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REVIEWS

Distant World’s 2 Impressions – It’s All About The Macro

Distant Worlds 2, in its humblest form, describes itself as a 4X real-time space strategy game. This description does not tell you that Distant Worlds 2 offers a world of options and depth to its system. This is not a large game. It’s huge. Every start makes you feel like it’s the beginning of an epic, space opera. This is not a space strategy real-time game. It’s an intricate simulation of economic, diplomatic and research systems, as well as military ones. These come together to create something that’s much bigger than the sum of their parts. The game has its faults, and sometimes it can be difficult to love Distant Worlds 2. It is a series of three reviews on the game that will focus on three of my most significant aspects: the basics and how Distant Worlds 2 implements those; exploration and expansion, and finally, warfare. This is going to take a while. It’s fine if waiting for everything is what you prefer, but reviewing a title like Distant worlds the way that I do is exhausting. Having several copies of the game open at once, and trying out different options in every playthrough, is a lot to handle, but it’s necessary if your review is to be taken serious, particularly in this genre where experience is key and trial-and-error is vital to breaking down a games systems in You’ll sometimes cry as you peel away a layer of an onion.

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We’ll get you back on the right track with “a massive, pausable, real-time, 4X space game”. That’s a yes. What makes DW2 stand out from other videogames that are also in this genre and have a space theme? The only word that would describe a strange space rat who aimed at me with a space mouse rifle and said “Dense” is “dense”. DW2 is a game that doesn’t take any breaks in the simulation of a space-faring empire. Each world, each small spaceship and every military engagement is played on a 1:1 scale. The truth is, brave space pelagics might think it’s manageable to play through 2000 star systems in a single game, but each star system has its own dozen planets, each with their respective moons. There are two economic systems in the game, one private and another public. You can influence the private economy by ensuring that your freighters and mines are safe and free to operate in space. It’s a complex system that can make it difficult to identify problems.

The space itself is quite dark, and filled with terrors – some of them literally. I don’t know if it was just luck, but every time I played the game my first encounters are always those annoying raiders that lurk on the outer edge of my solar system. They also appear to be asteroid-sized mantas. These creatures are initially frightening, but can be easily defeated with a group of frigates in the early stages. So, before you start colonizing other solar systems prepare to perform some pest cleaning. This is the part of the game that I find most interesting, especially the military aspect. You can join a trade union and there are countless options, but is it worth the effort? This is a very deep and scary game. It can be overwhelming if your goal is to micromanage every aspect of the game, but DW2 warns you that this approach will only make things worse. It gets worse… Your silicon delegate isn’t always right. It’s possible to argue this is “realistic”. (I know, using the term for a space exploration venture seems odd, but I’m finishing a review due in over a week.

The AI is unable to update some designs and is drooling on its pillow. It’s the worst when the AI takes over after you order something and everything stops working. Not sure at this stage. It’s clear that the AI could use some fine-tuning and the game will need to be bug-squashed in the coming months. It also has a bad habit of not working properly and the ships will refuse to work. This can be resolved only by restarting your game. The AI Control allows you to customize the behavior of your AI in almost any situation. You can automate everything according to your preferences, allowing you to make grand decisions rather than doing mundane, daily tasks which would normally be assigned to public servants. You only want to handle military issues for now? Your minions will ask you for consent on larger issues if they are set up accordingly. What if the military is doing well but you need to help with your economy? Let the silicon generals do the cleaning up and concentrate your attention solely on the space credits. You may prefer to make friends in space. To do this, you will need to research their language. I cannot tell you enough about how incredible it is. I always found it strange that in all games, countries and civilizations who had never spoken to each other before were able to communicate as though God hadn’t destroyed the Tower of Babel.

Distant Worlds 2 has a charming, good-looking graphics. The alien designs can be a bit goofy, but they are also unique and entertaining. It is amazing how many things are on display. There are dozens of lanes that transport materials from a mining station to colonies. Battles are exciting and entertaining to watch. It’s UI works well and despite the many complaints I have read online, I don’t think it’s a bad game. The game is solid and tight, but it lacks some tooltips. The fleet controls are a bit confusing and force you to cycle manually between the ships in order to locate one that you want. Let me sum up this by saying the game sorely lacks a search feature. I can only imagine how difficult it will become later when the number of ships will increase to tens or even thousands. You can also do better for a UI that is so beautiful, as the research window appears to be something from Windows 98. It’s not very nice, either.

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Distant Worlds 2 is not only a huge, scary game but also a story-generator, similar to Crusader Kings Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron. It’s true that you can optimize everything and interact with the entire game, but is it worth the effort? The fun lies in the big picture, influencing the galaxy and having your agents take over most of the times. That’s the way I would recommend anyone play this game. It can feel overwhelming at times and there are bugs that keep popping up, but Distant Worlds 2 has so much to offer, you’d be foolish to ignore it. Distant Worlds 2 will be elevated from an excellent space 4X game to become a standard in the genre for many years. Has it arrived yet? It’s not there yet, but will be soon. Distant Worlds 2 has a lot to do with making it your own game, automating what you want and playing your role as a virtual dictator.

Matrix Games addressed bugs in Distant Worlds 2 yesterday in a news letter: “Post release can sometimes be crazy.” We have to be prepared for the unexpected when we release a game like Distant Words 2. codeForce has worked around the clock for the past few weeks to resolve some of the more annoying bugs. fixes and updates can also take longer than anticipated. “All these fixes must be tested across multiple computers as they are likely to cause more problems than they fix.”

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