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Thursday, January 12, 2006

GameSpot Rips A World Apart ... Apart

Jason Ocampo has a review of the infamous Derek Smart's Universal Combat: A World Apart which beats down virtually every aspect of the game:

In theory, this is a game that should appeal to anyone who has ever wanted to be Jean-Luc Picard, sitting on a bridge and issuing orders to explore a huge galaxy. There's a huge galaxy in this game to explore, as you can travel from system to system, interact with countless vessels and stations, and explore strange new worlds. However, the execution just feels off, and you'll encounter plenty of frustration along the way. For example, it can take so long simply to get from point to point that you're left twiddling your thumbs while staring at the screen. The combat also can be a frustratingly short and brutal experience, as your huge warship can get taken out in just seconds.

It also doesn't help that the production values vary from poor to abysmal. The space graphics look ancient, especially in comparison to the handful of sleek, cutting-edge space sims that have been released in recent years. Models and textures look blocky and bland, and the game has trouble getting even the little details right. For instance, clouds whip around planets at about 500,000 miles per hour, and the star field in front of you suddenly changes if all you're doing is selecting an item from one of the menus. We also encountered a weird bug half the time that sent our ship into an uncontrollable clockwise spin. The only solution was to quit out, restart the game, and then repeat if the spin was still there.
-- Universal Combat: A World Apart Review

These days Smart is probably better known for his inflammatory comments on the net than his actual game design. If this review is indicative, that might become even more true in the future.

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