First Impressions

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First Impressions

Post by cmolisa0 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:30 pm

Longtime Civ/SMAC fan here. I don't know much about Pandora going into my first time playing the beta, I haven't been following its development, all I know is that it is similar in concept and theme to SMAC. I know this is a different game and that ultimately it's not trying to be SMAC, however given the two games' similarities, comparisons are inevitably going to be drawn.

What I like:
- Different kinds of aliens (better than just mindworms all game long)
- Keeping workshop simple (upgrading units in the workshop is simple with drop down menus, no need to clutter up the screen with too many options. I always felt overwhelmed by SMAC's workshop)
- Variety of diplomatic options (I like the rules that accompany diplomacy, ie not getting asked for map trades every turn by the AI)
- Familiar yet fresh (This world is familiar and new all at the same time. It's a fine line that I think you're mostly hitting)
- News reporter (When a faction was eliminated this news reporter popped up on the screen and announced it! Didn't see her used for any other major events though... maybe I just haven't encountered them, but I just think that's a novel idea and thinks she should be used for more [starts of war, peace agreements, rising tensions, alliances formed or broken, diplomatic faux pas, maybe she can announce lists of leaders in stats like best economy/military ect...])

What I don't like:
- Cartoony (I've seen this complaint elsewhere. I know it's likely due to budget constraints, but the art style for the leaders is meh. SMAC's portraits seemed very alive and had flavor, these seem very generic. Also, why is it such a WASP party? I would think some other ethnic groups might make it into space)
- Half-baked philosophy (not a fan of some of the quotes used for discovering new technologies. I don't know if they're made up or not, I don't think I've encountered any legitimate quotes from actual scientists or thinkers yet. You can't put it better than the likes of Arthur C. Clarke or Plato or Mao Zedong... so don't try. I also don't think it's the sometimes flatfooted attempts at humor that's the problem, games like Galactic Civs II have their quirky humor and charm, THAT can work with some editing, it's just I think it's clear that the writer isn't a philosopher)
- Social Engineering? (Maybe I'm missing this part of the game, but shouldn't there be some sort of social engineering? This was my favorite part of SMAC: it created unique rivalries and tensions between the factions that normal diplomatic relations could not. It seems like some factions are natural enemies, though the Ascension did not act any more aggressively towards my Togra University than any other faction. Also, the unique bonuses to each faction seem too small to alter strategy to the game, there should be other bonuses so I can carve out my own path)
- Icons and text (everything seems really tiny, and I have a fairly large screen. I should not be squinting to read what updates there are. Increasing the size of these would certainly help out my eyes)
- Winning? (I'm not sure which ways I can win? Maybe that's not included in the beta, but I'm not exactly sure what my goal is here. Obviously there must be some sort of military victory, but should we expect a science and economic victory as well? In a game tied closely with ideologies it would seem like each faction could also have it's own victory condition: like the religious people convert everyone else, or the nature people are able to create some sort of Eden-utopia, or the corporate guys control all the money... but there would still be conflict because a faction's rival would never submit to their victory conditions: the university would never convert to the religious zealots beliefs; the corporate polluters would prevent the nature people from attaining harmony with nature: the other side would have to be elimianted...
- Maybe a little too familiar... (I was hoping for a fresh approach to some of the factions. These seem like basic cookie cutter copies from SMAC. If there's a sequel are we going to get a seafaring faction, and computer hackers, and two alien factions constantly at war... I hope not. It's a great formula, but don't be afraid to branch out on your own a little bit. The factions are the most important part of the game!)

Overall... I'm enjoying the game, I'm a sucker for this type of strategy game. I think with some adjustments this could be a truly great game maybe that someday people will speak of a spiritual successor to PFC rather than SMAC, however the former has to step out of the latter's shadow first. I hope you have enough time to do that before release... I'm rooting for you guys...

Corporal - Strongpoint
Corporal - Strongpoint
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Re: First Impressions

Post by dalves » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:46 pm

The victory conditions can be seen on the advanced options screen, at the start of a new game, and when you hover your cursor over the buttons to open the military, economic and research menus (each one corresponding to one victory condition).

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