Steam recently recommended I try the Free-to-Play game Star Conflict. It looked like a more action oriented version of the space simulator EVE Online, so I figured I could give it a try.
After a couple hours, I have to say, I really enjoyed my experience thus far. First, this game is not one of those annoying pay-to-win free online games you often see enter into the MMO market. Second, this game features some of the best space pilot and combat controls I have experienced in PC gaming.
Controlling your ship is done via the typical WASD format with some extra embellishments to barrel roll, fly up, down, etc. You are given a very basic weapon set at the beginning, but within a skirmish or two you can expand on your modules and equipment.
You can work for three factions, developing individual reputation levels within each one. Each main faction has a sub-faction that you sign “contracts” with to earn loyalty points that are then used to upgrade your ship’s modules. I love that you are free to switch between each faction, allowing you to rank up ships in any tier without losing any of the reputation you gained in other factions.
As I mentioned briefly above, each faction has its own set of ships, which you level up and purchase within familiar RPG-like tree structure grid. By increasing your rank and spending some in-game currency, you can buy stronger ships that serve different functions in combat. Between the three ship classes, Interceptors, Fighters and Frigates, you can fulfill different roles including; recon, gunship, tackler, engineer, guard and sniper/long-range, etc. This allows each player to cater to whatever play style they prefer most.
There are decent game modes for both PvP and PvE – which are ranked (thankfully) so it is rare you get completely stomped. You can also join corporations, which are like “guilds” in most fantasy MMORPGs. Joining allows you to fight in sector battles, and each corporation is ranked in five categories: PVP, PVE, Roster, Sectors, and Iridium. Corporations recruit higher tier players due to roster limits, so corp. play is a later level element of game play.
The graphics fidelity of this game is pretty high, especially for a MMO – the combat looks gorgeous. The sound effects are also pretty great. However the voice overs are awful, but that’s not really a make-or-break situation. If you consider giving the game a try, stick with it until you hit Rank 2 as a pilot (it should only take an hour or so) as that is the point when the tree opens up and you have access to all of the customization options.
Feel free to look me up if you join (the game is available for free via Steam) – thehiketeia.