Impressions: Star Lords/Lords of the Black Sun

Star Lords is pretty epic in scope given what’s already implemented. What they’ve got right now is pretty awesome and kind of overwhelming. I’ve seen some reviews that tell you to wait until they get into the beta phase. Let me tell you why you should jump on the boat now and support them into the beta phase and beyond.

I don't think I've imprisoned or extradited one person yet in this Star Lords.

I don’t think I’ve imprisoned or extradited one person yet in Star Lords.

The one thing that stands out the most is the lag. However, I honestly hadn’t created a system with less than eight AIs, in a large universe, with the most stars (planets included), and almost the shortest distance between the stars before the latest patch. Given that, that may be the reason for the lag. I have no doubt that this will probably be worked out later in development, and I still find Star Lords playable. I bring this up specifically because there are reviews stating that you shouldn’t pick Star Lords because of this.

Recently there was an update that helped with the lag while typing names of ships and such. The lag still exists when playing in an eight player game with a large-scale of stuff going on, but the smaller game seems to be improved dramatically. When you pick it up, you can play with eight AI’s in the small to average size universe with a ton of stars and planets without lag. I still had some issues with typing names of new ships and my saved games. Like I said above, this should be fixed, and it doesn’t hamper gameplay in small universes. My goodness though, the amount of activity when you shove eight different races with pirates into such a small area, it’s crazy!

Seriously though, when was the last time you looked at a tech tree that didn't have a line of things you looked at and knew you could ignore. I didn't find that in Star Lords. I wanted everything so I had to prioritize and that was tough for me.

Seriously though, when was the last time you looked at a tech tree that didn’t have a line of things you looked at and knew you could ignore. I didn’t find that in Star Lords. I wanted everything so I had to prioritize and that was tough for me.

The tech tree is the next thing that sticks in my mind. It’s incredible other than I just want to be able to zoom out. It’s workable as it is, but I have sighed almost every single time I’ve looked at the tech tree. I just want to see the whole picture at once, is that too much to ask? (For right now, I’ll have to settle with yes.) The other problem with the tech tree is that I just want everything right now and I can’t have it. That’s not a problem with the game design though, but rather a fault with my patience. They did a great job making all of the perks in the tech tree desirable. Usually there’s a branch in tech trees that you can just ignore, but I want absolutely everything. This leads me to building metric tons of Research Facilities to cut the time spent getting these perks more than in half.

The combat is pretty interesting as well. It’s tactic-esque where you move your ships around a tiled board like traditional setups. Your ships have to actually be facing the enemy crafts to be able to fire. With a traditional ground-based tactical game you have different terrain to move around spatially whereas in space, so far it’s all up in the open on a single plain. I think later they should add stationary moons for cover or comets that shoot through the board to add a bit of flavor as it can feel a little stale right now.

I go around my known universe taking over every one of the Rasmuth's planets and winning every fight we have and they want me to give them a planet with the peace treaty!? Are these guys for real!?

I go around my known universe taking over every one of the Rasmuth’s planets and winning every fight we have and they want me to give them a planet with the peace treaty!? Are these guys for real!?

There’s a lot more to consider when you’re busy gallivanting across the cosmos. Some planets are inhospitable until you’ve done your research while some are available to live on, but with limited room due to the planet’s size. You also can’t just go around planting factories without ruining the planet and hurting the happiness of the populace. It’s all very well spelled out though and there’s not much guess-work. If you start to build to much of something the game straight tells you that you’re being a planet killer. You can still do it, but it’s not usually advised if you want more people (to tax and milk for money).

Victory can be achieved in a few fashions. There’s the allied victory (which works I guess), victory through research (which I’m guessing is just researching everything?) and my personal favorite: victory through conquest! The allied victory could work, but the AI, the random events, and the way the other factions (even non-pirates) talk to you as if you’re a threat or just less than them bothers me. It makes sense given that you just met, but do they have to be so rude about it? You’ve got the Rasmuth race who always picks on me, so now I make it my personal mission to just kill them every time. Or there’s my personal favorite of beating someone into submission and then offer them a peace treaty for some money and then just hang around their last planet until the time limit is up and finish them off. (Whatever, you know you’ll do that now too now that it’s been brought to your attention that you can make money off of the defeated.)

Final Decision:

Edit this mother!

I know that you can’t play it like a full retail game yet with all the options, but it is Early Access. You’ve got to expect not to have everything up front. You would, however, be surprised how vast a “small” universe can be. The combat works. The research and aesthetics of the universe works very. While I wouldn’t know what the hard settings are like, easy AI is fun. It’s a good space conquest game who’s genre I haven’t seen much of or enjoyed in a long while. It’s not super fast paced with its turn based gameplay and that creates a nice relaxing if not stressful at times game. It gets me to log on and then play longer than expected. Star Lords is good stuff even if the AI says mean things to me.

Jonathan Amarelo Sig


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