Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 16
  2. Negative: 5 out of 16
  1. There are still a ton of controls in the newest version of the Battlecruiser series … but 3000 AD has done a good job in making them a little more accessible for things that you will do most often during the game.
  2. The level of freedom afforded is quite unparalleled for a game of this type. [Apr 2004, p.72]
  3. Remains really the only game of it’s kind, and sadly, if no other developer takes this genera seriously, Universal Combat is the best we’ve to hope for.
  4. It’s a very serious niche simulation that’s got some lumps which will be unappealing to the average player. If you want to “get it,” you’ve got to be willing to pour the time into learning the nuances of the title.
  5. An amazing bargain, particularly if you like the idea of exploring a dynamic universe and don't mind filling in a few gaps with imagination while you live the Captain Kirk fantasy. [July 2004, p.67]
  6. 59
    I would rather have explored a single, dynamic system or three, rather than piles of basically static ones that felt like they hadn't existed the moment before I arrived.
  7. Much like its predecessor, "Battlecruiser Millennium," this wildly ambitious simulation is torpedoed by an almost incomprehensible interface, the absence of a tutorial both in-game and in the poorly organized manual, numerous bugs, and many fit and finish issues, including dated production values.
  8. I can tell you right now that only those willing to devote a big chunk of their life to this game will reap any significant rewards from it. And by the looks of the few people online I would say that there's not too many gamers willing to devote massive amounts of time to such an experience.
  9. If you want a decent space sim with some strategy, I would go with "X2: The Threat." Universal Combat, as a whole, is not worth the effort it demands.
  10. There's something wrong with the game, though, which comes down to two fundamental problems: interface and gameplay. Smart has called it "idiot proof," but the truth is that the game is still way too cryptic.
  11. For anyone who doesn't share Dr. Smart's very specific obsessions, however, Universal Combat is an exhausting, impenetrable bore. [Oct 2004, p.82]
  12. A dreary atmosphere, blatantly outdated visuals, AI bugs, and many other issues inherited from the game's predecessor, all contribute to an overall disappointing experience. Also, if you happen to be a fan of Battlecruiser Millennium, chances are you'll be bored with facing similar gameplay and practically the same content (same universe map, same ships, etc.).
  13. To enjoy the game requires hours of exhaustive research and patience that most gamers don’t have.
  14. The box may say this is "the biggest combat simulator of all time," but for me it was the biggest frustration simulator of all time.
  15. There's no aspect of the game that isn't abysmally implemented. I would dearly, dearly love to sit here and go on for five or six pages listing the faults, but it really isn't worth the effort. Just avoid UC like you would a diseased badger or rancid tramp. [PC Zone]
  16. I hate this game. It’s the worst PC game I’ve played in months, which, I can assure you, is saying something. I hate it even more because of how much unrealized potential this series has.

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