Master Of Orion – The classic 4X game returns

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The game that put the term 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) on the galaxy map is getting a massive makeover as Wargaming and NGD studios reboot the classic strategy title. In Master of Orion, players attempt to conquer the stars via a variety of methods, from military might to deceptive diplomacy, as they engage with a turn-based system that should be familiar to players that missed out on the fun back in 1993.

While NGD is taking the utmost care to keep Master of Orion true to its complex strategy roots, the studio wants to make it more approachable through user-interface improvements and intuitive gameplay. Instead of having to dig through four esoteric drop-down menus, players can find all the options they need directly at their fingertips.

Technological advances allow the unique races of the galaxies to express their more colorful side through voice acting and dialogue as they interact with the player, and the advisors on your side help walk you through important decisions as you pick new technologies and allocate your workers on each planet.

While you’re free to engage with the game at a top level and improve your technology, economy, or military might, a lot of interesting scenarios pop up turn-to-turn. You may have to manage pollution on your planets based on your production or even face biochemical warfare. If you don’t deal with it, your planet may degrade, going from a bountiful ocean planet into a less attractive (and less productive) marsh.

Balancing worker morale is necessary to make sure production is smooth, as taxes and war can take their toll. If morale sinks too low, your population may go on strike, bringing production to a halt. Depending on your strategies, you may want to invest in various perks or entertainment to boost morale and offset potential negatives.

Cloak-and-dagger strategies allow you to sabotage and steal from your opponents and protect your own assets through counter-espionage. In addition to the other factions in the game all trying to interfere with your route to victory, you’ll have to deal with wandering space monsters, independent planets, and a whole slathering of other minutia.

A lot is going on in Master of Orion beyond the simple resource gathering, allowing for many different play styles. I’m looking forward to uniting the galaxy through diplomacy as I curry favor from the intergalactic council, but trying out a whole slew of strategies is going to be part of the fun when the reboot hits next year. »

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