I first learned about Star Citizen when its Kickstarter campaign was complete. Then, the game had spectacular graphics, an ambitious campaign with A-list Hollywood stars, and an unheard-of scale.
The excitement was palpable in the gaming world.
However, the game is still in Alpha in 2022, with no sign of a release date. Development is glacial, but you can still buy the game and play it.
Is Star Citizen worth the minimum $45 investment, though?
To know that, in this Star Citizen Review, we’ll have to look at the game up close.
Bottom Line Up Front
Star Citizen is a big game in a niche industry with massive potential. However, even though it’s playable, the game is still years away from being a finished product. I suggest waiting for its release before you spend money on it unless you’re a space sim fan who doesn’t mind playing Star Citizen in its unfinished state.
Star Citizen’s Story
Star Citizen occurs in the 30th century when humanity has formed the United Empire of Earth. Humans have spread to multiple star systems, and the UEE is in control of numerous worlds, moons, and star systems.
There are also aliens in Star Citizens. Some are allies to humanity, others are the UEE’s conquests, and some are dangerous enemies.
Squadron 42 is the game’s official single-player storyline. Set in 2945, the UEE is in constant battle with the Vanduul—a dangerous alien race—along with bandits and outlaws. You play a UEE combatant in a crew comprised of various A-list actors and actresses who gave their likeness.
There is just one problem with Squadron 42: you can’t play it yet. The game mode is in active development. Even though they provide regular updates, it is still some way from being finalized.
So, if you can’t play the single-player campaign, what can you do in Star Citizen?
Things to do in Star Citizen
Star Citizen currently has three game modes you can get into:
- Arena Commander
- Star Marine
This is a combat simulator where you engage in fights in both zero-gravity and on the ground. There are three available maps: The Good Doctor, Echo Eleven, and OP Station Demien.
You can engage in a free-for-all game mode called Elimination or experience team fights in Last Stand.
It is little here you haven’t seen before from a multiplayer FPS, so I would not recommend getting Star Citizen just for this game mode.
This is an in-game simulation of ship racing, dog fighting, and open flying. You can fight against hordes, engage in free-for-all dogfighting, race against other players, etc.
This is more engaging than Star Marine and is an exciting glimpse of some features Star Citizen promises.
This is the most popular game mode currently in Star Citizen. It lets you explore the game’s universe, at least as much of it as possible in its current state.
There is a multitude of things to do. They include:
- Exploring planets. Note, however, that the different worlds are lacking in terms of wildlife, so many of them feel lifeless.
- Mining. You can mine in space or on a planet. This can get tedious if you don’t optimize how you are mining.
- Hunting bounties. Star Citizen is an unforgiving place, and players can do many things to get bounties on their heads. You can pursue these players in hopes of getting those bounties. However, be warned: you might be the one being killed instead.
- Being a criminal. You can steal or destroy another player’s ship or even kill them. However, this will put a bounty on your head, and you can be sure other players will come for it.
- Completing general missions. There are various missions in the game that will help you earn credits. They range from delivering parcels to hunting bounties.
It’s Incredibly Ambitious
Even by today’s bleeding-edge standards, Star Citizen looks spectacular. The developers emphasized everything from your hands interacting with an object to the immense details on each ship.
Attention to detail is an area in that Star Citizen stands out. For instance, when starting the game, you find yourself in a small apartment called a hab. You then have to leave your bed, leave the apartment, get supplies in the local shops, and look for a tram to take you to the spaceport. Finally, you will need to retrieve your ship, go to the specified hangar, and climb aboard.
If you take on a dangerous mission and forget to bring a weapon, you might have to abandon it because you have no way of taking your enemies down.
This significant level of detail will immerse you in the game and make it feel real. However, Star Citizen is not the sort of game you can just play for a quick half-hour session if you want to make the most of it.
It’s a Buggy Mess
The problem with a game being in Alpha is that it is nowhere near finished. This means that, no matter how gorgeous Star Citizen might be, it is riddled with bugs. For instance, you can randomly fall face down wherever you are and die when interacting with objects.
These glitches pull you out of the experience the developers are working so hard to create.
These bugs will eventually be sorted out, but they remain a constant annoyance for now—and for who knows how much longer.
It’s Expensive to Get Into
To play Star Citizen, you need to pay up. The cheapest entry point is $45, which gives you a spaceship and access to multiplayer. The most affordable package that includes the Squadron 42 campaign and multiplayer will cost you $65.
From there, things get crazy.
You can spend thousands of dollars on ships. But, of course, the crafts belong to different classes. They can fit different crew sizes, but acquiring them can be an expensive hobby.
The developers have stated that when the game launches or is near launch, you will no longer have to spend real money to acquire ships.
I remain skeptical because Star Citizen has made millions of dollars from selling virtual ships to fund its lengthy development. And some of these ships were unavailable when put on sale and have remained so.
This is where I become most critical of Star Citizen. The game has raised over $400 million to fund development, and the developers are still asking for more. However, no one knows when the game will be released, not even the developers.
Will We Ever See its Release?
It’s no surprise that many gamers have started referring to Star Citizen as vaporware.
The game’s active player base still remains hopeful that the game will come out one day. However, in their defense, Cloud Imperium Games constantly release updates detailing the progress they are making with Star Citizen.
However, I feel like we will wait a long, long time until we see Star Citizen in its final form. The game is incredibly ambitious, and the developers are taking their time to perfect every little detail.
Other Games to Play in the Meantime
Even though Star Citizen is already playable—though in a limited capacity—you might be looking for the finished article. That’s where the below recommendations come in.
No Man’s Sky
This game has a procedurally generated universe with a near-infinite number of planets to explore. You can also set up your home base on a planet, trade, etc.
The game was a mess when released, but it is now a worthy rival to Star Citizen, thanks to consistent free content updates.
This is the most similar to Star Citizen. You explore the Milky Way with other players on a 1:1 scale. You can explore planets, fight pirates (or become one yourself), trade, mine planets for resources, etc. However, Elite Dangerous is considerably grindy, and your character couldn’t even leave the ship until the latest expansion, Odyssey.
EVE Online is a space MMORPG with over 7,800 star systems. With over 18 expansions, the game is packed with things to do. However, it is not as ambitious or graphically impressive as Star Citizen.
Question: Is Star Citizen Worth Buying?
Answer: If you love space sims and don’t mind getting stuck in a still-in-development game, you will enjoy Star Citizen. Note, however, that it is still a long way from being released.
Question: Is Flying in Star Citizen Fun?
Answer: Yes, it can be. The ships are incredibly detailed, and the level of control you have makes flying an immersive experience.
Question: Is Star Citizen legitimate?
Answer: That is something only time will answer. The game has been developing for many years, with many more to follow. However, you can see progress being made, albeit glacial.
Question: When will Star Citizen be Released?
Answer: No one, not even the developers, know that. The game is so ambitious that development will take many more years.
Question: Is Star Citizen A Pay-to-Win Game?
Answer: You can now buy weapons, equipment, and ships for real money. However, the developers say that this will no longer be possible when Star Citizen reaches or is close to launching.
Question: How Many Players Does Star Citizen Have?
Answer: Star Citizen currently has over 15.9 million players, with an average of 151,000 daily players.
Question: Is Star Citizen Vaporware?
Answer: Star Citizen has had its fair share of controversies. However, I believe it’s a fair game, though the pace of development is worrisome.
Star Citizen Review: Conclusion
Star Citizen is the kind of game I dreamed of when watching Star Wars. It is incredibly ambitious, detailed, and a graphical marvel.
However, it’s just not ready yet. So buying Star Citizen is spending money on a partly realized dream, with no guarantee you will ever get your money’s worth. For this reason, my suggestion is to wait unless you absolutely need to get it.
Star Citizen Rating – 5/1