The Master of Orion series is synonymous with addictive turn-based strategy gameplay. Though the premise--choosing a unique alien race and then leading it in a galactic quest for glory--isn't new, there is something about the series that draws people back. Is it the original take on the diplomatic, economic, military, and exploratory components of galactic conquest? Is it the intrigue of the Antarans, an ancient and predatory race that always seems to pop out of hyperspace to attack at just the wrong time? Is it the sense of accomplishment that comes from building a functioning interstellar empire? Frankly, I don't know. But for whatever reason, these games are notorious for creating a bad case of Just One More Turn syndrome.
Master of Orion 3, then, has large shoes to fill. Appropriately, "bigger" is one of the best adjectives that can be used to describe this third installment. Fans of micromanagement are in for a treat, as the most noticeable new feature is the vast number of options available. The level of control is nice, but can be overwhelming--you'll sometimes find yourself swimming in a sea of menus, interconnected sliders, and check boxes. The array of empire management tools are all used to advance along one of three paths to victory: dominating your enemies militarily, getting elected as president of the Orion senate, or finding all five hidden artifacts.
Each planet in your empire has many components that must be managed individually--including taxes, build queues, regional zoning, terraforming, resource collection, economic infrastructure development, and military versus planetary spending limits. Successful management leads to a productive planet; mismanagement results in revolt and unrest. A vital addition to the game is an AI viceroy for each planet. Viceroys will carry out mundane work based on empire-wide policies you can set, but don't expect them to do exactly what you want very often. And even with the help of viceroys, the galactic scale is no less daunting. You must manage not only a galactic budget and research, but also diplomatic relations, spy infiltration, and military development and deployment. The manner in which the player interacts with the Orion senate is new to MoO3. You can now become a member of the senate and use it to impose sanctions or declare war on other alien races.
When diplomatic negotiations fail, space and ground combat become necessary. You assign task forces mission types that include long-range attack, short-range attack, point-defense, indirect fire, and reconnaissance. Ground forces are likewise grouped into task forces based on their size and strength. Once in combat, you can opt to control things directly or sit back and let the computer take care of everything. You can even skip combat altogether and jump right to the outcome--the fastest and easiest way to manage battles.
In the end, Masters of Orion 3 succeeds with compelling gameplay that will leave you engrossed for hours (or days) at a time. Thanks to the strategic depth of the game, vast number of management options, diverse and interesting alien races, a randomly generated universe, and a sprawling technology tree, no two games will be alike. Though dense and complex, the payoff is well worth the effort. MoO3 is a fantastic title perfect for anyone who enjoys strategy games. --Jon "Safety Monkey" Grover
- Engaging and immersive gameplay
- More depth, longer games, and greater diversity
- Addictive--expect to dump eight hours into a single session
- Multiplayer includes a turn-limits option and financial benefits for brief turns
- Calling it "graphically dated" is being polite
- Incredible complexity may leave a lot of gamers confused
- Productivity, social life, family, and personal hygiene may suffer
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
Masters of Orion 3, Sep 10, 2023
Someone managed to take a fun simple game and create a monster.
There are some screnes that pop up from one screne, but when you close them you are not back where you started from. This makes several things in the game rather tedious.
Also you can no longer create your own race without starting with one of the game races. There is no way to set up a unique race that lives in any atmosphere, because someone thought you shouldn't be able to.
The game has some good ideas, but poor execution makes it rather less fun to play than the previous versions.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
The Gamers (players) have been busy -- see the Atari Forum, Sep 9, 2023
Well, some players are still at it with this game. Yes, the game can be huge or it can also be small with a small cluster of stars and less AI players, even if there is still any multiplayer going on with some players (I do not play multiplayer so I do not know). This is mainly a strategy game of immense size and and your task is to take control of the Galaxy which has been taken over by the New Orions (benign sect of the old war Antarans), and no one knows what happened to the orginal Orions, but the story is in the manual with the game.
However at this time, I wanted to point out that players have changed some text files that had errors in them (call them corrected), found out many things about the game and how it plays, and also found a EUIBase editor built into the game. Although the game can not totally be changed around, so much work has been done modding text files, graphics, and sounds all found at a fan website for downloading(check the Atari Forum for details) that more time is being spent now with the UI Editor built into the game. This of course, will change font sizes, and players are making UI interface corresponding adjustments to the game, so it can be played even better than before. Also the mods will test your skills, and many other mods done to this game. So with the built-in Editor (EUIBase) and using some text lines in a Moo3Settings.ini file, further items of the game will be looked at. The details on anyone who owns this game able to use that built-in editor is over at the Atari Forum, and anyone who has this game, can use it, and change most things around. Just as an example, I have changed the bottom command buttons of the different areas to a smaller size (20 pixels) the top bar of the main screen galaxy map, and the fonts sizes (except on the stars) to make the main screen map -- around 38-40 pixels more star map. Others are working on a kind of 1024 mode sort of graphic changes however the game was still made to work only really with 800 x 600 resolution. However, the game will play in a quasi-1024 mode and it is built into the game. However, the player are feverishly working on the graphics with the EUIBase editor to finish making the 1024 mode behave a little better. Some lists will be longer, and others can not be changed (planets) but the game still can be played, and now even with the fonts supplied with the game. All in all, exciting times are ahead by all the players who have modded this game, found this built-in editor and have complimented making the MOO3 game better, and perhaps, much better than when it first came out. Check it out, for those playing the game, what the players have done, perhaps you will find exciting, as much as the forums explain much about the game not usually found in the manual or the encyclopedia that came with the game. The game really has no equals with its immense size and sheer number of AI players that can play or sneak into the game being magnate civilizations. The rest will be up to you, to become -- Master of Orion again!
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
Cool, Aug 27, 2023
I like a lot of the new features, but i miss some aspects of M.O.O.2 that are missing in 3. With any luck, there will be a M.O.O.4 that will combine the best of 2 & 3.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
MOO 3 - A great game of grand strategy and macro management, Aug 16, 2023
So... after waiting for a good long time after it came out, having been dissuaded very strongly by the horrendous critiques of the game post-release, I purchased the game last week.
Does it deserve to be called MOO3? NO.
Is it terribly addictive and fun? YES.
Aside from the name "Masters of Orion 3" this could have been entitled anything, and the races re-named and it would have been fine and dandy. This is, in fact, a VERY different game than the first two beloved MOO games. In MOO 1 and 2, the interface was clear, simple and you had direct control over all things.
MOO 3 on the other hand is a completely different game. The first couple of games you will howl in frustration as you realize your prople are a little more free-spirited and independant than your MOO 1 and 2 citizens, and you cannot quite Stalinisticly relocate them across the universe on whim. You will also find the terror of the fact that your ship captains and task force admirals also have minds of their own and don't have time in the heat of real time battle to listen to some bumbling head of state. :oo
It really is a game about policy directives. They should call it Space Administrator.... and that's the way I love it! :) I am really starting to appreciate the beauty of this game. And while most things have been impersonalized and drawn further away from your control.... some things are improved upon: Spies now have individual names and missions they are trained for. Inserting and extracting them in enemy territory is challenging... but even if they get caught.. sometimes they escape! :D
Some problems with the game include certain blue-grey on blue-grey tab menus... which for the first couple of games you think are just part of the background art. :p Also, the controls are incredibly counter-intuitive. One thing you will miss from MOO1/2 is turn-by-turn space battles. Now they are in fairly FAST real time situations. One con related to this is that the task forces you build have very set parameters (the combination of ships you can have) and I am not quite sure what the rationale is for this.
Armies are alot more fun... no more generic soldiers landing, but companies with mobile and marine attachments as well as command and psy-op components. You usually have to fight to land and secure some groung and then fight sector by sector. Oh, did I mention that individual planets have different sectors?
The story is VERY important to playing game and enjoying it. Before you play, I would read the whole manual/story. You will note that it is a solipsistic power trip of recasting the MOO universe into their scheme of things and to explain why none of the alien races look like they did in the previous games, or some are missing.... but it is still in good fun.
The manual is flawed.
The Galactic encyclopedia is useless.
It hasn't been patched in a year.
The learning curve is steep.
But I am honestly having more fun with this game than I have any other strategy game since Europa Universalis 2 or MOO2. :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A somewhat positive review!!!, Aug 2, 2023
Everything bad that you've heard about this game is true. But, after playing it for a while, it got rather addicting. When I first started playing it I couldn't stand it. But, out of shear boredom, I kept at it. After some time I couldn't pull myself away from it. Now, it's still not as good as MOO2. I still find MANY faults in the game, but for some reason I can't stop playing it.
There is a certain feeling of being disconnected from what is going on. With little input from you, the game will kind of play itself. Also I find it frustrating that you can't tell planets what to build, or more importantly, what not to build. In a large game, you can have hundreds of planets under your control, and it just isn't feasible to go through ever one of them telling them to make certain things. For example...I have tons of ground troops already, yet the game keeps building them even though I want my planets to build ships instead. There is no way to just tell all your planets to just build a certain thing. And, when you are under constant attack and ships are running low, it's enough to pull your hair out when your planets keep making ground troops that you have no need for.
It took me a long time to figure out just how combat occurred. You can only take 10 groups of ships into combat at a time. Each group can have 18 ships, making a total of 180 ships in each battle per turn. The instruction manual says you can have more, but I've found it to be a rather useless and inaccurate source of information. It took me forever to figure out that if I wanted to invade a planet with ground troops, that I had to send only 9 groups of combat ships, and one group of troop ships. If you send more your troop ships may sit on the sidelines as only 10 groups total can be involved per turn.
When I defeated the Orions, I got nothing special for my trouble. No super weapons or special ship class. You can find Anteran artifacts, but they aren't quite what they were in MOO2. I'm not really even sure why the Orions are even in the game as they make no contribution to it. They never go to war against me, I can't steal any of their technology because their boarders are too well protected. They seem to have no real function at all in the game.
I had a lot of false starts when I started playing the game. Start a new game, get frustrated and just start a new one. I think most of this was just from a lack of understanding of some of the basic concepts, or more so that the instruction manual doesn't explain them at all. Here is a couple examples of how inaccurate the manual is...
The largest group of ships you can have is called an Armada. In an armada, you can have a total of 18 ships. But, when you read the instruction manual, it says it has 33 to 64 ships.
They have types of ships in order
Instruction manual -- In the game
Lancer ------------- Lancer
Cutter ------------- Cutter
Corvette ----------- Corvette
Frigate ------------- Frigate
Destroyer ---------- Destroyer
Light Cruiser -------- Light Cruiser
Cruiser ------------- Cruiser
Battle Cruiser ------- Battle Cruiser
Dread Cruiser ------- Battleship
Dreadnought -------- Dreadnought
Battleship ---------- Super Dreadnought
Titan --------------- Titan
Behemoth ----------- Behemoth
Leviathan ----------- Leviathan
Just look at that discrepancy. The manual is full of them. Who wrote this thing?
Anyway, for all it's faults, I still find this game very addicting. I'm not saying I love it, but I can't seem to stop playing it.