Starpoint Gemini: Warlords is simultaneously good fun, yet a hulking disaster of space-age proportions. It’s with great sadness that I’ve come to this conclusion, as it looked to be a promising title with a heap of top-notch ideas to freshen up the space genre. Let’s take a look at what Starpoint Gemini: Warlords does well, and what’s not so polished.
Firstly, I’d like to say kudos to the developers for creating a fresh-looking UI. The UI seems to be a bit of an afterthought in many games today – so it’s nice to see that Little Green Men Games have put in the effort to create a genre-appropriate interface. It’s clean and fits the theme well, but most importantly it’s functional. Starpoint Gemini: Warlords also comes with a wide variety of menu options including deep graphical tweaks.
Starpoint Gemini: Warlords was such a promising title, that hoped to undo the clunky and lacklustre admissions of the series’ past. Unfortunately, the biggest issue with this new release, is the directional confusion. The game sells itself as an open-world, exploration, 4X, RPG. A game like that sounds phenomenal, and could have been a big hit, but in Starpoint Gemini: Warlords, the player is often left wanting more from many areas of the game.
The RPG levelling and character system needs fleshing-out, whilst the 4X element feels very basic and bare bones. Despite this, a range of character classes provides a variety of play-styles; which in turn offers up more replay value than at first glance.
Being part RPG, Starpoint Gemini: Warlords boasts a dialogue system that confers bonuses or crutches on the player depending on which answer they choose. This is a successful and immersive system that is seen in successful titles such as the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series respectively. In Starpoint however, the dialogue is not spoken. This leaves the player to read through reams of text – often in large quantities. This breaks the immersion in the world and the story, as it feels a little too much like hard work.
The voice acting is pretty terrible in places – with cheesy dialogue that will make you cringe at the thought of another cliché appearing any moment. Sadly, the game sounds can be a little dull in places too, with cheap-sounding explosions and cutscenes often devoid of sounds all together. Camera control in cutscenes is also terrible, not to mention how clunky it feels in-game; making fast space combat feel chaotic (and not in a good way).
With the graphics of Starpoint Gemini: Warlords looking a tad sad and stuttery at times, this all draws towards the conclusion that the game was somewhat rushed. Of course it could be that the developers were stretched thin with the amount of content they tried to pack into the game.
My final issue with Starpoint Gemini: Warlords, is the fact that there is a distinct lack of keyboard and mouse support, despite it being a PC only title. Considering this is the primary method of input for a PC, having inadequate controls here is very poor. Space flight feels like a chore, whilst some abilities can only be accessed by on-screen buttons and not through hotkeys.
Despite the drawbacks of Starpoint Gemini: Warlords, I like the fact that they’ve included a Mount & Blade style system of territorial conquest. Once you capture an area of galaxy for your faction, the competing forces will attempt to take it from you – this adds to a sense of strategy and gives the player a purpose in the game; one of galactic conqueror and enforcer.
The soundtrack is reminiscent of the Halo 2 theme though, which scores major brownie points for me – love that Steve Vai guitar wail. Despite the epicness of that soundtrack though, I’m afraid Starpoint Gemini: Warlords is just not polished; or even finished enough for it to be worth the £26.99 price tag.
At £26.99 on Steam, this new release is perhaps not quite up to standard if you’re going to sink a considerable amount of money into it. There is a tonne of content and huge replayability, although I challenge anyone to get anywhere near completing the story’s boring and cliché plotline.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
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