Battlestar Galactica: Online is based on the re-imaging of the sci-fi television show, BSG from 2003. The game takes place following the events of the second season. Specifically, this is directly after the Colonials destroy the resurrection ship only to find they’ve become stranded with Cylons even more hell-bent on their destruction. Both sides are low on resources and lost in the vast expanse of unexplored space, and as it so happens it’s you’re job to blaze your way to victory for the few surviving humans.
After I loaded the Unity plugin provided by Bigpoint games (the developer) it was time to get into some 3D browser-based action. At the time of the review, Bigpoint was offering a bonus for the Cylons so I chose to go that route. The game loads and your greeted with a tutorial by a Number Six Cylon clone.
Immediately after seeing the user interface it was obvious; BSG:O is heavily influenced by Star Trek: Online. The interface contains 3 basic areas of importance; weapons/ammunition, ship controls & abilities.
When I completed the beginner tutorial, BSG:O let me create a Cylon character & ship. The character creation process is what you would expect from a browser-based game in that it sorely lacks features. You have 8 toggles to choose from and only 2 ships to start. However, later in the game you have an opportunity to pick up other ships not featured in the television series. On a side note, the “name your character” portion of character creation is poorly integrated into the game. Throughout my travels to NPC’s call me by my rank as opposed to my chosen name, “Incursion”.
My character is ready to go and it’s time to get into missions. Similar to Eve Online, you’ll never get to plant your feed on solid ground. However, between missions you have a chance to talk to Cavil in one of the base stars to select missions. This is fine but one of the great features of BSG:O’s father game ST:O is the ability to do ground missions.
Controlling your new ship can be a pain, especially if it’s fast. Basically, all of your movements are based on the typical ASWD keys to move up, down, left & right. The spacebar is used to accelerate but that option only allows for full speed or full stop. To vary your speed you’ll need to manually toggle the option. When you’re at full speed the ship is unwieldy to say the least. Even with a gentle tap on your movement keys the ship often spins so drastically you’ll find yourself with its tail-end toward an enemy missile bombardment. Firing your weapons is mired in problems intrinsic in the games design. Like ST:O you have to align your ship on a firing arc giving you a tiny window were your weapons will fire. Fortunately, the weapons allow you to toggle them to autofire making it a bit easier to hit the sweet spot as far as the firing arc goes.
The re-imagining of TV version of Battlestar Galactica features some of the best sound to ever pump through internal HDtv speakers. BSG:O lets you experience all of the fine music from the show all over again. However, in an apparent attempt to minimize the download size of the game, the designers went with lower quality audio files. In the way of sound effects, you’ll get the typical beeps and boops with nothing special to speak of. Overall, the sound is satisfactory but would have been greatly improved with the option to increase the audio quality for those with better internet connections.
You wouldn’t expect much on graphics front from a browser-based game but Battlestar Galactica Online really shines in this regard. Similar to Eve Online, you have your 3D ship with additional objects placed on an outer-space background. The inherit nature of sci-games allows even browser games to look good even with minimal 3D graphics. When you get to walk around in the base ship the lighting effects off of my Cylon centurion really made him/it feel like I was playing a full-fledged sci-fi MMORPG. For better or worse the ship and your moveable character are among the only objects that really look great. The NPC characters come off as muddy. The avatar pictures are low quality static images merely used to add a graphic in the mix of text in on-screen mission assistance. However, my biggest issue is with combat graphics. The ammunition, especially the missiles miss the mark when it comes to graphic effects, particularly the inability to see any major explosions when the objects hit the target.
BSG:O is a free to play game with the option of buying in-game currency. Games with this type of business model often leads to a lackluster experience for anyone not willing to spend their real world cash on virtual world items/abilities. BSG:O suffers from this same issue, even so it offers an adequate experience for what it is. Although, don’t expect it to have the immersion you would find in your typical $15 a month MMORPG.Read More