Dead Star Video Game Review: Desolate Space

Dead Star is a MOBA based in space essentially with variations to the map formation and structure that separate it from LoL or Dota. I’ve never personally been a huge fan of these types of game but can appreciate that others live to play solely this game type. That being said let’s take a look to see if Dead Star is worthy of your purchase or if you should just stick with other more well known MOBA games.

Dead Star like other MOBA’s doesn’t have a single player mode outside of fighting bots and it merely relies on it’s Conquest mode to keep players around. The mode is designed around capturing bases, upgrading them, and trying to either reach a certain point threshold before your opponent or by capturing their home base. Points are gained by the number of bases, increasing their level, and by killing enemy ships. Upgrading bases requires you to destroy floating asteroids that contain crystals which you collect and transport to the base you wish to upgrade giving it turrets, mines, etc.  There are some enemy bots that hang around the outskirts of bases and sometimes a huge event happens where this capital bot ships joins the fray for around ten minutes. This feels like a very simple yet good design choice. It gives players the option to choose between blitzing the enemy bases as quickly as possible and building up defenses to ward off enemy attacks and slowly gain more points per second. The only significant problem I found with the design was the way to upgrade bases. Going around destroying asteroids and flying the material back to the base really subverted the flow of the game. While other players might be rushing off to take bases or fighting enemy ships flying around just collecting crystals for upgrades just felt dull. Possibly speeding up the process (especially because slower ships hold more cargo) or designing differently might have been better.

A problem not pertaining to the design of Conquest is that it was the only game type available. There was an escape mode available but from what I have read the the contract drops needed to play this game type are few and far between. Leaving Conquest to be the only available game type was a mistake. It significantly lowers the replay ability for those who might like the ship designs and space atmosphere but aren’t really in to the repetitive MOBA aspects of the game.

The graphics are actually pretty darn great in this game. The backdrop of pace is dead on gorgeous with debris moving in the background and the colorful planets. The ships are especially great looking but are sometimes hampered by the engine colors which are so bright it nearly takes away from the well crafted ship designs. The debris around bases and asteroids were decent looking and showed off some of the good lighting effects in the game. I wasn’t a particular fan of the sound and music design though. The games sound effects for certain attacks didn’t have much of a punch and some were kind of annoyingly high pitched. Having a more ominous music selection instead of the same track as the menu would have been more fitting for battles as well.

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Having more options for ships would have made the issue of essentially one game type not that big of an issue. However, the game only has 12 ships (plus 3 more with DLC). To give credit where it is due, the design of each ship is pretty neat. Each has it’s own abilities to unlock/upgrade and each offers a different play style. Certain ships might have the ability to go invisible and disable other players ships while another might be super fast with rapid fire power. The design was unquestionably well thought out and players are given the opportunity to upgrade them throughout the match as they level up (unless the match type starts you at a maxed out level which kind of makes the match less interesting). Games like LoL and Dota offer players a ton of hero options to choose from before going to battle. Equipping certain items and learning how these heroes play is part of the fun in those games. While players can undoubtedly increase their skill level and constantly learn how to be better and what upgrade combinations work the best, there really wasn’t enough variety to justify only 12 ships and one game type. Outside of the ships and game types there is an augmentation system that lets you improve certain aspects of your ships by collecting certain tokens after each match.

Dead Star sadly feels kind of like a dead game to me personally. With there being other games to satisfy this market demand available, I don’t see to much of a reason to play it. The design behind the ships and game types was good and moving in the right direction. The graphics weren’t amazing but they were fairly good especially the backgrounds for the environment. Music and sound designed good use some big improvements. Lack of more options, replay ability, and content was a really big negative for me when playing this game. Honestly I felt pretty bored while playing through this game and I’m glad I got it on PSN for free. If it looks interesting to you from the gameplay videos I provide you can get it for $20 on Steam and PSN (with crossplay available). Outside of that I would recommend players not to purchase it or wait for a deep sale.

Grade:C-/D+

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