I’ll have to admit that this week’s Monday Night Noob was a bit of a wash. Not only was I really exhausted and ended up going to sleep early, but my chosen game of the week — Battlestar Galactica Online — simply bugged out in the middle of the tutorial (!), and I didn’t have the energy to do it all over again.
That said, I do have a few first impressions to share. The game is free-to-play, and actually works within a browser. I was intrigued if a browser-based space combat game would, y’know, work, and the answer is, “Sorta.” It is impressive that the Unity engine can pull off this, and it’s serviceable if not incredibly attractive. I was less thrilled with the controls, which felt very sluggish no matter if I used the mouse or keyboard.
Combat is a simple matter of choosing a weapon, targeting an enemy and then keeping the nose of your ship roughly pointed in that direction while it automatically fires. Sound-wise it’s spot-on, but there’s no skill to it whatsoever.
The IP is probably the best part of the game, especially considering how beloved the reimagined series was. My wife and I loved BSG during its four-season run, and when the game’s music kicked in, she immediately knew what I was doing without seeing the screen. It’s cool to see the ships, jump into a Raptor or Viper, and kind of feel like you’re part of the show.
The population of the game is heavily weighted toward the Colonial side, as any sensible person might’ve predicted. As such, the game is handing out incentives to play as Cylons, but I don’t know if that’d be enough. The show didn’t really make you like the Cylons, so that faction feels shoehorned in.
So anyway, I played through part of the tutorial up to a point where it was giving me instructions to do something that couldn’t be done. I spent a half hour flying around, clicking on everything, trying to figure it out, and then giving up. I’m sorry, but if I can’t get through your tutorial without it bugging and/or being way too obscure, then it does not bode well for greenhorns who stumble into the game.
All in all, I’m not inclined to go back. At best, Battlestar Galactica Online screams “mediocre!”, which isn’t a ringing endorsement.