A reboot of Star Control II, which in itself served as almost a pioneer of gaming ideas that — whilst different — meshed so well together, Star Control: Origins proved itself to be a rather faithful remake of said game. Published by Stardock, it featured a mix of strategy, resource management, open space exploration and a compelling lore which tied in together with the arcade-esque combat system it employed. Rather overwhelming at first for someone who never really cared for such genre of games, it compels you to fall in love with it albeit I would compare it to a whirlwind romance.
Covered in my first look, the game’s premise was easy to understand and it seemed to stay that way even as the game progressed. Aside from trying to protect the Earth, humans basically, time and time again, were painted as the “babies” of the Universe. The alien life you will encounter will be superior in technology and intelligence, seeing you as a science experiment if to be compared. Sadly, as someone who looked at storytelling the most when playing games, the initial setup of the plot held promise, yet it fell flat as the game progressed.
The colorful world it lured you with at the beginning slowly felt drab and grey as the story began to clutch for continuity. The quests began to remind me of a pell-mell of great ideas that seemed to lose to each other during storyboarding, and the characters with their witty banter became its only saving grace. Still, I resolved to at least play the game a couple more days and see if the story picked up, unsurprisingly met with disappointment.
The controls still felt iffy for me, even after days of playing the game. It could be a bit frustrating for people who are used to fluid movements when maneuvering vehicles in most games as —still chalking it up to gravity— you can feel a lot of drag when moving and changing direction. Sure you can mitigate this when you start upgrading, but not by much. Controlling your ship is simply a challenge, even more so when paired with actual combat.
If you thought travelling in hyperspace was tedious, landing the craft on the planet you chose could pose a larger problem. To land your ship, you have to move and align it on the square “landing pods” located on each planet. The ship could be unstable and it would result in damage if not done properly. I learned this the hard way the first time I tried to go to a different place.
The core aspects of Star Control: Origins’ gameplay would be resource management and the combat system reminiscent of the original franchise. Players of the 1992 release would be delighted to find that most of the original game’s aspects remained the same yet it might be difficult for the later generation of players to get into. If you can get past the tedious controls for battle and the grindy, resource gathering, you might be able to enjoy the game despite the plot holes.
Add Ons and Combat:
If you ever get bored of mining resources or blasting off AI asteroids or aircrafts, you might want to jump into a feature called Fleet Battles. It basically allows you to build a fleet out of a selection of Alien ships and lets you experience battles over and over again without the fear of losing resources if you fail. You can choose to do this locally (with a friend, where you duke it out 1v1) or ranked online via the custom match option, which is an added feature to this remake.
You can also customize ships using the available mods in the Steam Workshop community for the game. With that said, the mechanics of the combat mirrored that of the original, if not enhanced.
I badly wanted to like this game since the choices for good, sci-fi games —that were not First-Person Shooters—were lacking. It had so much potential from the get-go and the writing for the dialogue was simply superb. Although, the formidably witty characters drowned in the game’s undercooked, primordial soup of a plot, leaving me rather disappointed. Still, if grinding, resource management and retro-style, top down battles jived your fancy, Star Control: Origins got you covered. I’ll give the game a 6/10.
You can get the game on Steam for P829.95 normal price and P1,119.90 bundled with the soundtrack.