Guys after playing games for 25 years (since the original Pong back before Atari), I must say that Master of Orion III is the worst game I have ever bought for full retail. I have some bargin bin games that were worst, but they only cost around $5-10 bucks. The worst part is that the store which sold me the game doesn't allow exchanges.
Master of Orion III is a huge disappointment. I had played both MOO and MOOII and was pleased with both games. When this one came out I was eager to try it. I wish that I had waited to read the reviews.
It is a pathetic piece of software. The screen graphics are actually worst than in the original MOO which came out ten years ago. I don't require great graphics in strategy game, but I would like to at least be able to see my ships when they engage in combat. In MOOIII all you see is a blob which is supposed to represent your combat fleet. You can point it in a direction and it kind of moves there engaging in "combat" as it goes.
This is supposed to be some kind of Inter-galactic "simulation." But the designers removed planet customability. For instance you no longer chose which type of structures to build on each planet. The AI does that for you. For me in the old MOO II series, one of my favorite things was customizing each planet. I would plan out which structural improvements to research and then I would build them. But you can't do that in MOO III. The computer AI picks which structures to build. And you never even get to see them. You have to read about them in a spreadsheet (I'll get to that later on).
Research was a fun part of the earlier games. Unfortunately, that aspect was apparently deemed to be too much fun. so it has been practically removed from MOOIII. The AI does all the research for you. So while you can generally tell the AI to spend more on one type of research than another the end result is that it pretty much does its own thing. You are never told what each researched item actually does. And you never know what its impact is on the game. You just see a notation on a spreadsheet that research has been completed. Since you don't get to view individual ship combat you don't have any idea what type of technology works best on your ships. And since you can't pick out which structures to build on your planets and you never get to see the structures research is pretty much unintelligible. You have no idea if one type of research created better building than any other type of research. And you don't get to see the building either. You just see a notation on the spreadsheet. You have no idea if you have researched good things, or bad things, and you really don't care.
The computer AI is horrible. It doesn't attack. It doesn't try to win. Which is just as well, imagine how frustrating it would be to actually engage in blob to blob combat. You wouldn't see the ships just the blob which represented them. You have no idea how well your individual ship designs actually worked. So its no fun desiging ships anymore either.
You don't see the structures being built on the planets anymore. This isn't like Civilization where you could at least enjoy looking at the changes in each colony which your orchestrated. Now all you see is a spreadsheet. They didn't even create graphics for structures. Just some lame spreadsheet which has all of the enjoyment of looking at fictituous Dow Jones reports in the Wall Street Journal (you thought the Journal was bad, imagine looking at one that doesn't even deal with real companies).
The graphics are, as noted, horrible. Ships now look like little dots which bob around the map. I just can't understand why a company would produce a game in 2003 with worst graphics than earlier version which came out in the mid 90's. But that is exactly what they did.
Sound is equally bad. I don't normally play music during a sim game. But if it had been good I could at least mention it. Unfortunately, it was like the rest of the game, boring and repetitive.
It has been said that I am too hard on this game because I am comparing it to MOO2. First of all, if you release a product called MOO3 then it is reasonable to assume that it is a sequel to MOO2. If it wasn't meant to be a sequel then it should have been named something else. A better name would have been Galactic Spreadsheets. Secondly even if it is a stand alone game, it isn't fun. There is just nothing fun about this game. The only "enjoyment" which it has given me is bashing it on the internet (and that is not worth $50 bucks).
Avoid this product unless you can buy it for less than $5 bucks (just for kicks and grins). The name Master of Orion is being used as a con to steal money from you. This game is not anywhere near the caliber of the earlier products and it should be avoided.
I am glad you made this post. It's good to hear from someone who has been a fan of MOO 1 and 2. I liked those games so much I was seriously considering buying MOO3 just because it was a sequel to some of the best games I have ever played. Sounds like they have taken away everything that was good about the older ones and kept the bad features. I am dissappointed with the makers, I would have figured M003 would have been the best to come.
I've heard numerous reviews, most of which have not been kind to MOO3, so I won't be purchasing this product. Sad really...MOO fans everywhere will be let down.
I do the same thing. I hate getting burned. For $60, I'd bloody well better be getting exactly what I expect, and nothing less. If it's a POS, I want to know I can take it back. I think computers are the only industry that doesn't offer much in the way of consumer protection. It's unfortunate.
i'm with silverpig on demoing or even pirating a game to see if its good before dropping money on it. unfortunately moo3 seems to be so bad, nobody even bothered pirating it. what probably makes moo3 among the worst ever was how much fun moo2 still is all these years later.