View Full Version : Balanced Moo3 review

09-03-2003, 22:34:42
Well, since we all know message board suck, being the principal hold-out of trolls, flamers and various other malcontents with a grunge, I thought I'd turn to that old fountain of wisom, Usenet, too see if my horrified reaction to that monstrosity called "Moo3" is shared by the true masters of Fine Game Appreciation. What I found should be a object lesson to all aspiring review writers; note, particulalry, the careful balance and skilled judgement of the pros and cons:

"I'm not going to TAKE IT *ANYMORE*!!! The gasme companies toss us this SHITE and expect us to call it SHINOLA!!! I say we don't RETURN the game, I say we *BURN* it!!! *BURN* IT!!! And *BURN* the DEVELOPMENT COMPANY *TOO*!!! AND MAGNETIZE THE EARTH AROUND IT SO THAT NO SOFTWARE MAY BE *WRITTEN* THERE FOR THE NEXT *HUNDRED* *YEARS*!!!!!!

*BURN* *IT*!!!!!"

10-03-2003, 07:06:56
I'd say that opinion is better than objective. Wasting money on crummy games is no fun.

10-03-2003, 07:57:20
I'll make a note.

10-03-2003, 12:26:23
He almost convinced me to buy it

10-03-2003, 14:08:31
I would prefer to burn a hacked copy to CD and then set THAT on fire. Disappointing, but I can at least say I learned my preorder lesson from Civ3. In fact, preordering and getting less than I expected from Civ3 saved me 50 bucks I would have spent on a preorder for Moo3.:eek:

Resource Consumer
10-03-2003, 14:39:06
It is a nice feeling not to want to buy a game....

10-03-2003, 21:53:19
From the Gamespy postmortem...

"We are glad people are getting over the learning curve," Hoseley said. "Ideally we could have used two more years on the project to do it right, but that wasn't going to happen. In the end, I think we had a good game considering how it all started out."

11-03-2003, 00:27:32
Well, at least they're honest. "We set out on a five-year project, got cut down to three - and we think it's pretty good, considering."

Much as I hate it, I still think it's better than Firaxis' see-no-evil attempt back when Civ3 came out. Not that Civ3 isn't a much better game than Moo3.

11-03-2003, 01:13:30
Right so I should include more words in caps in my reviews. Gotcha.

11-03-2003, 01:15:06
Two more years? What the fuck were they trying to build? An aircraft carrier.

Resource Consumer
11-03-2003, 09:38:44
I think they had to discover a couple of new techs....

11-03-2003, 13:38:33
"(10 March 2003, 19:17 | MoO3) Master of Orion III has seen its steepest decline on The Adrenaline Vault`s "Top 10 Most Searched After Products" listing in recent memory during the week of March 2-8, 2003. The announcement was made today by AVault`s Brian Clair. Now in fourth position, it MoO3 was in first place last and second place two weeks ago."

Word's getting round.

Resource Consumer
11-03-2003, 13:54:59
We want a review...

12-03-2003, 09:15:03
A review? Here's a report on TechTV's:

(11 March 2003, 22:18 | MoO3) The most damning review of Master of Orion III by far to date is TechTV`s by the site`s Greg Daniels, and it`s unlikely to lose this distinction any time soon. Posted last Friday, the final rating awarded in this article was one 1/5 stars: a 20% equivalent. The spittle of disgust begins to fly in earnest from the outset:

Every copy of [MoO3] should come with a jumbo bottle of Excedrin. [..] [This game] has an interface designed by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. [..] Game developer Quicksilver [Software] should be praised for its good intentions, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with, don`t we?

Daniels proceeds to describe the game`s artificial intelligence is counter-intuitive, and economic and influence factors where the player is simply not a part of the final equation. Advancements in technology are handled no better, he adds, and it`s hard to figure out what to do with any of them. Elsewhere, he writes: that [t]he shipbuilding interface works fine when you`re creating new designs, but you`re out of luck when you want to upgrade an existing fleet. [..] Worse yet, altering an existing design is a nightmare.

After lashing out against combat briefly but poignantly, Daniels deals the final blows to the bruised and battered successor to Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares. First, [i]f there`s a game worth playing in M[o]O3, it`s not worth the time or effort to find it, and second: [m]asochists, you`re on your own.

12-03-2003, 09:17:51
Or perhaps SubZero's will do?

(11 March 2003, 19:01 | MoO3) A two-page review of Master of Orion III by "RobertRence" for System Zero has been published. No screenshots are included. The article begins:

I was enamored with the game. Games could last from days to a few hours, and it was good. And itís right there where M[o]O3 screws up. There is no guidance. The manual is nice for backstory, but not much else. And the Encyclopedia is useful for seeing what different technologies do, but completely useless when it comes to finding info on any of the planetary specials.

The game`s documentation is just the beginning of "RobertRence"`s gripes. The stupid, stupid military is discussed next, and then [m]anaging planets is best to leave to the gameís AI. Thatís not because it actually does a decent job of manufacturing anything, but because trying to keep track of all of your systems a hundred turns into the game becomes damn near impossible. The hit list continues onto diplomacy that, in "RobertRence"`s assessment, seems to be used more as a way to give their people something to hate, and while thatís used well enough today, it seems useless in the game itself.

Positive points are given to MoO3`s research methods and star routes. But in the end, Iíve yet to finish a game. Well, I did finish one game, when another culture became President of the Senate. [..] I donít like the idea of losing over an event that I have no control over. [..] Since then, Iíve stopped playing with ďBecome President of the Orion SenateĒ as a victory option. In conclusion:

The game continues to be a struggle to keep interested in playing. I keep clicking the next turn button hoping that Iíll figure out what exactly it is that Iím missing that is preventing the game from being fun. Iíd like to say that the reason the game sucks is me, because I just canít figure it out. But there are too many flaws, and too many things that I see that could have been improved.

SZ gives games it reviews a letter as opposed to what may be considered a standard numercial score; in MoO3`s case, it`s a "D". Individual categories are given values in numbers, however: only `Sound` passed with a 3/5 at that. `Graphics, `Gameplay` and `Value` each received only 2/5.

Resource Consumer
12-03-2003, 09:45:35
This game sounds so bad that it could be a work of genius

12-03-2003, 10:24:30
Was JKM in charge of the Q.A or something?:)

Resource Consumer
12-03-2003, 10:26:56
I think this is so good even JKM could not have done it. Interestingly, the game seems to be so badly designed that nobody notices any bugs. They are all features, I suppose.

12-03-2003, 11:46:45
MOO3 must have the best community ever.

Resource Consumer
12-03-2003, 11:52:58
All that feature bonding experience...

12-03-2003, 12:26:01
We should try to become the first greek MOO3 site west of the pecos

12-03-2003, 23:26:50
We'll need a resident Greek.

But seriously, I dont see it as being as bad as some make out. Some of the examples sited by the reviewers show they are less than knowledgable of what they speak. The altering an existing design comment, for instance. Typical play it for a few hours then write a review.

I look forward to the patch(es). I happen to think there may be a great game hidden in there. If only it could have jumped out of the box that way.

13-03-2003, 04:10:03
I have finally, finally, found a fun setting. It wasn't easy... small cluster, 3 other races, long and few star paths. (At least, it seems so. I'll let you know in a few games.)

There is some fun. But it is damn hard to get to. Too much tedium, and too much crappy interface.

Upgrading a design sucks. You can do it. But so far, I've found it better to just start from scratch.

This game really suffers badly from bad interface. If the interface was better, I'd put up with all the tedium. But there really isn't a reason for any of that, NYE.

So far I haven't found many things I recognize as bugs. Maybe I'm just blind, or presumed they were the same crap as the rest?

I don't know what patches are going to bring to this game. What's the word on that, NYE?

13-03-2003, 05:02:46
I think they have said that a patch is in the works, but don't expect it anytime soon.

I agree the fun is hard to get to, now. The AI is crippled, so unless you find fun in SimSpaceEmpire with only the odd incursion by the AI, it won't be much fun, yet. I've heard that can be modded though. I don't usually mod. I just plunk along and wait for patches. In the meantime, the Empire side of it is very complex and sort of interesting.

I agree it is more effecient to hit 'Auto-design', or what ever it is and have a totally new ship brought up with all the latest goodies, but how hard is it to select the Scout, pick engines, and install the latest drives to make it faster. Then type in 'Scout 2' under name and hit 'Accept Design'?

13-03-2003, 05:14:09
What is so bad about the interface?

I can think of some extra screens that would be nice, like an intermediary screen between the map and the planet list based on systems. If it could cycle through the systems and show more detail on each planet within systems on a system by system basis, I would be very happy.

OTOH, I agree. There are some blinding errors. Some of the main sub screens lack an exit button to go back to the map, while others have that. Escape comes in handy, but it shouldn't have to for the Mousers among us.

Another is the planet details screen. If you go to a planet from the planet summary screen, you have arrows to allow you to go from planet to planet to planet. great. Go to the same screen from the Sit Rep and the arrows are missing, so you cannot easily check on other planets in a system before making a change.

I've seen it proposed that some of these shortcomings are related to intentional design to make the game MP friendly. I can see that. Don't want too much detail at any given point to distract the player. After all, the AI is supposed to be competent, right? Not good for SP. Nope, not at all.

13-03-2003, 06:32:38
Hopefully Warlords 4 won't bomb like this IF they ever get that game out.

13-03-2003, 06:41:32
See? Always trust Centauri... :D

The reason you do not have arrows on the planet screen coming in from SitRep is that the planet is a list of one. Notice that when you are on the Planets list and have it filtered, and the go into a particular planet on it, that you have arrows. Note those arrows walk you through the Planet list as it is sorted. What does that behave like? A database recordset.

If it wasn't for the user interface, more people would like this game.

Remember when MoO2 came out, the AI cheated like no tomorrow, AIR. They had to release a patch to crank that down. Lesson from the past. Have a whimp AI.

I personally hate the Star Lanes thing. I hated the long warp points in MoO2. They were put in so you could have contact with other races sooner (read: So you could steal from them, or human trade them to death). And the way they are in MoO3? URG! Horrid. I want an option to turn them off, completely. I'd leave with it taking 12 turns to get to the nearest star. If they were going to go Star Lanes, however, they should have gone full star lanes ONLY. Make it easy for the AI that way.

The fact that you cannot just reform tasks forces... that is a left over from the Emporer with only 5 minutes per turn. That makes it a real bitch.

The fact you cannot PAUSE the ship Combat. That sucks. There is a case for no pause in MP, but when there is only one human in the game? Pause all you want. That one addition would really improve the Ship Combat section.

Getting a competent AI is not difficult in the setting of MoO3. If they'd send me the source code, I'd prove it. They can easily tune the game AI up though. I suspect they were concentrating on other things.

I haven't noticed that Diplomacy matters any in MoO3. But it may be a matter that it is so subtle, it takes a great deal of game months to understand the actual effects. If so, I doubt I'll make get the time in.