.

Gameplay: 3
The game is boring and its story isn’t gratifying. 

Graphics: 7
The background planets, stars and galaxies look great, and the ships have a fair amount of detail on them.

Sound: 5
The ambient music was fitting, but the battle music felt completely out of place. The voice acting, though brief, was terrible.

Difficulty: Med/Hard 

Concept: 5
The idea of an open world space game was great; it’ too bad it wasn’t executed well at all. 

Overall: 4
Star Wolves 3 was a rather big disappointment that left me wishing for improvements.

Below Average

About The Author
Mike Splechta GameZone's review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire! Follow me @Michael_GZ
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