I can say that i am hard fan of the sci fi scene out there.
I have played absolutely gaming classics like Homeworld, Sins of the solar empire or Master of Orion to not so popular gaming titles like Conquest Frontier Wars, Hegemonia and maybe Star Wars Empire at War. Like a sci fi and the same time strategy or RTS gamer i had abandoned the idea that some decent space saga triple A games will pop out any time soon.
Fortunately with the rise of the indie games a lot of interesting ideas came out viral like FTL rogue game, Ancient Frontier or the last game i played – Final Theory.
And this review is just my thoughts about the game.
“Final Theory is a turn-based strategy game where you command fleets of battleships engaged in a galactic civil war.”
This sentence pretty much sums out the whole idea of the game. It’s you and your fleet against other AI players and their fleets.
Unfortunately there is no story or any side quests. It’s just the space battles. Personally i like to play games with great story and put aside the graphics or gameplay. But because my passion towards everything that is Sci fi, the space exploration or the future human development i always like to try new ideas.
I liked very much the space combat mechanics behind Star Wars Empire at war. But i had not enough patience to play all the ground missions, so Final theory is the perfect choice. It’s kinda playing chess. You have your different kind of battleships with special upgrades and kinda unique special modules.
The game mechanic is probably the best idea – to move only one fleet in your turn. That way you need to take difficult choices like: Are you gonna expand attacking new territories and the same time take the risk to loose important space station. Near the middle of the game you can make enough fleets to guard your stations, but other decisions can come in your mind – Do i need to spend these hard earned resources for this fleet? The same fleet that can travel only one square of the map? But on a second thought you know that if you loose that station you can’t produce certain kind of ships… so yea ; )
Other interesting feature is that you can’t save the game between taking decisions. That way if you loose the hard made battleship or dreadnought, you take the bad feeling in your mouth.
Another thing to consider is that there is friendly fire so you need to plan carefully how to place your ships not only because you can destroy it yourself but also because their weaponry systems have different range and angle of attack. Some ships can’t attack from behind. Also have in mind that different weapons have different time to recharge so ship positioning is of great importance.
My personal opinion after 15 hours playing that it’s kinda hard game to play, because you can’t turn back time – saving the game(you can save your galactic map progress but not turn back battles time), the resources and space stations are scattered randomly on the galactic map and there is no way to send a probe to scout the area. Anyway you can see the enemy fleet and how it’s moving on the galactic map, but not the specific stations or resources that this particular region gives to the player. You must send a fleet and find out for yourself. That’s part of the adventure to be a commander of your fleet!
And in the other hand the AI isn’t so bad at playing it. In fact at the very beginning i was about to loose because my military force was about 3/10 and the AI was about 6/10. Almost two times better than me! And that was the situation about 70% of the game!! The AI were far more militaristic and had way more ships than me. Maybe the best strategy in this point is to produce less ships but invest yourself in better augmentations. I bet my strategy initially on 3 cruisers working like the brute force with their thermal beams, missile barrages and finally adding some torpedo launchers to the power house. As the back of my force were 2 destroyers to take out faster enemy shields and at the same time i had unlocked the ability to replenish fallen shields. Final add-on were the frigates which are fast and cheap enough to take the first blow.
Near the end my final fleet were 3 dreadnought – their plasma beans + thermal canons can literally destroy almost every single ship. In combination with anti-shield weaponry of the Battle-cruiser and the Carrier which can provide shield support and deploy the corvettes. My fleet was untouchable. Anyway even that can be wiped out if you don’t mark every time when a special weapon is used – the most devastating rocket – the Nuke. It can not only destroy every single ship and entire fleets on a particular galactic map but also creates some minerals to harvest. It’s very expensive and you can’t use it very often. Nearly the end of the game it’s easier to use it, because you already control bigger part of the map – you had captured more systems with the special resource that is required for the manufacturing of the bomb.
The summary here is that the main difficulty is to navigate through the space map trying not to recklessly destroy your navy at the point where the enemy can nuke it and the same time gather precious resources to upgrade your ships, make more of them or collect enough to make the special weapon – the Nuke. Just it’s a game which requires a lot of patience, wise choices and observation on the enemy moves.
I can say that there were certain bugs like there were some issues with the button for deploying battleships. Unfortunately i couldn’t use them until the end of the game. Probably because some glitch or bug on the coding side or maybe it’s just my problem.
And the second bug i can tell you it was near the end of the game when i attacked the final Empire fleet(it’s a special AI that guards the final galactic star system. They can’t make nukes but spawns armies on a frequent schedule) before use the Final Theory nuke to win the game. I destroyed the opponent fleet but the winning window never popped out so i needed to surrender… My all hard made fleet was destroyed. I was kinda angry but fortunately when you surrender the half of your resources are replenished.
My final words are that i am satisfied with the final product. Besides the bugs, the randomness of the resources or the proximity of your opponents it’s kinda interesting to find out if you can beat out the game under these circumstances. That’s part of the life of a commander of fleet i guess. There is always something that will interfere with you so if you can surpass or make your disadvantage an advantage then the satisfaction at the end is worth the risk.
I would say that this game worth it’s price(15 euro) because of it’s gameplay mechanics, the special upgrade augmentations and the great animation of rocket explosions, the dreadnought plasma beams cutting like a knife the armor and shields of everything against it. The sound of shield depletion it’s also close(probably) to the real thing or at least i like it. Overall music is pleasant enough. Maybe if there were some speaking like ” Hull breach, Hull breach, Hull breach!” or “Full power to the main cannon!” it would be much better. The human factor is almost at zero. No speaking, no any signs of crew attachment or at least some art portraits.
My personal rating for the game is 6/10. The rating is this because of No story mode, No any kind of immersion or personal attachment to the fleet crew, the last just don’t exist and the final reason is because of the randomness and all time different chance to success or die too early or too late in the game. Besides that it can give enough satisfaction for it’s quality.
Thank you for your attention.