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SummaryCut SC3 some slack!
The GoodI played this game for the first time recently (2004) after not having played SC1 or 2 in nearly a decade. So unlike seemingly ever other reviewer that has torn this game apart, mostly by comparison to its predecessors, I really enjoyed it! It was similar enough to the original games to give me a little nostalgia rush, yet unique enough that it was playable for its own merits. The plot reminded me a lot of StarCraft, with its twists and constantly shifting alliances, and the dialog, while a little long winded and repetitive at times, was entertaining.
The BadOkay, so there were holes in the game, and not just a couple of them. Colony management was glitchy, melée battles were far too easy once you acquire some of the new ships, and there were a number of minor game bugs, like planet stats not appearing correctly on some unimportant planets. And some of the game over sequences were like something out of a bad Choose Your Own Adventure Book (like when you choose to ally with the Crux, and get dropped to a death screen that says "You join the Crux. And then you die." And yes, sometimes it was tedious to wait for fuel reserves to build up. But overall, these things didn't outright ruin the game's playability, in my mind at least.
The Bottom LineCut the game some slack. Don't expect a masterpiece, and don't compare it to either of the original Star Control games. It's not even an Accolade game, and you can always expect some inconsistencies when a new company releases a sequel to a classic series. Just keep your expectations realistic, and enjoy the game for what it is - a bit of good simple fun.
== A RETRACTION ==
[This edit posted several months after my original review.]
Having just replayed Star Control 2 for the first time in nearly a decade, I just couldn't let my review for Star Control 3 stand without an important clarification.
StarCon 3 is almost EXACTLY like StarCon 2. Vance's review said it best. It appears that the Legend Entertainment Company LITERALLY took StarCon 2 and said to themselves, "Hey, this is a great game, and if it aint broke, don't fix it!", so they added digitized voices for each race, jazzed up the graphics and audio a touch, dumbed down the combat difficulty and AI, and re-released the all-new Star Control 2b for the next generation.
Let me emphasize this again - this game has the EXACT same plot, same storyline, suspiciously similar dialog, the same beginning, middle and end. The same goals, the same aims, the same alien races, the same ships. They renamed the Hierarchy to the Crux. Threw in a brief backstory with a one-line reference to StarCon 2 just so that people don't forget that this is supposed to be a sequel to it rather than a remake of it. But this game really is StarCon 2, revised.
Don't get me wrong, the game is still great. Of course it is, because StarCon 2 was great and this has better graphics and voiceovers! But play this as a sequel to the original Star Control, or heck, even as a standalone game. If you play the series in chronological order back to back, you are going to be left with a sour taste in your mouth when you feel like you've just played StarCon 2 through twice.
So, I correct myself - I said above, enjoy Star Control 3 on its own merits. Now I say, enjoy Star Control 3 on its own, period. Unless you prefer the nostalgia of an original game, in which case just play Star Control 2 and overlook this unimaginative remake altogether.