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 Gameguru reviews/specials archive                                        << back to the main page
O.R.B. (Off-World Resource Base)
(hx) 11:45 PM CET - Dec,08 2002

O.R.B. is a 3D space real-time strategy game in the same vein as Homeworld. The game features two competing races Malus and Alyssians, battling for control of the solar system and it's bountiful bounty. While the two races play a deadly game of hide and seek in the asteroid belt, they are unaware of a predatory alien menace that threatens the entire solar system The Malus are a tough and aggressive race. They see conflict on a daily basis in their own society, so this war is a natural evolution to them. The Alyssians are more scientific and intellectual, and they see themselves as being forced into fighting a dangerous and savage child-race. Both use the cutting edge of their technology, and can steal tech from each other by capturing ships. The whole fight revolves around control of the mineral resources of the asteroid belt. These rocks contain higher concentrations of metals than they could possibly find on their own home planet. This would enable them to build huge fleets in record time. It's a race to out build but also to outfight the enemy. Each race has its own single player campaign and you start as a newly trained pilot officer for one of the races.

Basically, O.R.B. is similar in many ways to Homeworld. You must harvest resources, research new technologies, and participate in countless space battles to survive. But I really don't want to compare O.R.B with Homeworld in full details instead there are some pros and cons:

  • 3D real-time strategic gaming action with full freedom of movement is space
  • lots of good movement options (auto-scan, shadow....)
  • you can easily modify a ship's or group's automatic behavior (formations, attack and defense priorities)
  • multicolored galaxies that are filled with stars, planets, and asteroids
  • you easily can switch between a 2D and 3D perspective
  • good mixture of various fighters designed for specific situations
  • story can be boring at first but I recommend you to wait for the final level!
  • ORB resourcing is pretty OK (comparison with Homeworld would be silly idea - they both are what they are)
  • AI works pretty OK - cap will target bombers first and gourd will attack the biggest threat
  • many options in the doctrine menu
  • slower pace allowing more time to view battles
  • 16 missions in the two campaigns, 22 available skirmish scenarios
  • controls are OK, of course if you are used to Homeworld's camera controls, not O.R.B., so it is a little harder for you
  • extremely challenging
  • multiplayer through LAN, Internet (there's in-game GameSpy client for matchmaking purposes)
  • campaign editor and tools, complete with the ability to script your own scenarios, event triggers, campaigns and cut-scenes
  • it takes some time to master
  • some bugs -  your ships tend to ignore you far too often
  • defensive structures are almost worthless
  • there are not enough voice-overs (not to mention the incredibly lame alien voice when you issue orders to ships) + the voice in the cutscenes is weird
  • in Homeworld it was much easier to zoom into ships (the ALT+Click only focuses on the ship and the wheel often does not accurately pick the object you want to zoom into) Sorry for this comparison, but Homeworld is definitely the grandmaster of perfect camera controls in this genre
  • most asteroids do no have any useful materials, nor can you build on them unless they do + it takes too long to pull minerals out of them
  • sometimes the AI can make bad decisions (those bad decisions can be avoided by not letting AI control my ships)
  • destroying the structure has no impact on the asteroid itself
  • too short manual
Overall, this game takes some time to master, understand and be played through. I like this game a lot and it's the only game I play now (that's why this website has no one new review for a couple of days :P) but the game could be improved a little. Anyway, O.R.B. is a must-have for all  fans of real-time strategy games set in space. You can try this playable demo (242MB).

System Requirements
Minimum: Pentium III 600 MHz, 96MB RAM (128MB for Win2k/XP), 500MB HDD Space, CD-ROM Drive: 8x, Video 16 MB TNT2-class, sound card, Multiplayer (not required): 56k Modem

Recommended: Pentium III 1.0 GHz, 128MB RAM (256MB for Win2k/XP), 500MB HDD Space, CD-ROM Drive: 8x, Video: NVIDIA GeForce 2/ATI Radeon with 32MB, Sound card, Multiplayer (not required): Broadband Connection recommended

snd: 3/5 - decent, ambient soundtrack, sound effects are good, there are not enough voice-overs (not to mention the incredibly lame alien voice when you issue orders to ships)
gfx: 4/5 - great, each ship has a good amount of detail, cut-scenes are awesome, you easily can switch between a 2D and 3D perspective, bases could be better done
playability: 4/5 - pretty good, extremely challenging, well balanced, takes time to master, campaign editor to make your own missions, story can be boring at first, too short manual, some bugs - your ships tend to ignore you far too often
genre: 3D RTS set in space
release: November 2002
developer: Strategy First (homepage)
the game is similar to: Homeworld
publisher: Strategy First
Overall: 80%

last 10 comments:

Hjarryposted - Dec, 09 2002 - 08:51
Totally off-topic, but I have to say how much this site ROCKS. Hands-down the best all-purpose gaming news site going. hx, you are the man.

BloodUKposted - Dec, 09 2002 - 15:04
Yes i agree this site rox... BUT i wish theyd warn us if a link is to a german site or another language like most sites do.

Heavy Zposted - Dec, 09 2002 - 18:30
if you enojoyed homeworld or anything with space strategy eye candy. You will want this game. I stayed up playing this mutherf#cker for 38 hours before i passed out, only to wake up and rape the game some more. I seriously suggest you have a closer look if your still unsure & this site rocks

BloodUKposted - Dec, 09 2002 - 19:07
hagemonia is better than this piece of sh*t!

JanSoloposted - Dec, 09 2002 - 21:48
More praise. Yes, this is by far my favorite gaming site. It has the best news section ever. And, sites which want to be cool sooo badly (like Actiontrip) specifically point to this site for downloads. I make sure to visit here everyday.

egoposted - Dec, 09 2002 - 23:29
This site beats any other gaming site hands down. Yet to try this or Hegemonia out but I hear both are good.

Hjarryposted - Dec, 10 2002 - 04:35
JanSolo points out Actiontrip, and I kind of like Actiontrip, too. Decent critical reviews. Plus nude babes. But it's the breadth of the coverage here that makes it worth coming every day. The patch and virus news mixed in with the game stuff, for instance; very useful. I also don't get the sense on Gameguru of being *sold* shit left and right as I do from, say, -- you know, that constant impression of one big advertisement.

im yo mommasposted - Dec, 10 2002 - 05:40
yeah this game aint bad, nice change from those freakin doom clones i've been playing

Emdeeseeposted - Dec, 10 2002 - 10:49
Hehe.. isn't it funny? I've seen some people give Hegemonia great reviews and say ORB sucks; then again I've seen others say just the opposite. I've played them both. Hegemonia has better graphics (barely) but navigating it in 3D is a pain in the arse. It's full of bugs which make some missions in it's current form practically "unfinishable". ORB looks almost as good.. but it's a LOT easier to play and get into. Let's face it though.. still; neither one of them can hold a candle to the Homeworld games. Nice try though guys.. now I'm waiting for Imperium Galactica III. MOO3 looks like a piece of carp.. a step backwards for the franchise.

hxposted - Dec, 12 2002 - 02:49
to Hjarry& Others thank you :) I am really happy if anyone like this site. I'll continue to improve the site to meet your needs and wants... Sadly I cannot say that publishers and advertisers like this site too :] Looks like we pay some price for the independence...

Hjarryposted - Dec, 12 2002 - 20:35
Yes, the advertising market isn't very kind to sites that don't bend over and serve it slavishly. And remember, the video game industry has been making *more* money every year, so it's not a matter of "oh, there's a bad economy." No, it rewards sites that it finds useful and that it can control -- sites where the idea of being "independent" is deciding whether to put the huge Flash ad on the left or on the right side of the page. Serving cold-hearted corporations isn't the highest aspiration in life, although, let's admit it, if you want to make money... Anyway, good luck with Gameguru!

ritzposted - Dec, 13 2002 - 08:38
I always wonder the "need" of a login system for posting comments. It's a surprised that even without such login system, I hardly seen any flame war or bad posting here at ggmania. Unlike site such as shacknew, which often flooded with loads of crap in their comment box.

magaposted - Dec, 13 2002 - 08:57
i'm surprised about the low numbers of registered forum users...

melongposted - Jan, 02 2003 - 20:17
MOO3 a piece of crap this guy must be crazy MOO3 is going to rewrite the book on the space simulation genre well it will if the atually release the darn thing. what the hell is taking so long? oh yeah gameguru is by far better than action trip.

Kasisposted - Feb, 13 2003 - 18:16
I played Hegemonia before ORB. In Hegemonia is stuck only in one mission. In ORB - most used button "Restart scenarion". It's start to begone boring. Sorry for English

justmeposted - Mar, 26 2003 - 10:06
hey i am beginning to like this site. Advertisers want to be seen, so lets all support this site and sig up :)

UNIT BITCHposted - Jun, 02 2003 - 18:10
well good for you someone should pin a medal on you!!

DiAngelloposted - Feb, 20 2005 - 15:50
Heyya, i'm a fan of this kind of games... anyone can tell me some more games like O.R.B., Homeworld, etc?? pls send mail at [email protected]

Proletariatposted - Nov, 15 2005 - 09:26
O.R.B (Off-world Resource Base) has got to be the most misrepresentative game name I've ever seen. The resource management in this game is awful. I didn't think it was even possible to have less RM than Homeworld, but there it is. More importantly though, the fighter AI is absolutely shite. More often than not your fighters will become fixated on a target and fly in circles trying to get a lock on it while everybody else blasts the crap out of them. And considering much of the early game consists of nothing but dozens of fighters duking it out, it gets real old with you micromanaging every fighter wing every goddamn second just so they don't get pwned from behind all the time. Strangely, the CPU fighters don't have seem to have the same problem, which, um, doesn't help... Another minor nitpick: The graphics, while terrible, can be... inconsistent. Some of the ships look real good up close during combat, with shields flaring and really nifty explosions that puts Homeworld's to shame. Yet, some stuff like the spaceport (basically your Mothership) isn't even animated at all. It just sits there like a brick, and not even enemy fire seems to register on the darn thing until it's destroyed. Same goes for a lot of other bases and stationary objects.

DiAngelloposted - Nov, 28 2005 - 22:23
cmoooon give me a break! how about the fact that you can directly select which ships to launch from the docking bay of a mining/military base?!? HEY GUYZ? when is gonna be an O.R.B. II ?

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