StarDrive ReviewGuest_Jim_* -
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Every other week it seems a new rumor from a reliable, yet unnamed source leaks concerning one next generation console or another. No doubt these rumors and the eventual hardware releases will reignite the PC versus Console debate (as though it has ever ended). Those not overly committed to one side or the other likely agree that really, it just boils down to what game or genre you are talking about. Some genres are best played on consoles, and some are best on PCs. Perhaps the best example for a PC genre is the real-time strategy, RTS, genre and certainly its 4X variant.
Standing for explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate, 4X games are characterized by large gameworlds, the need for players to quickly annex what resources they find, and then prove their superiority over their opponents through conflict or diplomacy, depending on what the developers decided on. Along the way to victory, players often must manage their economy, feed and defend their people, while also researching new technologies to improve their effectiveness at fulfilling these tasks. Balancing these demands often require micromanaging your empire, which 4X gamers typically enjoy, but gives the developers the awkward task of designing simple-to-use interfaces to micromanage without simplifying the management.
Enter StarDrive, a new, independently developed 4X game with some novel ways of approaching micromanagement. These, if not its outer-space setting, are what set it apart from other games of its genre. A fairly obvious example of this is its 'Shipyard' functionality (which will be explored in greater detail later) that allows players to customize the contents of any ship hull, buildable by their race. Want a Titan-class ship with only fight bays on it, or a Corvette-class that has all of its weapons on one side, for powerful broadside attacks? Just make sure you have the power plants to drive it all.
Is StarDrive the 4X game you have been waiting for, or does it exhaust, exasperate, and excoriate, execrably? Read on to find out.