Having covered Master Of Orion and Master Of Orion previously, it’s now customary to say the following:
Master Of Orion 2 is widely considered one of the best 4X games ever made, and is a game I’ll play a round of at least once a year. A sequel, then, while perhaps not reaching the same lofty heights, is surely going to expand on what made its predecessor so enjoyable, or perhaps be a graphical rehaul of essentially the same game, right?
Hah! Hahaha. No.
This is Orion for people who think accounting is a hobby. It’s 4X for people whose favourite scene in Star Wars is the senate meeting at the start of The Phantom Menace. It’s space exploration for those who put Excel in their Games folder.
The game lurched so hard into nitty gritty economic micro-management, they could probably feel the shockwaves in Antares. If fiddling with percentage sliders and calculating budgets is your idea of a good time, well!… then you should still steer clear of Orion 3, because its clunky interface and shockingly cheap presentation make it a chore to navigate even if you do have the foggiest idea what you’re doing.
It’s alarming how it somehow manages to look more dated than Orion 2- a DOS game which came out seven years prior. The building sprites are all gone, the diplomacy screens are barren (lacking both the retrofuturistic audience chamber aesthetic and the unique musical theme for each race Orion 2 had), combat is a disaster of tiny tiny 3D models across a vast playing field so that your ships are barely a pixel wide. I’m scandalised.
Fin or Bin:
I had some Beebs-brand fun with it, declaring war on an opponent I had no chance against and then angrily demanding they make peace with me, before making a motion in the senate (composed only of myself and them) to denounce them.
They rejected my motion. Into the Bin it went.