Star Conflict 1.4.4
FREEWAREFILES EDITOR'S REVIEW
Space-based MMOs are an odd lot. While science fiction is incredibly popular among video gamers, sci-fi MMOs haven't always fared so well when they haven't been attached to an ultra-popular franchise. While fantasy MMOs have proven themselves time and again, every space MMO tends to be viewed with suspicion. For every EVE, it seems, there are a dozen WildStars. It's a shame, though - the conventions of MMOs fit well with sci-fi settings and most players really want something in the genre to succeed. That's why it's important to take a look at Star Conflict, a space-based MMO that gets as much right as it gets wrong.
Combat, Not Story Focused
The first thing you'll notice about Star Conflict is that the game is very paint-by-numbers. The game is all about space combat, so you'll get flashbacks to EVE almost immediately once you start playing. This is, of course, not always bad - the game takes a lot of what works in its competition and strips away most of the spreadsheet-based tedium. In its place is perfectly serviceable combat, which probably owes more to other games than the developers would like to admit. Again, this isn't bad - just a bit on the derivative side.
Unfortunately, most of the real downsides of the game revolve around its derivative nature. There's not much of a plot in the game - it's very much an excuse for the combat, which is a bit of a let-down. Science fiction has always been about big ideas, and a sci-fi game that forgets the plot is missing something special. Likewise, there's a lot of tuning that needs to be done to make the game balanced, most of which has fallen by the wayside. All of this, though, can be traced to a single, cardinal sin - it's a free to play game that cares more about money than game play.
Free to Play But Premium Options Provide Better Experience
There's nothing wrong with being free to play, or even with microtransactions. There are some fantastic games like Star Wars The Old Republic and Star Trek Online that strike a good balance between making money and giving players a great experience. Star Conflict, however, definitely seems to have erred on the side of catching whales. You can't remain competitive for long if you don't invest in virtual currency, which puts a huge hamper on players who enjoy PvP. It's possible to enjoy the game without spending money, but it's clear for who the game has been designed.
Star Conflict is an interesting look at a game that could be more than the sum of its parts. With a better plot and a little less emphasis on microtransactions, it could easily compete with games like Champions Online or Star Trek Online. As it stands, though, it's a game solely for those who absolutely love space combat and don't mind paying a fair amount of money to win. The game is worth a download and a try, but don't get too attached if you're not willing to open up your wallet.