Empire Universe 3 – Conquer the Universe from the Safety of Your Computer Chair
By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist
Empire Universe 3 is the third game in a series of Empire Universe games, brought to us by Looki Publishing. It is a browser-based empire-builder with focuses on RTS-style elements. You can choose from a selection of species and planets to start your empire on and expand by conquering, researching, and building. It aims to be the ultimate in browser-based sci-fi games.
Empire Building – Build your empire from the ground up and expand.
Resource Management – Conquer new plants and construct resource facilities to build your fleets.
Deploy Fleets – Build and control space ships, group them in to fleets and use them to expand and maintain your empire.
Tech Research – Develop your empires technology by training scientist to research.
Rich Sci-fi Setting – Choose from many different races, each unique to the Empire Universe lore.
Empire Universe 3 has every feature you could want from a space-themed empire builder. Resource management, conquering, tech advancement. It's all there. The good news is that with Empire Universe 3, you are getting the refined and polished features tried in the previous two games. The only feature I did not like was the long wait times when doing certain things, such as upgrading buildings or some advanced research.
Customization in Empire Universe 3 was actually nice for a browser-based empire builder. You get to choose from one of the many available races/species and you get to choose how your starting planet looks. Beyond the initial empire creation, you are given plenty of options to choose your own path in the game. Of course, there is a pretty linear research path, at least at first, but you are still presented with a lot of freedom in choices.
Empire Universe 3 has a lot of great art. It's got a fully functioning interface that allows you to quickly and easily access many different features. There is a tiny bit of animation to give the otherwise stale scenes a bit of life. Despite everything being text-based at its core, the game offers graphics for everything to make it a lot less of a headache to sift through the data. Overall, the graphics are OK for what the game is.
I was surprised by how fluid and smooth the interface in Empire Universe 3. I am used to clunky controls when it comes to Empire Builders. Everything is displayed in an easy to reach place, so you don't have to go through menu after menu just to figure out some tiny bit of information, yet at the same time it's not over-packed. Every button I clicked on responded quickly. I would say the controls were good overall.
I found the community in Empire Universe 3 to be extremely helpful. I had all my questions answered and received help and tips from vet players. I was invited in to a powerful alliance by a helpful player as soon as I got my government building up and functional. This is a game of alliances, so you will want to make friends. Interacting with those in the community will be important for expanding your empire.
With Empire Universe 3, you get your typical empire-building elements: City building, resource management, army creation, alliances, conquering new cities. However, it is given a new sci-fi skin and some new and neat features are thrown in to the mix. I've got to say that this was one of the more well thought-out empire-builders I've played. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on your perspective), the game takes a lot of time to accomplish things.
What I mean by the above is that the game has very long timers to accomplish objectives. An example is when I leveled by resource facility to level 2. That alone took over thirteen hours to complete. Luckily, every player is given access to the build queue for free. While I was talking to a vet players, who originally played Empire Universe 2, he said that a majority of people who quit the game do so because of the long timers.
Speaking of timers, there is only one way to shorten them, and that is with the cash shop money. Using real money, you can buy a special type of “crystal”. Using these crystals, you can greatly reduce, or completely eliminate, the timers on actions. In a game such as Empire Universe 3, this means that those with the bigger wallet could (potentially) have an advantage over others. I understand that the game needs to make money, though.
Like most empire-builders, you choose a race, start a city, and slowly build your empire from there and then expand out. Also like most empire-builders, you expand your available buildings and “troop” types by research. This game does not do it as linear as some games do, but there is a recommended “path” that most vet players will suggest you take so that you will not be at a complete disadvantage when you become vulnerable to attack.
To be honest, I was put off a lot by the long wait times, and it was hard for the game to hold my interest because of it. Sometimes it made sense, other times it did not. I have to admit that it does extend the lifespan of the available content though. It also means you need to play a decent amount of time before you can start doing some of the more fun things.
Empire Universe 3 is a decent game. If you do not mind the long timers and are looking for a game that only requires a small time investment each day, this could be what you are looking for. If you are looking for a game that is non-stop action, you aren't in the right place. I really enjoyed the deep sci-fi lore that the game has, and the game was easy to use thanks to the innovative user interface. This is great for what it is and I suggest anyone looking for a solid empire-builder check it out.
Overall: 3/5 – While a lot of the game is familiar if you've played empire-builders before, Empire Universe 3 still manages to build on the existing series and improve past most of the competition in this MMO niche.