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Are there any good tactical space combat games?

PhroX

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Jan 12, 2009
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Yeah, it's one of those "help me find a game" threads.

Pretty much all the good space games I know are either 4x style like GalCiv or SotS, or straight up RTS games eg Homeworld and Sins. What I really want is a game that focuses just on the battles - no colony development, no resource collecting, no shipbuilding, just two spacefleets fighting each other, with an emphasis on things like maneuvering and firing arcs. Something like the tabletop wargames Battlefleet Gothic and Firestorm Armada, but on a computer.

Any ideas?
 
I was going to suggest AI War on Steam but since you specified JUST space battles... not sure.
 
Starfarer is like a combination of space combat sim and mount and blade. It's in beta now (you can buy in) and it recently added in a part of the campaign mode. Needless to say it's downright awesome.

Moreover there are a ton of mods out that give you new ship designs and virtually every sci-fi setting you can think of is represented via the modding community!


EDIT: Though it has some small management stuff, you can easily skip that and go straight to the battle mode. This mode just pits you into different one-off missions that focus on "Capture this spot" and "Kill these things". Again, the modding community (I believe) has provided a slew of scenarios you can download, and you can make your own. I also believe that the game will ship with a skirmish mode.

Seriously though, the combat in this game is tons of fun. Try the demo.


EDIT EDIT: Also, if you can stomach some management stuff as well (ship building) I would say take a look at Space Pirates and Zombies. Silly as the name is, it does have a pretty nifty engine behind it and the combat is tons of fun. Again, there is management involved, but nothing too overwhelming imo. However, it's not a strict combat game due to aforementioned ship management and its mission-based system.
 
Starfarer certainly seems interesting and I'll definitely give the demo a try.

I don't mind a little in-between mission resource/ship management stuff, like repairing my fleet and buying new ships or whatever, I just don't want to have to build colonies or collect resources and so on. Something along the lines of, say, Mechcommander, but with spaceships instead of giant stompy robots...
 
Well I suggest you check out both SPAZ and Starfarer!

EDIT: Also, Soldak (who are the maker of such greats like Din's Curse and Depths of Peril) is making a kind of spaceship diablo-like. Actually that does not do it any justice, though it's the closest I can come to putting it into words. You are not the hero at all in the game and there are huge space empires around you that will grow and evolve and be all procedural all on their own—you can help them if you like or you can faff about in space. Anyway I suggest you check it out.
 
Well I suggest you check out both SPAZ and Starfarer!

I was about to recommend SPAZ. I think this Starfarer looks like it has higher production values though.

There was also a freeware vector graphics game that was similar and basically a toolkit with some scenarios.


Pretty much I'd describe these games as 2D high-def versions of Homeworld, without much RTS economy.
 
Oh! I just remembered something - Freelancer.

It's heavily economics based but the real joy and purpose of the game is to get ships and blow stuff up, and dog-fights are a blast in it (although the learning curve is steep).

There are community mods for it that make the game much more playable and the online servers are much larger with the mods attached.
 
Nexus: The Jupiter incident comes to mind. It's quite Homeworld-like in its gameplay, and I don't *think* it involves any resource management. It's been a while since I played it.
 
Learning curve isn't very steep :p

I meant learning curve is steep in the sense that it takes a week or two to get into the routine of things, memorizing cargo routes, knowing where the best missions are, and knowing where the territories are so bandits and other factions can't pick you off and loot you. The community mod vastly increases game opportunity and complexity from the original.
 
X3 ????
Its pretty hardcore simulation, which requires huge investment of time and steep learning curve.
Probably better to wait for X-Rebirth
 
X3 has the learning curve of a brick wall. For years now I have been trying to play the game and for years it has left me wallowing in my own stupidity.
 
Nexus looks to be pretty much spot on for what I'm looking for and it's only £6 on steam, so I'll pick it up. Freelancer and X3 are, again, very good games, but a) I've already got them and b) they're more about piloting your ship, rather than commanding a battle, so aren't what I'm after at this moment.

But I've certainly picked up a few good ideas, so thanks guys :)
 
I meant learning curve is steep in the sense that it takes a week or two to get into the routine of things, memorizing cargo routes, knowing where the best missions are, and knowing where the territories are so bandits and other factions can't pick you off and loot you. The community mod vastly increases game opportunity and complexity from the original.

None of which is very hard, which doesn't make the learning curve steep at all, just long(ish).
 
For tactical space battles you might want to try Star Trek Online. Its free to play and the space battles are quite tactical (firing arcs, maneuvering ...) but you will only command your own ship and there will be (annoying) ground missions.
 
I would recommend Star Wars: Empire at war, but there is all the shipbuilding thing however there is a pure battle mode.
 
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