A nice space shooter, a (somewhat) fair, but grindy game.Unfortunately there's no "maybe" rating for this review. The game definitely isn't something for everyone. It's possible to have fun with it, but at times its really just boring.
At first the game might look like a perfect "pay to win" candidate, considering there are several DLC packs available unlocking ships for you. However, that's not really the case.
All ships available as part of DLC offers or to be bought with real world currency are more or less sidegrades or shortcuts. The most powerful ships however, can only be unlocked by playing the game. That's very nice and fair. And here's the catch:
Unfortunately, you can describe the game with three words: ONE HUGE GRINDFEST
. And to be honest, that's sad, very sad, and also the reason why I can't really recommend this game without warning about this.
Let me explain the game in a few sentences:
You start out with the factions' basic ships. To obtain bigger ships, you'll have to earn "sync" points. With these you're able to level up ships. Once you've leveled a ship, you'll be able to unlock the next ship in the tech tree that's usually a small upgrade or a new ship fitting a different role.
In addition, you're able to upgrade parts of the ships or more specific modules that are installed on them: a primary weapon system (turrets), secondary weapon systems (typically missiles), a ship specific special ability (not upgradeable), and two support abilities. The problem: Upgrades won't transfer between tiers.
So game progress looks like this:
- Obtain a new ship.
- Invest (ingame) money, mission rewards (or real money) to level up the ship modules.
- Level up the ship to improve its power and unlock the next ship.
- Obtain a new ship and start over again.
And that's it, unfortunately. I guess I don't have to say that leveling the ships appears to take ages. While it's perfectly fine to not "finish" the progression part of the game within a week, it's really slow and tedious. Add to this the fact that the game's population isn't that high (typically 1000-3000 players online right now according to stats in the game), it happens that you'll have to wait one or two minutes to finally get into a PvE game. Queue times for PvP are usually slightly longer (sometimes 5 minutes or more).
And here's another problem: Due to the low population (and a very limited number of PvE missions), you're usually fighting with or against significantly stronger enemies. It's not uncommon to die within seconds versus a sniping frigate that's simply out of range for you. Once you're dead, you'll either have to wait 30-60 seconds (seems to depend on game mode) or till the next stage of the mission (in PvE). In addition, most mission stages take only two or three minutes, but there's a full minute of wait time between stages.
"Fortunately" there are ways to progress faster: You can buy the classic "booster" to gain more points, but you're also able to buy different ammo that will double your synergy gain. The unfair part: The costs! The initial price of the ammo module is 2 Standarts. That's not a lot. However, once unlocked it no longer shows any price. Although the module will still take 2 Standarts for every round you're playing. You won't see this unless you're paying close attention. And some of the costs... To upgrade a weapon from level 2 to level 3 you'll need something like 30,000 units of mission rewards: You'll get about 600 per mission - or buy the upgrade with real money. Do the math yourself.
And one more thing to remember: This game can only be played using keyboard and mouse. There is no controller support (neither gamepad nor joysticks). Also there seems to be a significant amount of auto-aim involved or there are really just big hitboxes. It's definitely far easier to hit enemies as it is in other games of this genre.TL; DR: Star Conflict
is a nice space shooter with great graphics (especially for a free to play game) and good sound, but overall the whole game is just one huge grindfest, which is sad and lowers the overall gameplay experience a lot. If you don't mind not progressing for a while or really having to start over several times, give it a try. You might like it. But don't expect to win dogfights from the beginning or progress in one straight line.