Okay, there have been a lot of negative reviews for this game and a LOT of negative feedback that I personally find unhelpful. So, I'll try to post a few things that you should know about this game. When you take these things into consideration, I believe you will understand why I still support this game, and why I justify recommending it.
UPDATE: now that beta has been released I will focus a lot more on how the game is in its current state, as opposed to how it could be. Potential is something that I think is valid in a review, but a lot of you have asked for more current thoughts and I'm willing to oblige. [IMPORTANT] If you just want my honest advice in a few short sentences, please scroll to the bottom of the review. It will be summarized very nicely there, as well as bold, italicized, and underlined, much like this portion.
So I'll start with the negatives, as I'd like to end on a positive note. After all, redemption and restoration is what we should be striving for and looking forward to instead of the depression and negative thoughts. So, bad things about the game. As hard as it is, I'll try to be brief.
-Progress is slow. Not as slow as it used to be, but slow. If you're looking for weekly updates, look somewhere else. As it stands, they have roughly monthly updates.
-The content is still a little bit lacking. The developers had a goal from the beginning with their IGG campaign. I won't go into the details, but if you Google image search "StarForge stretch goals" you can see some of what their ideas were for the game. And they haven't quite made it there yet.
-Public relations are... sketchy at best. It is hard to defend this game, especially against volatile people who feel as if they have been cheated. The developers don't do much talking, though Will has made a lot more posts as of late. RightClick, while very vocal, just is not as official as hearing from an official developer. Especially with all the controversy surrounding his entry as Community Manager (which, while I think is ridiculous, should at least be mentioned).
-The game, while it has a lot of content, is simply not gripping at the moment. As we came into the beta, I've found that the world is just a little bit more fun to explore, and has a lot more in terms of content. In my previous review, I said that the game could be explored in under an hour. This is no longer true, but I shifted this point so that I can say that I'm no longer motivated to play for an hour.
-The game is buggy and pretty slow. Yeah, I won't waste many words on this. However, since they now have 64bit support, I'm excited to see how much this improves. And yeah, with every update optimization improves a little bit. It's just not huge enough to make me care. ;)
One thing that I would like to mention, and it probably warrants going in the negative section is this: this game is not guaranteed to reach a completed state, and as I understand things you are not guaranteed your money back. Well, perhaps if you bought it through Steam, but if you supported it on IGG as I did, then it counted only as a pledge, not so much an investment as a donation. A lot of people feel that they were cheated out of their money, and while on Steam that might be true, the IGG backers have no reason to claim that. Unfortunate, yes. Cheated, no. I just thought I should clarify that.
Now those were some of the most prominent negatives, though I'm sure many of my friends can (and will) expand on my points in wonderful detail. I'm all for increasing discussion, but if you enter here please stay respectful. I will now go onto the positives, many of which expand off the negatives. And that's where I find the redemptive aspect of this game: I look at the negatives, and I see where they CAN improve, and I see where they HAVE improved. I see progress in this game where not many people do. So, here's what I found to be positive about the game, as well as redemptive of the negatives:
-The concept is amazing. Like, very amazing. This is my dream game as well as that of many other fellow nerds. If they can succeed, this game will have been worth every penny.
-The current level of content proves that they are working on the game, and can produce a finished product. I'm not sure what that finished product will look like, but they can definitely make one. Also, from the looks of it, as the team gains more experience working on the game, updates are coming out a lot faster, as well as having much more content in them.
-The PR that I mentioned earlier, while still sketchy at best, is definitely improving. At least from what I've seen (although I'm sure many others have had varying experience) Right Click is doing a good job at increasing communication to us, the players. I've talked personally with him and I am assured that he does have the best interests of the community in his heart.
-Progress is very steady. With the exception of the update that led us into beta (which took two months instead of one), the devs have released a large monthly update without fail since around the time that RightClick stepped into position. Every month. And the updates are actually very nicely sized for their timing. It's not an overwhelming amount of content (like when Terraria updates, lol) but it's also not miniscule. I think it's just right.
This paragraph was originally about 64bit support. Now that it's here.... yay! I'm quite glad, and though it remains to be seen, I believe that the game will be moving along faster, enjoy greater amounts of content with each update, and generally improve greatly. Especially for optimization, as computers can now allocate much more RAM than when it was in 32bits.IMPORTANT BIT HERE
I have one last thing to say about this review. Quite a few people have offered concern that this review is about a dream for the game, and not the game itself. While I've changed the body of the review to accommodate that more, I believe that in Early Access especially we can't do much except hope for the game. And I don't believe that hope is unfounded, or uneducated. So while your concerns are entirely valid, I'm not sure you got the point of the review. All the same, I thank you for reading and I hope that you offer your advice/opinions regardless.So here's my honest advice about this game, if you're on the line about buying it or not: Wait. Watch. Listen. Do your own research, and wait a few months to see if they can prove that they can do what they claim they can. And in the meantime, feel free to join our little community. It gets lonely up there sometimes, and we're always happy to have you.http://www.forgeforums.com/
Those are the online forums, which I have found to be much more helpful and friendly than the Steam forums. Visit us there. You don't even need to own the game, and it's a great way to monitor the status of the game while getting to know some really great people. My name and avatar are the same on there as they are on here, so tell me that you read this and gimme a "hey". Don't be shy. And that is my review of the game, such as it is. Please leave your comments below, and leave them civilly if you will.