So, having spent a few hours with the Imperial campaign now, I've got some preliminary thoughts on the campaign. Let's start on a happy note.
- It's nice to have some customization back, limited though it is.
- The upgrade system for planets is cool.
- The actual map layout is good.
- Tying in to the above, the map movement is smart.
- The upgrades panel is neat.
- I appreciate that ships level up, though I dislike how it's handled.
- It's nice to have Spire back, I'm glad the story allows for that.
- The save is really quick. Not being facetious, I sincerely appreciate how quick it is to make a quicksave.
- I dislike how the ship upgrades work. There's no choice or really information given, you just randomly end up with different stats.
- I'm personally not a fan of bundling the three non-Chaos humans together. Would've been nice to have individual campaigns for them down the road.
- Maybe it'll change later on, but I'm not crazy about always fighting Chaos. More variety would be nice.
- I don't care for the timer at all. Let me play on my own pace.
- There's a lot of things that aren't explained until they happen. I made the mistake of thinking I could take on an enemy with a displayed strength of ~300 with my two ~200 strength fleets. Until the battle screen popped up, and it informed their effective strength with turrets would be past 450 strength.
- There's still a lot of typos and missing data. I had to laugh that every sector had sector listed twice (Cadia Sector sector).
- Remove the mandatory completions to do campaigns. I'd already done the Tutorial campaign three times. I've now had to do it a fourth time. And if I don't refund, I can look forward to a fifth time.
- There's still a lot of unlinked XMLs, which is a little concerning this close to release. Admiral Spire has a skill that apparently doesn't do anything as a result. Not sure how this wasn't noticed.
- The amount of currency produced at planets needs a bump. Not a huge one, but even having conqured 75% of my region, the amount of income hasn't moved much.
- WHO IN THE HELL THOUGHT EVERY MATCH SHOULD BE TAKE AND HOLD? Seriously, I realize you've gutted most of the battle-types this time around for bALanCe, but what a horrible way to play.
- Slightly tied in to the above, but platforms & stations can essentially be auto-losses. I've played more than a couple matches where the enemy essentially starts with three zones under their control, meaning your only hope is to hope you can kill them before they win through points.
- I know RNG should be expected to make most maps, but compounding this with the Take and Hold mechanic gets very repetitive after a while. I only played about three hours last night, and by the third hour, I was looking forward to autoresolve opportunities rather than having to play them.
- I know it got mentioned in the Bad list, but again, way too much information is obfuscated. I had several planetary traits that I couldn't get more information on. Prior to turn 7 I had no idea where the Battleplans came from, and what difference it made spending them. I had no idea how much my crews were being replenished. It's a little frustrating to have 938485 things going on in a strategy game, and no data on half of them.
- While I genuinely appreciate the amount of work that must have gone in to the campaign mechanics, this still feels like less game than BFG1. Even with the campaigns, I have less customization, less game types, less races to play with... Just less STUFF. You really, really need a concrete post-release plan if you want my money, because I can't support this as is.