Sid Meier's Starships Review
Sid Meier's Starships Box Art
System: PC
Dev: Firaxis Games
Pub: 2K Games
Release: March 12, 2015
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p

The most antiquated aspects of Sid Meier's Starships comes from the artistic side of the spectrum. Neither the character models nor the tableau shots are pleasing or detailed. They feel more like first drafts or concept art rather than finished pieces. Ships move smoothly through space, and purchased upgrades are visually showcased. However, the overall animation through combat is rather listless, and explosions are downright anticlimactic. The interface is tightly laid out and easy to navigate, but is dominated by blue hues with tinges of reds and green - the expected palette of a spacefaring game.

Sid Meier's Starships Screenshot

The musical score is also uninspired, following the tired science fiction archetype we've all heard plenty of times before. Even the sound effects feel cheap. I shouldn't be laughing at the shrieks my pilots make when their ships are blown up, and yet here I am shaking my head and giggling at the absurdity of the sound and poor quality of the effect. Still, the orchestrations do set the atmosphere and adjust depending on the mood of the situation without being too obtrusive.

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Slimming down a typically convoluted Sid Meier's strategy game into a more time manageable endeavor for the player is a solid blueprint. Sid Meier's Starships provides a great baseline, but the working draft art, underwhelming sound effects and animation, and unbalanced gameplay keep this title from ever thrusting off the launch pad. It's a fun game that can be a challenge, but requires you to do most of the leg work to make it fun and challenging.

By
Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: March 12, 2015

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.0
Graphics
The freehand drawings are plausible as concept art, but need more polish for the final product. The starships look and move nicely, but other animations are a bit flaccid.
4.2
Control
Tight and responsive mouse controls and an easy to navigate interface. The camera handily centers itself in combat after manually surveying the battlefield.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Clichéd orchestration and weak sound effects limit the effectiveness of audio to invoke much emotion. It's passable, but forgettable.
3.6
Play Value
The pace is a welcome relief from other Sid Meier games, and the ship customization is simple yet multifaceted. However, the game has severe tactical balance issues, and is lacking any multiplayer component.
3.4
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Encounter unique tactical challenges in every mission, with dynamically generated maps, victory conditions and foes;
  • Develop customizable armadas for tactical plans with modular spaceship design;
  • Expand Federation influence by coming to the aid of each planets citizens, using their unique abilities to enhance player fleets and hinder opponents, as well as building improvements on worlds to increase capabilities and resources;
  • Lead a fleet to distant worlds and help civilizations defeat pirates, protect colony ships, destroy rogue AI and more;
  • Declare victory by conquering threats to the galaxy, uniting a plurality of worlds through a Federation or leading constituents to push scientific frontiers.

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