June 14, 2012

Cosmic Wars - Ranking

Story & World

I like the fact that in addition to the regular nebulae and asteroid fields one would expect in space, there are also vast regions consisting of crystals of all different shapes and sizes.  Ships can enter and get a defense bonus from this at a cost of movement.  I always envision this loss of movement is due to the pilots tripping balls over being in the midst of, what must be, a celestial-scaled version of a Pink Floyd concert.  A wafer-thin story at the beginning as to what causes the war is still better than nothing.

The single sliver of interaction occasionally comes during the hiring process of the game.  Most of the time, a hiring request gets at least three applicants.  There is no interaction here as the captain is just chosen from a list.  Occasionally, though, the hiring results in a message saying that you are being ignored and end up having no candidates to choose from.  Ignoring is sorta an interaction, I guess?  1/20

Character Development

Fleet captains gain experience for successful attacks and gain a rank level (e.g. Rank C becomes Rank B) in addition to random increases of a single point in any of the four attributes.  Valuable in the long run as ships can be traded between fleets.  This enables them to reinforce which is crucial in the causality-heavy wars of the cosmos.  As for the stats themselves, they consist of the suit symbols from regular playing cards.  There's nothing in-game telling what the differences are but I went with the assumption that clubs increased offense and mainly hired according to that.

Each weapon system, regardless of type, comes with four ammos.  These can be replenished at certain points on the map (starbase terrain or being next to a controlled planet) or by a ammo ship.  3/20

Combat & Monsters

The terrain types are well implemented for space and mimic the terrestrial terrains found in similar games.  Many terrains slow down ships and the rate of how much they slow depends on the ship type.  Small ships like the Vic Viper can rip through asteroid fields with no penalty while larger ships might have their (already low) movement cut up to half.  Proper management of fleet movement, both in combat and between solar systems, becomes the most vital strategic component (mostly due to the lax strong/weak system previously mentioned).

Lots of different unit types to play with.  About half the ship types have an additional slightly souped-up version with a corresponding increase in cost.  Every ship has a weakness to a certain type of weapon, of which there are three types and one of those is only on a few ship designs.  Since most ships carry two different weapon systems, this means that they will usually have the proper weapon to do maximum damage.  This is a negative in my books, as I prefer the more rigid strong and weak system as found in Famicom Wars.  Under the Cosmic Wars system, it makes less of a difference as to which ship you send to engage another.  10/20

Graphics & Sound

Good contrast between the two nations; units are different in colour and in depiction.  Terrain tiles are all very distinctive as well.  Battle animations show some nicely detailed ships duking it out although each side's ships have a sameness about them (which actually makes sense for a star fleet).  The main tune that plays definitely is kickin' but it sounds like it'd be more appropriate for a platformer.  Space needs slow and plodding music with a touch of scariness.  12/20

Gameplay

Capturing planets is the only means in which to gather more resources.  To add a little more depth, captured planets are able to have money sunk into them which increases their resource output as well as raising their defenses.  Ship prices and usage are varied enough to facilitate critical thinking in fleet composition.  In the early game, after spending the initial wad of cash, it becomes difficult to create full 16 ship fleets (at least with ships worth a damn).  The random events that affect money are too overpowered, too frequent and just disrupts the entire game.  The other random events were fine.

Controls were thankfully good as on the bigger maps, there will be many fleets, consisting of up to 16 ships, going at least three times per turn (up to six if an enemy is present).

Takes a hit for no campaign mode (at least let us carry over a captain or two).  When the initial fleets butt heads, it is a dramatically good battle with both sides losing most of their forces.  Fairly soon, though, one side starts to massively outproduce the other and then it becomes a slaughterspace.  The mopping up phase ends taking up the majority of the time.  The computer needs to learn how to get his flagship (with the experience-laden captain) out of the solar system after a massive battle and get reinforced.  9/20

Final Ranking:  35/100