Star Wolves 3: Civil War Review

Written by Mark Mackay

March 6, 2010 | 08:46

Tags: #homeworld #rts #space #spaceships

Companies: #1c-publishing #steam

What's so Civil About War Anyway?

As elements of the combat system feel as if they've been borrowed from the RTS genre, it's no surprise that the units that you build up on your travels can be selected using a drag box and then told to attack specific targets strategy-style. Fights will take place regardless of whether you give out orders or not though and it sometimes feels like you could just go through the entire game without pressing a button - Total War this is not.

On the plus side though, you can customise the pace of the game by using timeline controls on the UI, accelerating boring parts of the game up to 8x their usual speed and turning Star Wolves 3 into a spaceborne Benny Hill sketch as you watch things fall apart at hyper-speed.

The interface is just as annoying as any other part of the game though. It’s sparse and not in a good, spartan way. If you mouse over the icons at the bottom right of the screen, a description of what the badly-drawn scribbles do is displayed - but on the other side of the screen. If you’re on a 24in display then figuring out what on earth is going is like watching the tennis at Wimbledon.

Star Wolves 3: Civil War Review What's so Civil About War Anyway?
Click to enlarge

A final niggle is the autosave. It seems to save approximately once per lifetime, so if you forget to save manually then you’ve got a whole lot of game time to go back through.

Even travelling around space in Star Wolves 3: Civil War is dull. Space, by its very definition is well, full of precisely nothing - except in Star Wolves 3 anyway. It's not full of stars, it's not full of wolves, instead it's full of endless pirates getting in your way and thwarting your safe passage from point A to point B and almost every encounter with them means reading reams of boring, cheesy dialogue.

Star Wolves main redeeming feature is the graphical detail that's been piled onto the game. Many of the models are exquisitely drawn and the design of many of the buildings wouldn’t look out of place in any number of awesome sci-fi space shooters such as Mass Effect. However, because these points of visual interest are so sparingly dotted around the map they don’t work hard enough to make the game look great. Thing get quite pretty when the scale of battles gets larger, but it’s too little, too late redeem the rest of the game.

Star Wolves 3: Civil War Review What's so Civil About War Anyway?
Click to enlarge
Star Wolves 3: Civil War Review What's so Civil About War Anyway?
Given the dominance of a few very traditional franchises over the games charts, it can be very tempting to head off the beaten track to see if you can unearth hidden treasure amongst indie and little-known titles - but be warned. You need to go into such situations with an open mind, but sometimes, an open mind just isn’t enough.

Never before have we played a game that leaves you feeling so detached from the world that it's set in - and as a lifelong EVE addict, I'm a huge fan of space-set games. Sadly, in Star Wolves 3, even getting your ship to move is like putting your thumbs in a vice and trying to play the drums. The stacks of dialogue you have to plough through are nothing short of exhausting and you’re given very little incentive to play for longer than a few hours.

If there’s one thing this game is good for, it would be to demonstrate in game design lectures to show aspiring developers how not to make games and spare us all from having to play such dross in the future.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04