O.R.B. - PC
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
We shall eat naught but rocks, and live within the dust. Such sets the stage for Strategy First's first space RTS - O.R.B. Off-world Resource Base blends the three-dimensional RTS feel inspired by Homeworld with the tactical challenge that S.F. is known for. I must admit, having played nearly all well-known RTS since Dune 2, this game was the first to challenge me on normal difficulty.
Gameplay:
I'm really a ground-pounder at heart, so I always approach space RTS' with a little trepidation. O.R.B. was able to guide me into the interface with a number of tutorial missions that explained the most basic aspects to moving in 3 dimensions, and mining in the Aldus System. The interface is quite intuitive, making viewing the entire map to looking at the hatches on your interceptors quite easy. Learning how to interface with the world is easy, it's learning how to skirmish that will take some time to perfect.
Unlike ground-based FPS where battles rely on numbers to tactics, O.R.B. relies on wing formations and dog-fighting - especially when you are facing equally capable foes. Once you get a feeling for what ships are good against what enemies, you should be off to a good start. As your ships get larger, your tactics will start to resemble naval engagements rather than aerial ones, and that adds to the fun.
The story in O.R.B. is much better than I had expected to find in an RTS. The two campaigns play off each other, so the enemies you fight in one, will not necessarily be the enemies you fight in the next. It is a much better improvement than the standard formula of play side A and kill side B; play side B and kill side A. It's safe to say that once you get into the story, you'll want to know what's going to happen next.
Finally, since the game has a fairly large tech tree and limited resources (it increases the challenge - that's a good thing!) your tech carries over from one mission to the next. There are also missions where your fleet carries over, so you will want to focus on preservation rather than high kill and death ratios. The highly limited resources also means that there will be times when you'll have to make the effort to capture enemy vessels just in order to scrap them. It really requires planning so that your enemy starves himself before you do; even then odds are you'll spend every last credit you earn on every mission.
Graphics:
Nice and sharp, just as I'd expect in a space sim. The close zoom doesn't reveal any lazy modeling, and though they lack ultra detail, it saves the system when there are a hundred units swirling around your screen. The only slowdown I ever had was when I tried to camera inside an explosion, but that was because I was trying to stress the engine. Beyond that, the only gripe I can think of is the short distance at which your ships zoom into green dots on your screen. Yet that is more of a design issue than a gaming one.
Sound:
Space is silent - I'm usually too zoomed out to hear the gunfire, so all I ever ended up hearing were the ever persistent alarms and various cues. Your ships do talk to you, but it's in some alien language, so voice acting is... un-judge-able. The music is spacey, reminds me of background music to MOO 3, but again it's exactly what you would expect from a space sim. In truth, that's not a bad thing. No points off here either.
Overall:
It's quite clear that the goal of this game was to make you think about your tactics, rather than letting you pick one unit to build a thousand of. Each ship has its function and you need to learn when and how to use them. The manpower limits and highly limited resources all add to this game in a good way that will offer a challenge on any difficulty level.
The only downside is the lack of multiplayer community available for it. The few times I loaded up gamespy to check for games I rarely ever saw more than 1 or 2 people bumming around in chat. If you are looking to play this online, it would behoove you to have a friend pick up a copy as well.
If you only buy games to play online, well then this might not be the best game to spend your money on, but if you like single play, or just don't have access to a good stable connection, then I highly recommend O.R.B as being one of the best and most challenging RTS' to hit the market in a long while.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2004
I liked the reviews before I bought the product, but after playing the game I think some people missed the point in their reviews. I have to say that although my overall rating of the game was 3 stars, it was a real value. You just can't go wrong with a $10 product. Still, there were some things that worked, and some things that didn't - and knowing about these things might help you decide if even $10 is too much.

What worked?

The graphics were beautiful, just as many reviews described, and they helped to suspend disbelief and allowed deeper immersion into the story and game. The story was excellent. Great attention was paid to that aspect of the game, and it shows. Game play on normal setting was challenging enough to cause a few loads from a saved game position. All in all, when a couple of tickets to a movie cost as much or more than this game, and provide 4 hours of entertainment versus 10-40 hours of game time, this game was a real value.

What didn't work?

The game is extremely linear. There is a beginning to the story, and an end to the story, and precious little freedom to rescript the story. The good news is that the story is good enough - and game play challenging enough - that the restrictions are bearable. Still, any game that has a technology tree and then tells you exactly when and where you can climb it has done gamers a disservice. If programmers are going to do that to us, the very least they can do is provide very detailed information in the manual about what we're developing. That way at least you've laid a key out there to make us feel like we can escape your shackles - even if it is an elusion. Speaking of the manual, it could use a little help, but the story portion is worth it. What can I expect for $10, right? My game never offered me covert operations either, but then that may only be available in multi-player mode. Finally, the interface wasn't bad, but it wasn't a delight either. I spent the vast majority of my games in 2-D mode, because it provided me with the clearest information. Clear information is a vital commodity in real-time games, so I had to reject the beautiful 3-D mode in favor of the more practical 2-D setting.

I stick to my assertion that there is more than enough good material in this game to make it worth the meager purchase price. Just don't expect paradise.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2002
This game has so much strategy with its space bases, rotating asteroid fields, secret bases built inside asteroids. massive scale. Two unique playable races (yes there are subtle differences that add up to major strategic edges in various areas). The SP campaign starts off kinda slow (as do most rts SP) but the later stages of the first campaign and the second campaign are truly outstanding. The skirmish AI is well done and challenging. In fact this game is very challenging at every level. The developers are very active and responsive to the fanbase and are currently working on the minor fixes as well as future updates that will include new vessels and added features. The graphics are absolutely spectacular. Well worth the ...[undisclosed dollar amount].
All in all a great game destined to get even better.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2004
This game was more exciting than Homeworld 1. The controls were easier and the graphics were outstanding. The story was interesting but the timeline was too short.

There are two missions you can pick in this game. I played the evil Malus mission first and found that it was not as good as the Alyssian mission. In the Malus mission, your primary task is to stop the Alyssians from searching for their gods called the Aldar. These gods are also the same gods of the Malus race. I want to point out that each mission is totally different from one another with different background scenes and spacecraft.

When I played the Alyssian mission I fought against both the Malus, whom start out as comrades and then later turn against you and the Elithans, a very interesting alien race whom are thought to have destroyed the Aldar Empire. In the end, I had to get past them to win the game.

Here are some details to why I think this game is better than HW 1.

* I like the fact that you have to acquire "resource units" on the asteroid itself; unlike in HW 1 a weird ray dissolves the RUs into the vessel. In ORB, after you build the RU base to extract the ship building material you can turn it into a repair and then a military base if you desire.

* The controls are a somewhat similar to HW but you are able to zoom out and click anywhere at a far distance. In HW you have to click the spacebar and then point in click. This gets annoying.

* The weaponry in ORB is more interesting. You are able to build a troop transport and send commandos to capture hybrid alien ships. You can capture all ships accept the Elithian ships because their vessels are a living organism that can withstand the elements of space. I also like the fact that you have to build a troop transport, in which the little commandos hijack the ships, unlike HW where you must use salvage corvettes to sneak behind the vessel and use some type of weird magnetic force to obtain the craft. The only negative here is that in the Malus mission you can only capture the Alyssians vessels. ORB just makes more sense to me.

* I also like the fact that you can keep building ships until all RUs are used. In HW it only lets you build up to a certain limit no matter how many RUs are left over.

* The graphics are beautiful. Most of the skirmish battles have really cool planets and the background has lots of different colors. In HW it's mostly orange in color.

* In ORB you will notice that you are later able to use hyper jump to your destination. In HW you have to wait until you get there.

Here are the very few negatives.

-- The story can be better developed. It's not that good.

-- I would like to have seen more hybrid ships that could be captured.

In any case, this game was awesome! The game ends after destroying a huge Elithian vessel. You never find the Aldar gods. Because of this, I believe the game was made to have a sequel. I will definitely buy the sequel if released.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2002
Most importantly -they have created a patch,that can be downloaded in minutes, so that Windows XP users will no longer have the problems playing ORB reported earlier...
I am a great fan of RTS (Real Time Strategy) games. I believe they're the modern-day equivalent of the classic games, like Go, Chess, Checkers and Backgammon. These are games that can be played and enjoyed by ANYONE who takes the time to try them but also enjoyed by the devoted, die-hard fans.
I believe ORB is the game that I have been waiting for. I played Homeworld and while I loved the concept, I found the interface rather cumbersome. Homeworld: Cataclysm was a great improvement but it was still lacking a certain depth. In my humble opinion, ORB is the next step in this genre.
For the beginner, ORB is much easier to play. Anyone can point and click -which is all a beginner needs to start playing. There's no awkward 'both hands required' ship commands. Speaking of commands, the crew of these ships aren't stupid automatons -they can be set to think independently and allow the player to focus on the joy of these games -strategy. Additionally, ORB is a beautiful game to watch, if it seems boring or slow, take a break and watch the ships fly -this game looks as real as any television special effects. The marines commandeering an enemy ship will amaze you!
For the advanced player, there are alternative strategies to consider -will I attack with a large fleet of fighters? Will I postpone sending my fleet so that I can arm it with anti-matter torpedoes? Or will I send a fleet of large, lethal capital ships? Maybe a combination would work best..? Also there are the complexities to consider of a moving map. This would be a great place to harvest -except it will be in enemy territory in a few minutes!

The only flaw with this game is in the multi-player. It can be somewhat difficult to find and stay in a game. Somewhat difficult but not impossible. Fortunately the developers seem genuinely committed to supporting this game and I am fairly confident that they'll fix the minor problems and fully realize the potential of this great game.
If you buy ORB, I really think you or the lucky recipient will enjoy it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2002
O.R.B has too often been compared to Homeworld. Although the interface is somewhat similar, it far better. The graphics are awesome. The scale is perfect. Fighters look like flys next to capital ships, and there are huge maps for MP. Some of the ship designs are not as pretty as some would like, but they fit to the story line. Some complain that there isn't enough ship classes, I believe this also. But the developers have promised to add new ships and features. I will admit the story in SP is a little boring. But after the 5th Malus mission it gets a whole lot more interesting. Most people that rewiew the game never get that far. This game involves STRATEGY.
There are all these Homeworld and Hegemonia fanboys giving bad reviews to a superior game. Now I loved and still play Homeworld. It is truely what started its genure. If your looking for a Homeworld clone, don't buy O.R.B.
Hegemonia shouldn't even be compared to O.R.B. In my opinion it is Conquest: Frontier Wars redone. Sure it has pretty explosions. The graphics are too cartoonish for my taste. The scale is awful. I would only recommend this game if you like the C&C series. So you can use one type of unit to destroy everything.
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on June 6, 2010
I didn't like anything about this game, and I got it for cheap.

Well okay the graphics were nice, but even for a 4x game it was pretty lacking. Mostly the issue I had was that you'd constantly be swarmed with enemies very fast and easily, with almost nothing you can do to prevent this. Maybe it was a bug? Not sure, but it was extremely frustrating since I don't usually have this issue with 4x games.
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If you are a fan of Real-Time Strategy games then you will enjoy ORB because previous experience with RTS games will come in handy. Also recommended for 4X Space fans but not if you are turn-based 4X fans. On occasion the speed of the game can be daunting so you have to be on your toes, you might want to lock the door. A lot of unique additions to the genre make this a worthy purchase.
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on December 26, 2012
Received the game on time, It was more that I expected, I was able to track the package, and there was a note inside signed by the vendor, thatnk me for making the purchase. That was unexpected. Nice touch, I'll be bying form this vendor again. Package was new, as stated, the PC game worked right away, Manual was included,
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on August 21, 2006
ok game with limited margins for victory. hard to navigate in 3d mode 2d works better for me
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