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Tedious sci-fi strategy shenanigans
Reach for the Stars is a classic slice of 4X science fiction strategy and while Worlds at War blatantly tries to hang on its coat tails, unfortunately it turns out to be little more than a pale imitation that is not worth bothering with. If you've played any kind of sci-fi strategy game in the past, like Iron Seed or Second Conflict, you'll be familiar with what's on offer here and as usual, it's a case of building up your fleets, conducting research into new technologies, maintaining bases and factories and then engaging in war on a galactic basis with your numerous enemies. In theory this all sounds well and good, if a little unoriginal, but the problem here is that it's all executed so poorly that nothing hangs together well at all. It starts out poorly, with an unappealing interface that doesn't really get your juices flowing. Once you start diving into things, it doesn't get much better, with a dull, spreadsheet-style approach that doesn't exactly inspire much enthusiasm either, while further inspection reveals other more serious issues that stand in the way of enjoyment. A key element of any such game is its enemy AI, but here it is very weak and lacking in anything approaching intelligence or strategy, and which thus makes this a less than challenging affair. The gameplay is far too focused on the tedious details of resource management and the player is likely to feel more like a bean counter than anything else, so unless you really love getting into the nitty gritty of the day-to-day planning of a space empire, there's little fun to be had here.