Homeworld 3 Review – Superb Space Combat Simulator

Homeworld 3 Review

Homeworld 3 is the latest game in the highly regarded 3D space combat tactical simulation series from Blackbird Interactive. As such, Homeworld 3 has an elevated bar of excellence to uphold. Cutting to the quick, or TLDR, fans of the series can relax, Homeworld 3 not only clears the bar, it pushes the bar higher.

Homeworld 1 & 2 has already seen remasters back in 2015. So Homeworld 3 not only must meet the quality of those remasters but, hopefully, exceed them. Homeworld 3 has the advantage of what current day hardware to do so. Not only from a graphical perspective, but from a gameplay one too. This means larger scale battles fought not only in space but also in introducing line of sight and cover strategies.

In Homeworld 3, the element of realism extends to the battles. Ship damage is persistent. Battle scars will remain from mission to mission until the damage is repaired. Your fleet and its composition track across missions. Lost ships and personnel are truly lost. The accumulative result is a game that ups and makes the stakes feel real. The game also contains deft little touches such as chatter from ships’ captains and smaller craft pilots, who pass along critical information.

The setting for Homeworld 3 is a timeline 100 years after the events of Homeworld 2. Karan, who is the protagonist of the earlier games, has become a myth and the basis for religious devotion. After the events of Homeworld 2, Karan led the fleet to examine a new spatial phenomenon, called, “The Anomaly.” It poses a possible threat, as reports have come in stating it can swallow up hyperspace gates and other planets. Karan did not return from the expeditions and listed as missing.

A New Crisis

In Homeworld 3, a fresh crisis has arisen. The Hyperspace Gate Network is failing. So they launch a new expedition to find Karan, if she still exists, with her cybernetic connection to her capital ship. Karan is the key to solving the crisis.

The game starts at the homeworld of Hiigara with a new Fleet Commander, Imogen S’Jet. She has just completed her cybernetic connection with the mother-ship Khar-Kushan. The whole introduction has a Star Trek: The Motion Picture vibe, where a newly refurbished Enterprise leaps into action ahead of schedule. To further up the dramatic ante, they send the fleet on a mission communications blackout. Someone or something has turned hyperspace into a weapon, and Imogen S’Jet and the fleet must prevent total galactic collapse.

With a tutorial that teaches you how the game interface works, the first mission trains you how to control the fleet. You’ll head to Facility 315, which is a Mothership Production Facility. Here you will install a module that allows the Khar-Khasan to come to full operational status.

You can see from the game menu and layout that Blackbird Interactive have taken great care to provide information in the clearest and cleanest manner possible. Also, the design of the screen layouts keeps clutter to a minimum. The main game screen has interfaces arrayed at the corners of the screen. The upper left corner contains items related to the mission at hand. This includes items such as Mission Objectives, game time, and fleet population. You can also pause the mission.

Homeworld 3 Game Menu

The upper right corner shows the overall status of the fleet. The fleet comprises the Mothership, carriers, Resource Controllers, strikecraft such as Recon, Interceptors, and probes. It also shows which of the Command vessels – the Mothership or the Carriers – are creating new strikecraft or probes. Also, from this menu, you command further research into vessel types to enhance their capabilities.

On the bottom left of the screen are Movement and Attack commands for the strikecraft. You can control the strikecraft individually or as a unit. Unit commands allow for the designation of formations and postures. Using each provides tactical advantages that you need to decide upon during battles. For example, strikecraft in an aggressive stance will not use cover. To do so, you must put them into a neutral stance.

When you pick a craft – be it a squad or an individual craft – a movement menu pops up in the bottom right hand corner. Here, options such as attack, move to a designated point, stop, patrol, guard, or use advanced capabilities are available.

In the bottom center of the screen are a Sensor Manager icon and Group Control icons. The Sensor Manager switches the view to a 2D representation of the mission area. This view simplifies the mission area and is a great aid in planning out mission strategies. It also highlights your fleet’s fog of war situation in terms of what your sensors reveal. It also points out any line-of-sight issues you must compensate for when making fleet movements.


For line-of-sight combat, HomeWorld 3 introduces megaliths. These are the huge remains of space derelicts from an ancient civilization. Megaliths are the equivalent of battlefields with differing elevations. You can use them as funnels to trap enemies in or hide in the megaliths to use for ambushes.

The Group Control is a cluster of ten hot keys you can assign squads to. This allows for quick access to the squads. Most useful when the combat situation becomes intense. Remember, you can slow the gameplay down or outright stop the mission to allow for strategy sessions.

From the game’s main menu, you have access to the various game modes which include tutorials, the campaign, multiplayer, skirmish – against an AI opponent, War Games – an all new, coop capable multiplayer mode. The game allows the player to tailor the game to their own personal preferences. You can change key bindings to set up a control scheme that works best for you. There is also the choice to use the traditional control scheme of the previous games or to use the newly implemented one.

Blackbird Interactive commitment to Homeworld 3 is apparent with every aspect of the game. They have taken great effort to make Homeworld 3 the best Homeworld yet. The amount of improvements and enhancements over the previous games in the series is clear from every aspect of the game. They have big expectations for this game and a vision for its future.

Future Roadmap

Their roadmap for the rest of 2024 and into 2025 is a testament to that. There will be free DLC drops in June, August and Q4. July and October will see paid DLC made available. In 2025, the free and paid DLC drops will continue.

Homeworld fans can take heart the latest game in the series sets new benchmarks for the franchise. The new line-of-sight gameplay mechanics make for even more challenging space combat strategies. The gameplay depth is greater, the customization is deeper, and the replayability is longer. Homeworld 3 oozes quality across all aspects.

***PC code provided by the publisher for review***

The Good

  • Slick and intuitive UI
  • Challenging space combat
  • Engrossing storyline

The Bad

  • Bit of a learning curve for new players
  • Must be willing to put time into it