Star Wolves

Baldur’s Gate in space! It is not as polished as Baldur’s Gate, but Star Wolves is still a very enjoyable sci-fi RPG.

Release Date

November 2005.

Pros

The game is played in real time with intelligent or manual pausing. The intelligent pausing is optional and is as good as Baldur’s Gate except for one missing pause when get hit option.

There are plenty of ships to to buy or loot and plenty of weapons and systems to upgrade your ships including your main mother ship.

There are different characters that can join your party, each with their own set of skills. Some skills are passive skills like gun proficiency and others are limited use power up skills like lucky for thirty seconds. As your characters gain experience, you will also need to think hard on how to upgrade their skills.

Although not to the level of Empire at War or Sins of a Solar Empire, Star Wolves does look very good. The explosions are satisfying, the ships are well detailed with different gun types firing different types of ammunition.

The camera and movement controls are quite easy to use. This not only makes the game easy to control, but also allows you to get the best views for the space combat.

The story was quite interesting. Just do not expect a Baldur’s Gate level of story telling.

There is very good dynamic music. It does not sound as good as Empire at War or Sins of a Solar Empire, but it is still very good and matches the game events very well.

Cons

The speech sounds really bad. Either that or the people are just super calm, even under life and death situations.

There were some text problems in the manual and in the game. Some parts were difficult to understand and Sometimes the description is of something that is different to the item that is present.

Star Wolves has the worst tutorial I have ever played. The descriptions were vague and I actually got stuck. There is a “Next Step” button which skips that part of the tutorial, so there is a choice to move on to the next step.

The enemy AI is OK. The AI that controls your pilots are OK sometimes and other times they become really stupid and fly into stationary objects damaging themselves. I have not seen the enemy AI do this, just my own pilots.

There is a bug where sometimes your ships will just get stuck randomly in space and cannot move. It does not happen often, but when it happens while you are in a fight, it is reloading time.

You can trade equipment and loot, but only in the intermission phase. During a mission you will fly to different space stations, but you cannot trade unless there is a scripted event.

Other Points

Movement is in full 3D much like Homeworld. So you can move ships on the X, Y and Z axis. Once you are use to the controls, it is quite easy to perform too.

The game progresses one mission at a time so it feels quite linear at times. The good thing is there are decisions to be made within a mission and when extra missions pop-up. The choices you make also affects how the game progresses which takes a bit of the linearity out of it.

Space combat must be played in a similar way to Baldur’s Gate. You have a party of characters(only two at the start). You have to arm your characters, in this case with ships and weapons. Then in combat you have to use clever tactics and give orders to your characters based on their strengths.

The game was very difficult, or maybe my space combat tactics were really bad. I had to play on easy difficulty just to get past the first few missions. After about fifteen missions, I was finding it difficult to survive the missions even on easy.

Biases

Reviewed version 1.1 of the game.

Star Wolves was the first space combat RPG I have played.

I really liked Baldur’s Gate 1, 2 plus expansions.

I really liked Empire at War and Sins of a Solar Empire.

I did not like Homeworld, because I found it too difficult.

I have completed Star Wolves once on easy. I have to say I enjoyed the game a lot, despite its flaws.

DRM

Star Wolves is DRM free from GOG.com.

Minimum Requirements (as stated on GOG.com)

  • Windows XP or Windows Vista
  • 1.8 GHz Processor
  • 256 RAM (512 MB recommended)
  • 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended)
  • 2GB HDD
  • Mouse, Keyboard

Computer Played On

  • Windows 7 64 bit.
  • Intel Core i5 2.3GHz
  • 4Gb RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M 1Gb RAM
  • Conexant SmartAudio with egg speakers or earphones. Or Logitech G35.
  • Graphics settings are set to whatever I feel comfortable with playing on this PC. They are usually not set to the highest settings. All screenshots are taken with my settings.

Handy Tips

To play the game in native resolution on my PC, I had to edit the file default.cfg. I modified the line with gr_init_resolution and set the resolution to my monitor’s resolution. For more information see the Widescreen Gaming Forum where I found this information.

If you would like to listen to the nice music outside of the game it is possible to extract them in ogg format:

    1. Go to the Star Wolves install folder.
    2. Go to the data folder.
    3. Make a copy of the file Data.data.
    4. Rename the copied file to blah.zip.
    5. Open the zip file and you can go to the data/music folder to get the music files.

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