|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Egosoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Egosoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 17, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Controlling your ship is done through an intuitive mixture of speed and pitch adjustments easily made with the WASD and surround keys and steering, selection, and combat controls with the mouse. The fluidity of the motion and general maneuverability afforded by the strong control setup makes dogfights highly enjoyable, but it also works well with less gripping tasks such as navigation, communication, and trade. A HUD sidebar lets you open up an assortment of menus to check maps, give orders to other ships in your command, hail nearby vessels, check mission objectives, and access tons of helpful information.
Thankfully, you can also manually target objects in the view and access context sensitive commands that can be routed to autopilot like following a vessel, docking at a station, and flying through a warp gate. This works great when you want to check maps or fiddle around with things while the computer handles the controls during long-distance travel. A helpful time-stretch feature also speeds up the process, when the action is slow. The auto pilot is mostly effective, but it will occasionally steer you at high speeds straight into an asteroid or other fast moving objects.
Terran Conflict dishes out a spectacular visual experience, providing you have the hardware to handle it. On high settings, the planetary backdrops, the technology-laden ships and bases, giant asteroids, and the nebulous star fields are simply brimming with glorious detail. Various star systems have different visual features too, so you won't be staring at the same old backdrop over and over again. Unfortunately, even on a good rig, this can cause the game to grind to a halt in busier areas with large ships and lots of traffic. The game is still very enjoyable on reduced graphical settings, but a strong PC is the way to go to really experience the beauty of the design.
With such an expansive and ambitious space-faring adventure it would have been easy for the development team to bite off more than it can chew, but Egosoft has much to be proud of in its accomplishments here. Terran Conflict is an engrossing mixture of RTS, space combat, and economic simulation that gives players options aplenty. Overcoming the initially scary learning curve and tweaking your machine to get the game to run smoothly with the bells and whistles turned up are manageable barriers, when faced with the expansive options for fun to be had in the dark recesses of space.
CCC Staff Contributor