By Kei Beneza (Dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Star Sonata is an isometric 3dMMO that lets players live the life of a space pilot (or supreme commander), and by that I mean fictional ones like those from Star Wars and Star Trek. No, you won't be trekking around the place but it's not like anyone can resist piloting a spaceship and moving around to explore the galaxy. The game doesn't require much time for your character to progress. You could say that this game is perfect for random casual knacks of gaming.
The game looks like Spore (in its early stages) in outer space. You'll be gliding across the galaxy with asteroid belts and everything. You'll be doing missions on order to level up your character or in this case, your ship. Though you may think that this is all the game has to offer, might I say that Star Sonata is a bit broader than just duels in outer space.
Nerds UniteIn Space
Star Sonata lets players build their own colonies in order to increase their level of income. It really does feel like you're building a real colony in outer space since you'll need to focus on specific things in order to keep it going. Aside from the blueprints and materials, you, as this colony's overlord must have an assurance regarding how feasible it would be to live in your colonial base. Certain things like the planet's suitability for livingand colonial accommodation may greatly affect your plans for colonization so do be careful on which planet you pick.
Can This BeCalled Character Creation?
Unlike other MMOs, the game doesn't have much to offer when it comes to character creation. It however, strongly makes up for it by letting you choose your own build as your character progresses. Missions and even combat generate experience points that level up your character. Each level gives you some points that you can distribute on your desired stat (or skill). The point of the game is really simple: get the best ship and conquer the universe (or maybe I just exaggerated a bit).Other upgrades can be unlocked through skill purchase, and your ship may even change its shape as you continue to distribute more points. It's more of 'growing into the character' rather than basing things on archetypes. Since this IS an MMO, cash and other currencies are acquired through conditions. This means that you'd have to focus on your colonies and bringing down enemy units if ever you're itching for more cash.
Graphics and visuals
The graphics are outdated but they are still impressive, since making it better would be irrelevant for this type of game. The ships are composed of a couple of gradient shapes that are particularly molded into the form of a ship. The blasts and rays are merely just blurry white lines with the outer-glow effect, which is no different from the ones we see on TV. The game does serve as eye candy every time the screen gets hogged by laser lights and awesome explosions. The elements bode well together, especially during those 'beamy' space wars. When you look at the entire thing as a whole, you'd know that nothing would ever seem to be out of place. Outer space is mostly dark so I don't think that that much graphic detail would be required, unless you want to see a highly rendered star which won't really help much. Exploring the game and seeing new elements is pretty satisfying. You definitely won't be disappointed at what this old sucker's got to offer.
"SIR! The Ship has taken a heavy blow! We have to turn it around!"
The game's controls are easy to get used to. It's actually more of the primitive tank controls which consist of: left, right, and forward. A bit confusing at first, but you'll grow into it as time progresses. You can also control (or command) a series of vessels that will aid you on either your missions or enemy combat. There's still a limit in launching these NPCs but the numbers are probably good enough to satisfy your urge for more spacewar goodness.
Be Aware Of...
The game runs on a persistent world and a lot of players will be there to either help you or destroy you. The community is pretty decent, making it a lot better to indicate that this is indeed an MMO game (note massively multiplayer online). The in game possibilities are still quite profound, so you really have to think well before you go around and build your colonies. Although the control's learning curve is quite short, some of the game's elements are still hard to figure out. The game doesn't offer many tutorials so you might as well jump in and hope that you get used to it before you get blown to space dust.
Working with other players is more mandatory than optional since the game does have a certain ring when it comes to difficulty. Other than the need to have someone explain the basics, you'd probably trek around with these people in order to build your character to perfection.
It's time for a ship check! - The verdict
First of all, I would like to recommend this game to anyone who appreciates casual gaming. The game has a healthy community that will let you enjoy the game further. As far as graphics would go, I'd say that the game looks pretty decent but not as good as the most up to date games. The sounds are terrible (and I mean TERRIBLE), you'll be hearing nothing but sounds generated back then during the DOS games era. The controls are ok but the game's learning curve is pretty long, so I guess you should be thankful that other players can tutor you online. Some of the features tend to help you out by functioning on their own. The AI vessels will try to protect your base from enemy attackers regardless of your orders, while the errand units do tradeoffs in order to ease your workload. I think it's a good idea that the game doesn't let you handle too many responsibilities. I guess this makes up for the game's lack of proper tutorials. The game is good and is much better than any other game that shares its genre. If you're looking for a space adventure, then this game is definitely for you.