Star Conflict (PC) Beta Preview
James Ku / Aug 13th, 2012 No Comments
Gamers love space. It’s a fact of life. If they didn’t, why would there be so many space-themed games? Star Wars has spawned what seems to be thousands (I may be slightly exaggerating here) of video games. Mass Effect is one of the most adored and highly rated game series of the current generation of video games. One of Portal 2’s most quoted quotes involved space. Is there room for more space-related adventures in gamers’ palettes? Gaijin Entertainment, a Russian game developer, and Star Gem Inc. apparently think so. Their latest game, Star Conflict, is a space-based MMORPG that recently entered open beta. We delved in to find out if it’s worth a look.
Star Conflict takes place in the not-so-near future of the 47th century. Like any good conflict-driven space game, Star Conflict features warring factions trying to take over sectors of space. You select a faction to join when you first register for the game (a daunting decision considering you can’t go back and join a different faction) and are then given the option of doing a tutorial mission.
Having never played Star Conflict before (and due to the promise of bonus credits upon completion of the tutorial), I decided to continue with the tutorial mission. Calling it a “tutorial mission” seemed a bit of a stretch, since it was basically just a “here are the controls, now figure out how to play on your own” type of deal. It wouldn’t be bad if the control help was actually in English. The in-game control help is currently only available in Russian and one must proceed to the Star Conflict website to get English control help. A slight annoyance, indeed, but after reading up and committing the basic controls to memory I set out to help my faction, the Federation, conquer sectors of space like any loyal pilot would.
Battles in Star Conflict take place in (where else?) space, with two teams of sixteen fighting to destroy the opposing team’s recon droids in the sector that they have been warped to. I was never able to get a full game of thirty-two players going; the greatest number of actual players (not bots) that I ever encountered in a game was two.
Every player can bring in three ships to every battle while controlling only one at any given time. Losing a ship in battle forces you to use one of your remaining ships until you deplete your allotment, at which point you can only spectate the remaining players in the game.
Gameplay involves moving your ship around using the WASD keys and the mouse to aim your weapons at enemy ships and recon droids. Various skills are available for different ship classes, such as a mega-boost for interceptors and cloaking for cruisers. Star Conflict does a decent job of conveying the different strengths and weaknesses of the ships in-game: interceptors are light, small, and maneuverable but can’t take much sustained damage, while frigates are huge, lumbering pieces of floating metal that have good armor and firepower (try doing barrel rolls in an interceptor vs. a frigate and you’ll see what I mean).
Star Conflict’s graphics are not revolutionary but they are enough to get the job done. Ship models have an appropriately futuristic space-y style and little touches like animated workers in your hangar help to make the game feel like a dynamic, lively game.
You can purchase weapons, ships and modules at the hangar as well as upgrade skills with experience you’ve earned from previous battles. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before. The lack of an item comparison window when purchasing new items (that is, a window showing what stats will be improved/made worse compared to the item you currently have equipped) makes it difficult to decide at a glance whether or not a new item is worth purchasing.
One problem I had while playing Star Conflict was that it was impossible to communicate with anyone in-game due to the fact that everyone spoke what appeared to be Cryllic. Hopefully, this problem will be ameliorated as more English-speakers join Star Conflict but as of now it seems that the game is most popular with Russians.
Star Conflict, in its current state, is not very friendly to English speakers. It’s clear that it was designed as a Russian game first with English localization coming later, making it rather difficult to get the hang of the game as an English speaker. Keep Star Conflict on your radar as it picks up steam and completes its English localization.
tags: beta , mmorpg , pc , preview , star conflict