stub Homeworld 3 Review (PC) - Is It Worth Buying?
Connect with us


Homeworld 3 Review (PC)

Avatar photo




Strictly focusing on numbered titles only, you would think that Homeworld 3 will knock the ball out of the park given the sheer fact that it has been over twenty years since we got our hands on Homeworld 2. For such a lengthy wait, I imagine diehard Homeworld fans have high-ceiling expectations, doubtlessly owing to an already well-established franchise that put a unique twist on the RTS genre as early as the ‘90s, the leaps in technological hardware and software since then, and many more games that have experimented with innovative RTS gameplay and amassed massive success. 

All three are plausible options Homeworld 3 can borrow a leaf from and deliver an intergalactic odyssey and strategic space battles for the books. Yet, by the credits roll, something feels amiss. Something that takes a moment to put a finger on. Something that may very well be the determining factor for whether Homeworld 3 is an experience worth your time and money. Be sure to read till the end of our Homeworld 3 review to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly.

A Space Odyssey


At first sight, Homeworld 3 looks stunningly beautiful. It features a three-dimensional galaxy that stretches as far as the eye can see. However void and empty space is, Homeworld 3 captures the serenity of the black beyond. Factor in the perfectly fitting soothing music score and the visual and audio package feels complete. Even as the cutscenes cue in, you’ll find yourself taking in the spectacular ships and asteroid fields Homeworld 3 portrays. 

You can even go as far as to zoom in on the environment and the intricate detail will be just as breathtaking. While the predecessors took a minimalist approach, Homeworld 3 goes hard on graphics, with varying map designs. You'll fly by floating debris and experience fully 3D space terrain. The latter wasn't possible for Homeworld 2. Now, you can use terrain to your advantage, orchestrating space battles in 3D.

It’s a shame then that the story struggles to match the masterpiece world Homeworld 3 creates. Don’t get me wrong: there is a story to sink your teeth into. It’s just a disappointing one that feels AI-scripted and generally low effort. Also, you don’t have to play the predecessors to appreciate the story here. 

Homeworld 3 takes place a century after the events of Homeworld 2. Having taken refuge in an interstellar empire, the once nomadic Hiigaran people face a new threat, the Incarnate, that seeks to destroy the galaxy’s future. You control a brand-new protagonist, scientist Imogen S'Jet, the protégé of Karan S'Jet, directing and managing a space fleet that, in addition to putting a stop to the Incarnate, must solve the mystery behind Karan's disappearance. 

Something Amiss

Drone airstrike

Perhaps it’s the music score flawlessly playing in the background that gets you through the playthrough. It's calming on the downtime sections of the game and thumping hard during fierce battles. Perhaps it’s the stunning visual aesthetic that captures the serenity of space. Either way, you manage to get to the end of the game only to realize that the story hasn’t left that much of an impact. You encounter very few characters who lack depth in storylines we have seen before. 

The protagonist sure does have her moments of raw emotion. Yet her story arc is more or less that of a timid turned fierce commander by the credits roll. Something huge is amiss in the story and it’s certainly not the story itself but the execution. Because, in truth, the Incarnate path and the mystery behind Karan’s disappearance have intrigue. If executed flawlessly, it would have been enough to get the job done. 

Furthermore, for some players, it can be distracting when the cutscenes cue in amid adrenaline-infused battles. You’re simply plucked out of the intensity of battle to sit for a story that often misses the mark. 

Wilding Space Battles

Jets fighting

Homeworld has long stood out from the crowd, thanks to its three-dimensional RTS space battles. Fortunately, Homeworld 3 remains faithful to its predecessors. It delivers an intriguing space battle system that makes up for the lackluster story. With three modes—campaign, war games, and skirmishes—you have options for solo or group sessions. The campaign’s missions are so varied you almost always have something new to dig into. 

From sabotaging Incarnate operations to protecting the Mothership and coming up with clever formations that maximize efficiency, missions vary enough to tease your brain and keep you engaged. Similarly, environments vary, keeping your runs fun and fresh. Often, you’ll stage space battles in sci-fi monolithic structures but also maneuver through colossal space derelicts and asteroid fields. It’s why when cutscenes come out of the blue, it breaks the immersion so much you want to punch a wall.  

Time Waits for No Man

Launch ship

Unfortunately, Homeworld 3 comes up short on the RTS front. You never quite feel the pressure of coming up with clever commands that take the environment, spaceship, and crew’s unique features into consideration. While other RTS games will have you scratching your head and assessing every angle for the best way forward, Homeworld 3 leans more on how fast you react to attacks. And by how fast, simply selecting which fleet to send out to battle, preferably the fleet with the most upgrades and gear. Because at the end of the day, it feels like a battle where the fleet with the better upgrades and gear wins. 

It makes you wonder why, after you’ve decimated your enemies, which leaves your ship painfully stripped down to barely functioning parts, you can’t continue to scavenge for resources. Homeworld 3 simply takes you to the next round of battle, regardless of whether there are still plenty of resources left to scoop up. In any case, you collect resources with time that upgrade your ship, ushering a rock, paper, scissors gameplay. Pit an interceptor space vessel against a corvette, and the corvette will shred the interceptor to pieces, and so on and so forth. Well, at least, you do build a variety of space vessels to tinker around with. Plus, you’ll be able to mix and match different vessels, adding some form of tactical depth to gameplay. 

A Little Disappointing

Imogen talking

Overall, though, you end up wishing Homeworld 3 was a little more deep. It doesn’t feel groundbreaking, adding too few innovative features after quite a long time of waiting. Skirmishes and war games are more or less the same as the combat in the single-player campaign. The focus is on the number of ships you assign to battle, which formation you select, and the specific types of ships you assign to your fleet. That’s all there is to combat skirmishes, it's hardly the most convoluted system that any player should have an easy time jumping into.

War games take a roguelike form and switch up the gameplay a bit more. They’re also PvE-based and offer a higher replay value with friends. As a concept, the war games mode is incredibly promising. At the moment, though, it feels rushed, with limited options, variations, level types, and more. But hey, you can expect DLC packages in the future that add more content to gameplay. In fact, Blackbird Interactive and Gearbox Publishing have already released a roadmap showcasing free and paid DLC content to be released from June 2024 well into 2025. 


Imogen s' Jet in Homeworld 3 Review

Yes, well, we can’t get all that we ask for, can we? Homeworld 3, I’m afraid, emphasizes just how disappointing reviving games that rocked the world in the ‘90s have become. On the one hand, the graphics are incredibly breathtaking. Even more so is the music score, which fills in the downtime moments of taking in the voidness and neverending depths of space. Yet, somewhere on the road to reviving the franchise, gameplay was left out to dry. 

For starters, the story is lackluster, with a promising premise but low-effort execution. Some voice acting may be thrilling, yet for the most part, the writing fails to hit home. As a whole, the story fails to captivate or leave a lasting impression. By the credits roll, you barely look fondly back at the story, instead feeling relieved to not have to sit through one more cutscene. Thankfully, the gameplay redeems Homeworld 3, with a commendable variety of space vessels to command and send out to war. 

While it can feel like a rock, paper, scissors combat system, having a variety of vessels and formations at your disposal adds a layer of depth to strategy. Sadly, that’s where the strategy ends, with more focus turned to how fast you can deploy commands in the face of incoming enemy fire. Perhaps war games will be the final piece that completes the puzzle for why Homeworld 3 fails to hit home as I imagine fans of the series hoped it would. Perhaps the upcoming content updates, in addition to fresh content, will patch the few bugs you may run into. 

For now, though, Homeworld 3 feels like a mixed bag, with reason to jump into, especially if you are a fan of space combat, but also to wait out for more content updates. 

Homeworld 3 Review (PC)

Homeworld Sci-Fi RTS Returns

After over twenty years, Homeworld 3 picks up where Homeworld 2 left off. Or, well, a century later, with a brand new protagonist and story. Unfortunately, the gameplay has been a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have a blast maneuvering 3D space battles. On the other hand, you’re left wishing there was more. Still, it’s no secret Homeworld 3 continues to stand out in the sea of often military RTS games.

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.