An epic struggle between good and evil, man and machine, faith and
despair…all of this was portrayed in the epic sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica
The saga of the human colonists seeking to survive against the Cylon
machines that they had created struck a chord with millions of fans,
and now those fans can join the fight online as either a human or a Cylon. To
see how the game measures up, Ten Ton Hammer climbed into a cockpit and
joined the fray.
by Bigpoint, is a free-to-play browser-based MMOG. The game is
currently in open beta, and takes place after the Cylon resurrection
ship was destroyed in the TV series. What came next, for game purposes,
was that the human and Cylon fleets were engaged in a titanic battle.
When the humans tried to jump out and escape, something happened, and
both fleets were dragged through hyperspace to a distant quadrant of
space that neither side had explored. Both fleets are severely damaged
and are looking for any resources that they can lay their hands on. So,
as you might surmise, BSGO
is a space-combat game with a heavy emphasis on resource gathering.
Heading towards a fight!
Once you create an account and log in, you must choose between the
human and Cylon faction. Once you make your choice, you’re
allowed to customize your avatar a bit. This part is low traction;
you’ll never see another player walking around in the game,
and you’ll be spending 95+% of your time in the cockpit of
You’ll begin the game at your respective side’s
main base of operations – either a basestar or a battlestar.,
where you’ll receive your daily missions and the occasional
special mission. I chose to play a Cylon so I could destroy the whiny
human colonists. I…have…a…plan.
None, besides the usual “your online experience may
change.” Since BSGO
isn’t likely to see retail shelf space, we’re not
likely to see a formal ESRB rating for it.
The gameplay in BSGO
boils down to two components: resource gathering and space combat. One
component is done amazingly well, while the other…not so
much. You will spend the vast majority of your time within the confines
of your ship’s cockpit. When you dock with a base,
you’ll be in a solo instance to buy equipment, repair
systems, and get missions. There is no crafting, intricate storylines,
grand exploration, or any other aspects of normal MMOGs. Here, you mine
resources and fight against the opposing faction.
The core of your BSGO
experience is your ship. There are three classes of ships in the game -
light, medium, and heavy - and each faction has 3 ships in each weight
class. You start with a light class ship, and gain access to the other
two types at levels 10 and 20. The bigger the class, the more weapons,
hull, engines, and other components you can squeeze into it. The higher
class of ship weapons does better damage than a lower class, but it is
feasible for smaller ships to destroy a larger one using swarm tactics.
In addition, the ships are customizable, so if you have a preference
for one type of weapon or engine over another, you can exercise that
option. Each ship has a fixed number of mounts for weapons, engine,
hull, and computer. You can have more than one ship; you just choose
which ship you want to command at the present time.
Space combat is a blast. Going toe-to-toe with enemy ships is exciting
and actually fun. I didn’t even get worked up when some
Colonist ships popped out of hyperspace right next to me and lit me up
- I almost felt I was playing Wing Commander
again. There are constant fleet actions going on as both sides battle
for supremacy over the various systems and gather the needed resources.
The game makes it easy for you to keep track of the fighting with
constant updates scrolling across the bottom of the screen and also
occasionally flashing on your screen. It takes very little time to get
to a system where there’s some action going on.
I think that my ship is
On the negative side, there is no real PvE. You get a number of daily
missions from your main base, and the occasional special mission. The
daily missions entail you to scan a number of asteroids, gather a
specific amount of resources, destroy a number of non-NPC enemy ships,
fly a patrol mission through enemy space, and so on. These missions are
time consuming and are, basically, a time-sink and forced
resource-gathering. If you’re looking for epic quests,
you’ll be sorely disappointed. The thrust of the game is to
gather resources and use those resources to buy bigger ships and
To gather resources, you have to individually scan asteroids and
planetoids. If there are some valuable resources within the scanned
item, then you have to blow it up (if it’s an asteroid) or
call in a mining ship (if it’s a planetoid) to gather the
resources. Gathering resources is extremely tedious. One extra annoying
factor is that once you scan an asteroid, no indication of
its’ scanned status appears. You only know that it has been
scanned after manually clicking on it and attempting to scan. If it has
been scanned, then your ship won’t scan it. However, when
you’re looking at a screen filled with asteroids, it gets
very easy to lose track of which asteroids have been scanned and which
Basically, you’ll look for areas to mine for resources and
look for fights against the opposing faction. While there are NPC ships
from time to time, you’ll do the vast majority (90+%) of your
fighting against other players. There are no scenarios, just open PvP
spread throughout the various systems.
Overall, the space combat is superb and I couldn’t get enough
of it. However, the lack of any interesting missions or PvE hurts the
gameplay. I found the daily missions to be as much fun as dumpster
diving for soda cans to turn in for pocket money. However, money
talks….which we’ll discuss in the Value section.
The graphics are breathtaking, or at least the space graphics are. The
base graphics are kind of bland, but as that you’ll spend
very little of your time away from your ship. You’ll only be
on a base to get your daily missions, repair, or buy items. Outside of
the bases, the graphics are a complete reversal. The various star
systems are quite beautiful to travel through, with asteroid belts
strung across the stars. Coming out from behind a planetoid and having
the glaring light of a sun suddenly light up your screen really took my
breath away. No other game showcases the power of Unity quite like BSGO
If I wasn't a toaster, I would
find this beautiful.
The various ships are also extremely detailed, and from a fanboy
perspective, look damn cool. Flying inside a fleet of ships makes for
some amazing eye candy as you’ll swivel the camera around to
gawp at the other ships. Once combat is joined, you’ll see
every shot and missile coming at you. I particularly like seeing the
weapons on a larger enemy ship swiveling to shoot at me as I flew by.
(I liked the look, but not the damage I was taking!) Ship explosions
are extremely bright and very satisfying, especially if
you’re the cause of it. Plus, you can see explosions from a
pretty good distance. I’ve zeroed in on a fight many times
that were out of my radar range just because I suddenly saw a explosion
in the distance.
The sounds of BSGO
are fairly spartan, but what’s there is extremely well done.
From the sounds of your weapons firing, to hearing the pings of your
ship getting tagged, all while listening to the soundtrack from the tv
series really gets you in the mood. The combat music is especially
evocative, with the higher intensity making your blood race that much
faster as you’re closing in for the kill. All in all, the
sound and music do help to draw you into the game, without becoming