Star Conflict is a Space Combat MMO, published by Gaijin Entertainment, who have a fair few string of popular titles under their belt. Focusing on combat elements, rather than exploration and other traditional MMO aspects. Star Conflict boasts action-packed interplanetary skirmishes, extensive customization and beautiful graphics, all packaged up in a free-to-play title.
Aesthetics - 8/10
Star Conflict is surprising in many ways, graphically it’s stunning, rivalling some AAA titles on the market today. It’s beautifully textured, environments have been creatively designed, not to mention the ships also. But the quality of this, all in a free-to-play title, is second to none.
Everything has been carefully created here, shooting your weapons and blowing enemy ships into smithereens, causing a Star Wars-esque explosion is incredibly satisfying. Even just watching your ship trundle along through the environments is a great moment.
Its roster of ships is where Star Conflict's creativity is shown. Just by looking at the ships, you can tell they are influenced by present aircraft and not just to look as “futuristic” as possible.
Star Conflict features a pretty good score of music and sounds. Firing your weapons and boosting your ship sound as they should, and as mentioned before, blowing up enemy ships comes with an incredibly satisfying explosion, that I’m sure will please the ears.
The UI within the game is easy to navigate and is self-explanatory, as it should be. Within the hangar, buttons are lined at the top of the screen each with their own appropriate title, detailing simplistically what each window is.
As the main focus of the game is its combat, the in-combat UI shouldn’t distract from the immersion, in Star Conflicts case, it definitely doesn’t. Basics such as weapons, modules, shield and your ship’s hull are detailed in a form much like EVE Online towards the bottom of the screen, with a small chat box for communication within the team at the top. Leaving a huge amount of space for the game itself.
Gameplay - 8/10
Space focused MMOs are unique. EVE Online is the dominant force within this and rightly so. It’s the only MMO to get it right. But Star Conflict shouldn’t be compared to EVE, it doesn’t have exploration features or extensive progression mechanics that EVE does. Star Conflict is combat oriented, matchmaking focused and competitive in its own right.
The combat is intuitive and customizable, controlling your ship and aiming is bound to the mouse and keyboard, providing a shoot ‘em up experience. Ship customization allows you to play within different styles and character “implants” (SCs version of talents) allow overall progression for your character. In addition to this, upon creating your character, the player is presented with a choice of three factions. Each faction has its own different bonuses that compliment combat or loot gain.
Although the choice of faction decides upon which you align with and what bonuses you attain, you’re able to buy ships from the other factions as well. Ships are also unlocked every time the player also reaches a rank milestone, opening up the option for a number of ships to be bought for currency earned within the game. Currently there are also three available ship slots within the hangar, with a fourth made available if bought with enough Galactic Standards (Star Conflicts paid for currency), Although each ship can be changed in its own slot.
A variety of combat situations are also present in the game. A practice mode is available for those who just want to get to grips with the game. Arcade mode pits players against one another in huge space battles. Scenarios put the player into different situations, often taking down sizeable space cruisers and the like. The game modes offer a good amount of variety, even taking influence from MOBAs giving the player bonuses on their first win of the day, and ships having little stat differences, characterized by their different modules.
In addition to the basic matchmaking modes, contracts are also made available. Contracts offer other goals to work towards, depending on the faction you sign these contracts with. There are six different factions that you can sign contracts with, but only three can be active at any time. On completion of the contracts your reputation with the faction you have signed the contract with is then increased. An achievement system is also present, which again, gives more goals to work towards to boost your profile within Star Conflict.
The warehouse in-game, much like EVEs player built economy, offers a variety of weapons, modules and upgrades, when available, for various different prices. It’s a handy thing to have just lying on the ‘lobby’ screen, enabling the player to upgrade their ships just before heading into battle.
Corporations are a mainstay in Star Conflict. This more or less constitutes as the ‘endgame’ for SC. Joining a Corporation enters you into a group of players, much like a guild. When in a Corporation you’ll gain access to the competitive portion of Star Conflict. Leaderboards are present and are established through groups of PvP, PvE rating and the amount of players killed. It’s also a great way to get further involved within the community and gives the opportunity for hardcore players to surface in SC.
As mentioned before, paid-for currency is present in-game. From what I’ve seen in my time playing. There are a few ships to be bought with this currency, although not needed and are not pay-to-win either. You can also purchase, experience boosts, loyalty gain and guaranteed looting after battle with these. Not needed but this ties in with the comparison to MOBAs mentioned before. You’ll be able to earn the purchased currency through the game as well.
Innovation - 8/10
Innovation is a tricky subject around MMOs these days. Star Conflict manages to keep relatively fresh, compared to what we have available today. Being a space-action MMO is pretty unique in itself. The advent of features such as, implants, contracts and the achievement system freshen up the game, allowing for different goals to work towards. The combat is the games main feature, it’s been designed very well and the extensive ship customization allows for many different styles of play. The different game modes also offer some variety to the game.
The loot system is also quite interesting, giving the player the opportunity to reap the rewards after their matchmaking sessions. When a match has ended, a digital map of the surrounding area will come up and various ‘blips’ on the map will be available to select from. The player is able to pick from five of these, each with different loot, ranging from weapons to modules for your ships.
Polish - 7/10
Star Conflict is a very well-polished game. In terms of its graphics, they’re stunning. The gameplay is incredibly fast, frenetic and fluid. It plays brilliantly and all the systems have been designed very well.
The client itself seems a little bit buggy at times. I’ve had to re-download the game a couple times as it became corrupted during the launcher patching itself. Additionally to this I’ve also experienced a few crashes. Nothing too game breaking, but an annoyance.
Longevity - 8/10
The game is very much action focused, pulled together with various mechanics from different genres. The achievement and contract systems allow for individual goals to be set and worked towards. While the normal matchmaking modes give off an ample time-wasting feel.
With the different tiers of ships available at every rank milestone, it also gives the player the incentive to work towards these unlockables. Corporations also, open up the door to ‘hardcore’ and competitive players, competing against one another for top PvE and PvP leaderboard rankings. There’s definitely a fair amount of content to discover in Space Conflict, while for the most part the game revolves around matchmaking, you’ll be spending a lot of time working out your perfect ship customizations and implants.
Social - 8/10
Socially the Star Conflict has all the relevant features in place. During combat the player can communicate with your team, often helpful in rankings to gain the tactical advantage. Within the hangar you’re free to talk to whoever is logged in, more than often people are willing to help out and advice is regularly given.
Corporations also allow for the hardcore and competitive players to socialize amongst each other. Planning ranked matches, formations and strategies.
Value - 9/10
Star Conflict has some incredible value for a free-to-play title. Obviously with most MMOs that take this business model, real-money-transactions would be present for the publisher to make their money. Within Star Conflict these items bought with your own money only boil down to experience boosts, loyalty gains and the odd ship here and there.
The gameplay provided is fast-paced and incredibly fun. Various different game modes offer a good amount of variety and the extensive ship customization allows the player to try different styles of play.
Star Conflict is an excellent competitive space combat MMO. Offering a variety of different game modes and competitive play, gives the game a good amount of depth. The extensive ship customization and its combat is where Star Conflict shines. Bundle this all with AAA graphics providing beautifully crafted and detailed environments, you’ve got yourself a brilliant competitive action-shooter.