Master Of Orion 3

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.


Master Of Orion (Original)

Master Of Orion 2 is widely hailed as one of the best 4X games of all time, and it still manages to hold up pretty well today. It’s one of those games I’ll go back to every year or so, and aside from Civ nothing else has really come close.

The original is bundled together with the Steam release of Orion 2, so I figured it’d be neat to see where the series started.

I definitely do not encourage anyone to start here, unfortunately. I’m sure at the time it was a pretty robust game (it at least sold well enough for a sequel, right?) but it has been improved upon immeasurably in the intervening years and sadly only holds interest any more as a historical piece.

Fin or Bin:

I didn’t get very far into it before Binning it, but I’m glad to have had a chance to see the predecessor to one of my favourite games of all time. You can’t buy one without the other regardless, so consider this post a hearty recommendation for Orion 2.


Master Of Orion (Reboot)


1996′s Master Of Orion 2 is still heralded as one of the finest 4X games ever made, and cetainly it’s one that I still find myself playing a game of every so often. This is a modern reboot of that series.

Right off the bat, it’s far more Civ 5 than the MoO I’m accustomed to. From the diplomacy menu to the scales of production units, everything’s gone a bit Sid Meier. Not a bad thing as Civ 5 is a fantastic 4X game, but I already own it and don’t need another Space Flavour version.

One thing I do not like at all is the change to exploration. In MoO2, you can visit any star in range of your engines- as you develop new technology, this range grows. In the reboot, you navigate by way of starlanes, which greatly restricts how you explore. It feels more like a galaxy-themed dungeon crawler this way and there’s a lot of nonsensical bottlenecks where two stars right next to each other aren’t connected directly but by a convoluted chain of starlanes. It’s very restricting in a game about the expanses of space.

Fin or Bin:

It’s a shame the humans went from Space Richard O’Brien to Generic White Space Man, but my race was always the Klackons and they look REAL cool now. It’s got all the same one-more-turn addictiveness as any good 4X game, but I’ll probably Finish this one game and then put it to bed.

Recommended To:

People have said its relative simplicity lends it well to 4X newbies. I strongly disagree- the tutorial is horrendously bad and it left me more confused than I would have been if I’d just started playing. If you’re familiar with Civ, there’s enough bleed-through that you might enjoy this too.