Master of Orion 3

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a game by Infogrames
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 9/10, based on 1 review, 3 reviews are shown
User Rating: 10.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Strategy Games, Voxel Games, 4x Games, Master of Orion Series
Master of Orion 3
Master of Orion 3
Master of Orion 3
Master of Orion 3

4-X SPACE strategy - explore, eXpand, exploit, exterminate. Depending on your state of mind, that expression will either send a thrill of excitement through your loins or will have you scrabbling for the abort' button as your mind reels from the sheer magnitude of tedium implied. It's strictly for the hardcore, but if you count yourself among that number, the Master Of Origin series has always been a firm favourite.

For the uninitiated, MOO3 is an incredibly complex empire-building game - a bit like Civ in space - that sacrifices graphics in favour of a huge research tree and baffling array of options. This episode introduces a couple of key features - real-time combat and streamlined micromanagement. The idea is, instead of doing everything yourself, you can absolve most of your responsibility to a set of viceroys, which is fine in theory but doesn't really work in practice.

Even if you do love the genre, MOO3 is something of a failed experiment - and for ten quid there are better options.

Download Master of Orion 3


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Life Is full of annoying cliches, but however irritating the age-old adages passed down from one generation to the next may be, they often have a ring of truth. In this case Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it' will be ringing a few familiar bells to fans of the longstanding Master Of Orion turn-based space strategy series, of conquest and expansion.

They complained long and hard about the tedium and overcomplexity of time-consuming micro-management, and developers Quicksilver nodded knowingly and responded accordingly with a brand new approach to managing the many and varied complexities of the Orion series. Micro-management has all but disappeared and has been replaced by macro management'. But what does this mean exactly?

Look! A Game That Plays Itself

While in theory it's a great idea to have mundane tasks taken care of in the background, in practice it doesn't work so well, as the Al very often gets things wrong and it's a pain to search for its mistakes and put them right yourself. This is not helped by the fact the game appears overtly complex on the first few sittings, so trying to find your way round it and keeping an eye on the Al at the same time is not everyone's idea of fun.

There are other problems too. The research tree is huge and you can easily lose track of what's going on later in the game. The real-time combat graphics appear to be somebody's idea of a joke (even when zoomed in it's hard to make out which ships are which because everything's so small), and the turn-based nature of the building and expansion parts of the game aren't too much prettier.

Not All Space Trash

There are moments of redemption however. The storyline is excellent and tells a tale of the fall of the Antarans and the rise of the New Orions (in which your part is fairly convincing), and the research technologies allow for very specific ship customisation. The in-game encyclopedia also plays its part in holding your interest, particularly by providing story background, which adds an extra level of immersion.

In all, this third installment represents a step backwards for the series, but it somehow manages to remain playable and reasonably entertaining almost in spite of itself.

Most gaming aficionados remember the original Master of Orion and its sequel with fondness. The original titles were some of the finest turn-based simulations'true pioneers of the genre. Now Infogrames and designer Quicksilver Studios brings us the third part of this highly addictive series. Master of Orion 3 features exhaustive, dynamic space empire building, utilizing extensive military, technological, diplomatic, and colonization disciplines to forward your agenda: total galactic domination.

The question is: Even with all these points going for it, why is this title such a letdown?

True, MOO3 has many interesting and worthwhile aspects, as well as a few improvements over previous titles. Diplomacy plays a greater role than previously, and computer opponents and general AI, especially when dealing with the planetary 'viceroy,'? is also much improved. AI tended to make more sensible choices, and some screens made previous aspects of game control much easier. Graphics are also light-years ahead of previous MOO titles, and audio is, while somewhat sparse, well done.

Also, multiplayer aspects seem to be doing well. MOO3 uses the Gamespy Network to find Internet based games in play, and MOO3 looks to have a small but devoted following at this time. For the most part, lag does not seem to be much of an issue, but I was unable to do a real-time battle during my online experience.

However, many aspects of MOO3 should have been scrapped at the beginning. One glaring problem is the 165 page manual. While holding an interesting background storyline for the game, material inside is poorly organized and not extremely helpful. Gamers unfamiliar with Master of Orion will have a hard time jumping in, especially with inadequate instructions. Many aspects of game control, once intuitive, are now more difficult to find and much less user friendly. Try finding how to raise your newly colonized planets population and you'll see what I mean.

Inconsistencies abound as well. The fact that many favored races are not included in this title was a disappointment, but going through what amounts to be the exact same tech tree as the original MOO (with some new additions) just seemed inappropriate. The game is turn-based, so when the newer, real-time combat module was introduced, I thought I would be intrigued. However, the basic graphics and non-intuitive play of this interface was possibly the most disappointing factor in this game, with an odd lack of full control of your battle fleet other than basic orders.

Master of Orion 3, while succeeding in many aspects, fails miserably in others. While die hard fans of the Master of Orion games will definitely find some enjoyment of this title, it proves to be complex, confusing, and ultimately a lot more of an investment to the novice or uninitiated gamer. However, the title is still shades better than 'Not Recommended.'

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