Homeworld 3 - Fig / Gearbox / Blackbird Interactive

I finished the campaign this morning and while I thought the story and cutscenes sucked I really enjoyed the missions and overall gameplay experience (some UI issues aside). The pacing is much faster than previous Homeworld games, and once the campaign gets underway you are rarely given space to breathe. The enemy rarely lets up and you often find yourself lurching from one crisis to the next. It works for what it wants to do, and there are some very cool looking levels and ideas that were never attempted (or possible) in previous games. However, part of me really misses the occasionally languid pacing of the original; that sense of tentatively stepping into the unknown. Homeworld 3 is much less an odyssey and instead more a relentless military incursion.

It looks great and the pilot chatter is on point; late in my campaign there was an open mic moment where someone started complaining about the rations, not sure if that was scripted to play during that specific mission or was more ‘random event’, but I honestly loved it. The chatter always adds such an essential emotional layer to Homeworld. It humanizes things in a way no other RTS I’ve ever played has even bothered to try. I feel bad when my toys blow up, even if they do sometimes totally deserve it (interceptors taking it upon themselves to attack a whole mess of anti-strikecraft turrets. Idiots! Think of your families!).

So it’s a great sequel in many ways and I had a good enough time that I wouldn’t want to discourage people from buying it. It’s just a real shame for me personally that they nailed much of the gameplay but missed the mark on the overall vibe of the campaign.

How’s the roguelike portion? I’ve seen a review that says the game, the campaign is fine, if very easy when played on lower than hard because of the ability to cheese the system by overbuilding your fleet on earlier levels, but that the roguelike is awesome, though it needs them to implement pause.

I felt the same way about Homeworld 2. Sad that the story in this one doesn’t seem much better.

As far as story goes, I think I’d rank them like this:

Homeworld 1
Homeworld Catalysm
Deserts of Kharak
Homeworld 2

Not sure yet where Homeworld 3 would fit in there.

I only played a brief 30 mins of it yesterday; it seemed fun/interesting - I was surprised that you just start with a carrier and not the mothership, and your unit cap seems very tight starting out. However, I had to go out and I don’t think there was a way to save even between levels. Roguelike or no people need to take breaks!

Pretty much the order I’d stick them in, and unfortunately this was definitely far worse than Homeworld 2. :( Homeworld 2 was all ‘prophecy this, prophecy thablah blah BLAH’ and this is more… YAS QUEEN, I guess.

Yeah, that’s a dumb game designer idea, why would anyone ever need to leave my game unfinished / pause for a bit?

Just dumb.

If you’re not using it, can I have your deck of cards?

Do not want. : (

Whoa, quicker pacing, indeed! : )

I have no idea how a rogue-like mode would work in an RTS, but I’m pretty sure it merits a “Do want!”

Wait a sec, this just in:

So no pause, and no way to save? Suddenly this rogue-like mode is looking a lot less attractive.

I’d have thought the same seeing it described that way, but it actually works out ok because you can pause and slow down time to 3/4, 2/4 and 1/4 speed when it gets to be a bit much. Though this isn’t an option anywhere but the campaign, currently. The battles look and feel really cool in slow mo.

That said it can still get overwhelming at times! I had to tweak some of the game options halfway through the campaign to make it a bit more readable due to the amount of stuff flying around (I disabled NLIPS, and set it so ship symbols are always shown regardless of distance).

My only complaint with the slow mo is that it also slows down the UI for some stupid reason. But it works well enough regardless.

I suspect it’s like this because it’s also playable multiplayer and saving/pausing/slowing the game adds complexity to that. Hopefully they’ll implement it in future.

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I played all the games (I think most were bargain bill when I got to them) but only remember this moment from Cataclysm:

I was playing a skirmish against 1+ AI players, turtling and toying with them. “I got these guys!” as I tech up and buy more ships and cool stuff. Out of nowhere comes some sort of black hole/doomsday projectile from afar and my fleet gets completely exploded. That’s one of the few “WTF!!!” moments I remember from gaming.

Game is out for the wider audience now, and… ouch
54% positive on Steam. Tough crowd.

Sometimes I think Steam ratings do more harm than good overall. I can’t count the number of times I have found a cool game on Steam, recommended it to my friends, and had them tell me that “they aren’t interested because the Steam rating isn’t super positive”.

In the flip side, there are so many early access games with much higher ratings that they should have since people rate them “based on their potential” rather than their current state (even if it is shite).

The problem I have with steam reviews is that it uses the Rotten Tomatoes system, of yay / nay, and it’s too binary. Sometimes I see games that have a super positive average, like 91% for example, and I play it and it’s underwhelming. Like, games that are a 6.5/10 on my scale, so I can see why people scored it positively, as I also would have given it the thumb up if I only have two choices, thumbs up or thumbs down, but following that line of reasoning, the 91% positive only meant there was a wide agreement the game was decent, not that lots of people thought is was very good.

With any review aggregator you have to actually read some of the reviews

This is damning. Homeworld 2 was a massive disappointment, and you guys are saying Homeworld 3 is even worse? Yikes!

I mean, the story is apparently not that great. Which, look, when the first game in your series is Homeworld 1, you might have done your best in that regard on the very first game.

Do you like the gameplay though?

Yeah, going into any RTS expecting a good story is a mug’s game. It’s just we got spoiled with the first one.

It isn’t like Homeworld 1 had THAT much of a story, but it was well executed, it was easy to grasp, it supported the gameplay (the idea of your persistent fleet between mission), it was in fact told through the game itself and not long cutscenes (Kharak burning while you evacuate…) as far as possible, and the cutscenes it had, they had a minimalist, sober tone to them that gave a distinctive style to the game, with a focus on the big epic of your people, not on what character A or B said or did.
Oh yeah, and not freaking magic/mystical tones on the story in the scifi. People are tired of that trope.

Huge HW fan, but it sounds like this needs a little more time in the oven. I don’t mind waiting for a sale since I don’t have a ton of time right now.

Have the Fig backer keys been sent out? I haven’t received anything.

Having played both the first Homeworld and Cataclysm extensively I was cautiously hopeful to see how this turned out.

It’s sitting at 50% on Steam and the negative reviews paint a bleak picture. Requires Denuvo, bad pathfinding, no real strategy required, and the campaign storyline apparently leans even harder into the mystical bullshit that was the worst thing about Homeworld 2. Even the positive reviews I’ve read tend to mention multiple negatives.

Hopes dashed I suppose.