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Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares (DOS)

84
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Technocrat (176)
Written on  :  May 21, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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Summary

Nothing worse, but nothing better.

The Good

The second chapter in the classic MOO series, obviously, gives some audiovisual improvement: graphics and music are correct, and sound effects are specially remarkable. Now, instead of having to choose between pre-defined races, you can customize your own through a benefit / flaw system that costs or gives you picks; this is a good way to expand replayability and strategies to use, and is the best addition to Moo. Good (even necessary) fix were multiple planets in each system.

The Bad

The diplomatic model is rich in options, but making allies isn't worthy the effort, since little effect it has (improving the range of your ships, and nothing more: there is no cooperation between allies). Also, in very very few occasions you get fair tech exchanges: the AI always demands tech of superior (even much superior) value.

Tactical combat can be nice to see the first times, but it's poorly designed. Although range is taken in consideration and the Attack/Defense values isn't a bad system, current speed of the ship plays no role: if a 14-speed ship moves 7 squares a turn, in the next it shouldn't move at 0 or 14; it's unrealistic; a fast-moving ship shouldn't make a 180 degree turn at full speed, to put another example. The way combat is designed, all battles become soon a matter of close-and-shoot-until-one-of-us-explodes, so take the largest ship you can and don't bother anymore. There is no tactic. After some battles, you push the automatic (I remember a board game, Star Warriors, which combat system was the best I've seen… it would be a good system for tactical combat).

Colony management in Moo2 swifts to that of Civ-style, and that's a system I didn't like ever: a list of buildings and go on; in middle-later game, micromanagement is boring: build as many as you can, no more. How good could be the system in Moo improved. And the same can be told about tech and research: is somewhat stupid to make a choice between two or three applications in a field… and for some reason you can't research the rest! (the key to victory: Creative, and you needn't to exchange tech). The sliding bar system in Moo was better; why not simply improve it? If you're going to change anything, make something good! Changing for changing leads to the above: a silly system much worse than its predecessor.

The Bottom Line

Although improves features from Moo, replaces some good old ideas with bad ones. The sum is nothing worse, but nothing better.