Published on June 15th, 2014 | by JC Richardson2
Star Traders 4X Review
The Trese Brothers have gathered a legion of fans with their solid takes on the genre classics, and now they’ve turned their attentions to the explore, expand, exploit and exterminate brigade with formidable results.
ST4X is a classic space-opera following in the ancient traditions of Master of Orion, Imperium Galactica and the like. Facing a daunting, unexplored star map, you represent the last of humanity trying to gain a foothold at the edge of space – and you’re going to have your leadership skills tested to their limit. To start with, you’ll be colonising planets and simply providing your nomadic people with shelter, work and entertainment, but as they split into factions and houses you’ll also be playing politics, the spy game and negotiating tricky trade deals.
If you think your hands are full with that, you’ll also need to constantly invest in technological research, design new warships and build planetary defenses, because you can be sure you’re not alone out there. It’s not long before your expansion gets the attention of the Xenos, an agressive and intelligent group of AI races who do not appreciate your intrusion. This is where the game really starts to flourish, and your tech trees start to reveal the juiciest weaponry and war ships. In the free version, note that your tech advancement is capped, whereas the paid version is all fully unlocked – think of the free version as a demo.
Finding a balance is the key, as with all the classics of this genre: invest solely in war, and you face rebellions on neglected planets. Invest solely in keeping up planetary morale, and you’ll be ripe for the picking when the Xenos start to encroach – and they will. ST4X represents the first time in years that I’ve had to go down to the ‘Easy’ setting on a game, and even then I was struggling to keep the bad guys at bay.
Make no mistake, Star Traders 4X is a tough environment to thrive in, but like all the Trese-produced games it’s actually very accessible. It’s this ‘easy to learn, hard to master’ philosophy that makes the experience all the more worthwhile, and if this is your genre then you’ll definitely want the full version.
Summary: Star Taders 4X is a hugely ambitious take on the space opera genre, and is just filled to the brim with the details that bring a world to life. Yet another hit from the Trese Brothers, and well worth your time.