Starfighter Scale Space Combat
If you’ve ever played Star Wars: The Old Republic, you’ve at least heard of Galactic Starfighter. Well Star Conflict is everything Galactic Starfighter could have been. SWTOR could have done it better too with the Star Wars IP behind it, but I digress. In Star Conflict, you battle amongst the stars in starfighter-scale combat. There are slightly larger freighters (think Millenium falcon size) and larger still Destroyers (think Consular Ship in Episode I). No massive capital ships though, setting this apart from games like Fractured Space and Dreadnought.
Seems I kind of flock to this World of VEHICLE game model. Like other games of this type, Star Conflict is free and on Steam. Free is a powerful incentive to give something a try. This game has PvE and PvP, both with a variety of game modes. This game stands out in that regard with a HUGE variety of game modes. There are multiple game modes for your PvX preference. Some are small variations of others, but nonetheless they do ‘feel’ different enough to break up the monotony. You can play starfighters, freighters, or work up to the small-scale capital ship Destroyers at the higher tiers (starting at 8). It has an extremely friendly new-player system that i’ll describe in depth in the next section. Suffice to say that this game offers the most assistance in pairing veteran players who want to help a new friend join from the beginning. Monetization is done heavily through customization, which is well implemented, and spending premium currency on converting XP (AKA faster progression).
What Makes It Fun
The graphics are just plain amazing. Each map so far has been either breathtaking or captivating in some way. The colors, the setting, it’s all incredibly well done. Next up is just how friendly this game is to getting your friends to join. It departs from the usual step of managing ‘garage’ slots in this genre. Once you unlock a ship, that’s it. You never have to remove it from your bar to make room. When you want to play it again, you literally just click on it, and it’s ready to go. No having to pay real money to unlock a slot, then re-buy and old ship with your limited funds. It is such a refreshing mechanic that I hope to see other games emulate. There’s also a referral code to give your friends which hooks them up with some premium currency when they join, and hooks you up if they stick around. Finally, the ‘medals’ you get after each battle are presented really well. I find myself wanting to scroll through the list after each battle, and sometimes it can get rather long. It gives a good sense of pride after each game, which helps boost your ego. I can’t really explain how it’s different from other games, but when I see them flash on screen during the match, I always look forward to seeing what it was after the game.
What Makes It…Not
My biggest gripe with this game is all of the currencies, and to that end the micro-progression that uses them. I still don’t understand exactly where each currencies come from, how to replenish them, and when I should be using them. That’s with 10+ hours in game now. I just avoid spending any currencies, and will continue to avoid them until I know what their purpose is. Obviously I’m making do without them just fine, but I know that’s not idea. That’s really it as far as negatives go. I don’t have a lot to complain about in this game.
The Bottom Line
I definitely recommend Star Conflict. It really brings back that Galactic Starfighter feeling from SWTOR. It’s very casual friendly, and at the same time it offers enough depth into your ship loadout that you can crank up the level of complexity a bit. Experience progression seems reasonable so far, I’m at Tier 5 of 15 after just 10 hours, and that’s starting over slightly to help a friend catch up. There are some nice innovations in the cash shop like ‘taunts’ that you can buy. Whenever you kill someone, a small little window will popup and taunt the dead player with a picture and matching spoken trash talk! This game is doing a lot of things right, and well deserving of your time if you’re looking for someone on the science-fiction end of things.