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Stardrive 2

by James Wright

CONQUER the galaxy or die tryin’

Stardrive 2 was a game that had my curiosity from announcement. I have never played a 4x strategy game so I had no idea what to expect, or how to actually play the game but I thought I’d give it a crack and see if this game is for me.


Full disclosure: The wonderful people at Iceberg interactive provided us with a press copy of Stardrive 2 at our request, which we are truly thankful for!

Setting

When I first starting playing Stardrive 2, it was 9pm. I thought I’d try it out for an hour or so just to get a feel for it. When I decided an hour had passed, I looked at the clock and saw it was 2am. This is the type of game Stardrive 2 is; It is very in depth and very addictive. What makes this game different from the original Stardrive is that it is turn based and not real time, as in it plays out as you take your turn. This allows you think more about the decisions you make, and how to react to events that are happening around you.

In Stardrive 2 you can colonise Planets and Asteroids

In Stardrive 2 you can colonise Planets and Asteroids


GAMEPLAY

Initially it was daunting. You begin the game by choosing your race, each has pro’s and con’s that affect how the game plays, but something I thought was interesting is that you can create you own race with certain pro’s and con’s. You can even make a race that has nothing going for it, making the game near impossible to play. When I played, I didn’t create my own race, mainly so I can get into the meat of the game.

Stardrive 2 has many playable races

Stardrive 2 has many playable races including Plants and Space Bears

For the first time player, the game has a nice tutorial that explains the basics and mechanics of the game. This tutorial shows you how to colonise different planets and asteroids, research different technologies, create ships, and manage your economy, which defines how you play the game. You have to colonise different planets due to a finite amount of resources; the issue is, not all planets are suitable for colonisation.
The other races in the galaxy will contact you when they discover your existence. The key to surviving in the game is forming good diplomatic relations with the other races. You have the ability to trade goods, citizens, form treaties, demand tribute and of course, declare war.
Unfortunately you will have to eliminate your friends eventually, for there can only be one victor in the game.

As you build up your colony you will have to begin creating ships for exploration and battle. When you are under attack (or asserting your dominance) the game takes you to an instance. These battles are in real time so you’ll have to quickly think about the best way to beat your enemies. I found the AI a little stupid at times during these battles, but I still had a lot of fun with it. One of my favourite things about creating ships was the ability to customise them. You can add weapons, ammo, armour, thrusters, etc. You have a limited amount of space on each ship, but I found this really entertaining trying to find the perfect balance of attack, defence and utility.

There is also Surface Combat that takes place when you take over planets, random sites in the galaxy and certain ships. These instances remind me of the X-COM games. Each unit you control has a certain amount of action points which are used when you move, and use an attack or ability. You can kit out your ground troops equipment with weapons, armour, and other researched technology that help you defeat your enemies.

Fierce battles are to be fought

Fierce battles are to be fought


Graphics and Audio

Now, Stardrive 2 isn’t the most visually stimulating game ever made, but it doesn’t need to be. The style suits the game well, and it’s not trying to be something that it isn’t. The audio on the other hand disappointed me a little bit. The game has no voice acting other than the tutorials, which means you spend a lot of time reading dialogue boxes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but having some voice acting would have been a nice touch. The in game sounds aren’t bad, but they aren’t great either. They just seemed a little bland to me at times.


Conclusion

Stardrive 2 really took me by surprise. I didn’t think I was going to have as much fun with it as I did. Unfortunately the game has no multiplayer as of yet, but as a single player game, it holds its own. If you have interest in these type of games, I advise you to buy it and hopefully you will have as much fun as I did when playing.

SCORE: 7/10

Release Date: Out now
Available from: Steam ($29.99 USD)
Developed by: Zero Sum Games

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