E3 2002O.R.B. impressions

The developer of Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns and Disciples II goes into deep space with this 3D real-time strategy game.

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It's hard not to draw the obvious comparison to Homeworld. Strategy First's O.R.B. is set in deep space and features a similar 3D interface and style. Following the struggle of two races in a war for territory, O.R.B. will hopefully continue Strategy First's excellent track record.

The primary goal in O.R.B. is to gather resources. To do this, you build mining stations on asteroids. The asteroids themselves are enormous, and the sense of scale is impressive. As you progress, you can upgrade these stations so that they can work as docking bays for your ships, and the developers are ensuring that asteroid fields and debris will be active parts of the landscape and that players can use them as cover.

Our demo of O.R.B. was disappointingly brief, but we did get to see some fighters shoot down a large capital ship, as well as a salvage ship take control of an enemy vessel. The latter was particularly impressive: A marine shot from the salvage ship, cut a hole into the top of the target, and then dropped himself in.

If O.R.B. follows in the tradition of Kohan and Disciples, then its strengths will be in its subtleties. And subtlety and the noisy E3 show floor aren't particularly compatible. But what we saw of the game looked good, and we're excited about getting some time with the full version when O.R.B. is released this summer.

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