I recommend this game, but am not exactly jumping out of my socks to.
Distand Worlds: Universe takes the 4X "conquer the galaxy" genre and weaves it into a large-scale RTS game.
How could this even work? In most RTS games, you might get to a point of managing a large empire with 40 colonies or much more, and can devolve into a sadistic routine of micro-management.
To sovle this, the game puts a lot of emphasis on automation. Letting the AI run things for you.
This works and fails at the same time.
Where is works:
-you can tweak what you want to manage yourself vs. what the AI manages
How it fails:
-the AI is stupid, it needs too much hand-holding, fights against your decisions, all the time, leading to micromanagement of the AI
-the AI will auto-design ships and not make them the best they can be.
-the AI will put ships into a fleets and strike groups and send it out to the middle of nowhere for no reason
-when you override AI control of fleets, ships, strike groups, the AI will re-override with it's own inferior decision making capability
-During a war, you might have 500 ships and the enemy is attacking ONE system. Rather than defend, the AI will send all your ships to patrol your other systems. This leads to constant fighting with the AI where you order your ships to defend the system, they get there, then the AI overrides and sends them away. I'm not joking, even AFTER YOU DISABLE the AI capability, this happens.
-To disable AI, you can set it up where it doesn't form fleets when you build ships, rather, you can do it manually. Or if the AI forms groups, you can go in to each group separately and disable AI command. THIS IS WAY TOO CUMBERSOME, because of the poor interface, is poorly organized, and extremely glitchy/blippy, and sloooooow. Extremely rough and skiddish at best.
Where as in other games, you can pull up a list of all your ships and fleets and issue orders, settings, global settings, this game let's you pull up the ships, but you have to exit the list to focus on the ship/fleet you select, and then work on issuing commands. Then you have to go back and pull up the list again, scroll through the list looking for it, it's soooo incredibly poorly organized and slow, and then wash, rinse, repeat. Total fail.
It's almost best that you form your own 5 kick-butt fleets, that you always will control, and let the AI handle everything else. Even in this scenario, everything will fall apart into disarray when a big war breaks out.
Graphically, the game looks okay, but the weapon effects and ship designs mostly looks like something out of an ♥♥♥♥.
I don't mind lacking graphics.
What I DO MIND, is old, simple graphics that run like crap.
This game's graphics would have been appropriate for something 20 years ago.
The ships are just 2D static pictures.
No flashing lights or effects or anything.
*Just a .jpg that flies around and shoots other .jpgs at other .jpgs.*
So why does this run so bad? I fault the developer, bad programming, that sort of thing.
Has nothing to do with your system when you can easily play a Total War game with thousands of soldiers rendered in full 3D bashing each other over the head, but this game struggles with hundreds of flat 2D pictures moving on the screen. It's like they used a cheap game maker engine from the 90s that wasn't designed to handle so many moving pictures.
Diplomacy is a fair attempt to do something more than throw money at the other side for peace or something.
But the poor game performance shows its ugly face even where when you try to trade something and it struggles to load the list of things you need to trade. In the end, it is pretty much "throw money at everything".
Pirates are a separate party in the game, but are totally annoying and unrealistic.
Using governerors, hero-type characters to assign to missions, that it is RTS, that managing colonies aspect of AI works well, that there are different ways to play the game (just manage building your empire or assigned you leader to a ship and fly around blowing up pirates or raiding civilian ships), I like there is civilian traffic and trade that goes on automatically, you can build space-stations near black-holes for tourism, I like customization of own ships even being able to use other "picture" designs not inherit to your race, I like the research system, I actually like the space combat, it's simple and effective, good sound-effects. I love watching space carriers act like REAL carriers where they can launch dozens of fighters, I also like you can invade planets and watch the ground-battles take place (it sucks you have to manually order all your troop transports to be sure to load troops which should be done automatically when built), and the economic system involving more logistics (fuel, mining) is good, I love the size of the galaxy can be ridiculously huge, that you can impose embargo's on other empires, that you can destroy their stuff and there is NO "automatic war", and the dynamic that empires can have a revolt and there can be civil war and new empires from that.
On that list thing, empire civil war, it happens AT RANDOM though which totally sucks.
There is no warning, even if your population is happy, it can suddenly happen without warning. This needs to be fixed.
But so do a lot of things. Also, when you conquer a planet, it can easily revolt. In some games, MY OWN TROOPS, garrisoning the planet joined the rebels. What gives????
If you bomb the planet to smithereens, another race might try to colonize it.
When I recolonized, the predisposition to revolt was still there and still happening.
Maybe it was something in that planet's atmosphere?
Main problems of this game:
-Extremely clunky, slow UI performance
-Game can't handle too many ships on the screen despite the really remidial and simple graphics (seriously, what gives?)
-Buggy save game system, some updates killed save games
-Has a great game editor but also real buggy
-And worst: the AI that is there to take away micromanagement is so incredibly stupid making so many outrageously bad decisions, is a total failure. You'll spend more time fighting your own empire-management AI than anything else in the game, and it sucks it is so essential as it is.
My advice, don't use the AI at all and spend all the time you want focusing on manually doing everything.
This means slowing down the game time, and having TONS OF PATIENCE.
It will be one of the slowest, longest games you will have ever played but you will probably enjoy it more than messing with the AI.
I know I mentioned more negative than good, but probably because there are fewer negative than good, but bad enough where they must be mentioned and emphasized, so this can better help people know the main issues they will encounter should they consider purchasing the game.