Space themed 4x strategy game StarDrive harkens back to the golden age of RTS and space colonization in a new and improved way
As my scout ship reaches the outskirts of a system close to my own, a sudden message appears from a species of Vulfen space wolves that are anything but ready to play nice. They immediately declare war on my young and weak empire as my scout is destroyed by their vast military strength. I await my quick demise as their ships enter my system when suddenly friendly ships from another system I have made allies with come in to help me fend off annihilation as I live to take on revenge in due time.
Such is the nature of StarDrive, a 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) space themed real-time strategy game from developers Zero Sum Games which created the game following a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011. StarDrive looks to harken back to the immensely deep and complex 4X strategy games of the past like Masters of Orion but with added customization options, more fluid combat, 3D graphics and more. So does it live up to its task?
I am a relative newcomer to the 4X strategy genre, having only dabbled in a few of them in the past, but what I have noticed is that overall, StarDrive has a lot to offer right from the start where you can choose between 8 playable races, which are customizable through things like physical, socioeconomic and historical traits that make them unique. The races include humans, Kulrathi space bears, and Pollops space plants among others that you must either unite or destroy as you expand your empire across the universe.
The map itself is enormous even when played on the medium size setting showing just how much depth and detail went in to the overall atmosphere of the game. That being said, the game can become overwhelming when your empire has expanded to multiple systems, but the game handles this well with menu screens that keep track of your empire down to the smallest details although they take a bit of time to get used to. That being said, I found that StarDrive does not completely cater to the newbie RTS gamer and will take a lot of time to fully understand how everything works and how to effectively use it.