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To be perfectly honest, Gratuitous Space Battles isn't what you would call a 'game' or at least what you would call a regular game. You build the ships, you give them orders, then you let them at it.
The shipbuilding aspect is the most complicated, and that is what you will be spending the most time on. Trying to balance cost, power, crew, and weapons on your ships will take a lot of thinking, and you will find yourself with a lot of ships that you have made but are flawed in some way or are tailored to specific missions with certain environmental limits. To play this game, a significant investment of time is required, both to learn the basics and to build your ships. Some people just don't have that.
If you do though, then this game might interest you.
And if you are really interested, then there are not a few mods out there. Some add a few ships or new missions, but some add much, much more. The UNI-T mod is one of many.
GSB is a hard game to get into, but if you do, it is immensely satisfyingly.
This game is fundamentally about designing a number of ships, giving them orders to prepare them for a particular battle, and then watching that battle play out with the AI. This is a good premise. Unfortunately, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
The graphics look... dated. For a game who's attraction is supposed to be grand, epic, gratuitous fleets duking it out, it looks pretty underwhelming. But that's not its worst problem.
One big problem is the in-battle AI. Once you've assembled your fleet, you can give each ship a number of orders. And that's great; it's a way to affect the battle without having direct control. The problem is that finding the right AI commands to do what you need is almost impossible.
For example, weapons can miss, and miss rate is based on the speed of ships. But unless you give a ship the "keep moving" order, a ship will stop once it starts engaging the enemy. This wastes the evasion potential of fast, less shield-heavy ships. However, if you give a ship the "keep moving" order, you quickly realize that this really is the "wander away from the fleet like a drunken idiot" order. If you want a ship to actually use its evasive potential, it means accepting that some of these ships will wander into a cluster of enemy ships and get themselves killed to no useful effect.
Worse than that is the UI. You'd think in a game where you spend most of your time in the UI, the game developers would have put some effort into it. Not here.
Designing ships is made a lot hardware by the cumbersome UI. But worse than that are certain mission conditions.
Some missions have supply limits. This means that there are a certain number of certain components that your ships can use in that mission. So you must a fleet of design ships specifically for this mission. In a good game, the ship designer UI would have a list of the components that you can use, so that you can easily count how many you've used.
Not this game.
That was the point when I gave up. I'm not going to sit in their crappy ship design UI with a pen and paper so that I can keep track of what supplies I've used thus far.
It's $25 for the game plus all of its DLC. My advice: play the demo. If you think the demo was just OK, don't buy the game. I thought it would get better; it does not.
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