A few years ago gamers were given the gift of roguelike space combat sims; This was the original Everspace. While it did well, there were a few issues with the core of the game. Rockfish Games have decided to give it another crack, and like the big bang itself along comes EverSpace 2. It’s still in Early Access, but we decided to get stuck in.
EverSpace 2 follows on from the events of the original. It puts you in control of a clone called “Adam”; as all good space odysseys start, a mission goes wrong, and you team up with a vagabond with good intentions.
Initially, you’re simply tasked with finding medical supplies for an injured colleague. Of course, things don’t stay simple and you’ll be embroiled in mysteries and conspiracies on a galactic scale.
The story is told either through in-game cutscenes, some of which aren’t quite ready yet. When this happens, you are notified by the “not a final product” message. These are combined with some well-drawn static images ala Graphic Novel.
The story is never overly engaging. That said, it is serviceable and has enough interesting characters and twists along the way to keep eager Sci-Fi Opera fans cruising the stars.
Waltz For Venus
The gameplay in Everspace 2 is a little more razor-focused than that of its roguelike predecessor. Gone are the days of Permadeath and random events and instead, the developers have opted for a fully handcrafted and intricate experience this time around. Even in its early access state, it’s got plenty to go on and shows a bright future for the game.
You’ll initially start off piloting a small ship, with more of these becoming available later on. The game starts off with the standard set of fetch quests to help you learn the ropes of space traversal and combat; Unlike Elite Dangerous, this game goes for a more arcade-style of control and you’ll be naturally doing barrel rolls and evading enemy fire like a boss in no time. It has a very intuitive control system which is an utter joy to use.
Combat is fluid and fast. You’ll be juggling between your laser attacks, traditional bullet attacks and weapons like missiles, which depending on your loadout have different properties. There’s also a meter that builds up over time which allows you to use an “ultimate move”. Firing lightning out of the front of your ship is one example – it not only looks cool but deals major damage.
As Everspace 2 leans more into the RPG side of things, this also affects enemy mobs. Levels are displayed, meaning that you’ll know the level of difficulty of the area you’re in. If the levels are too high, you’re not supposed to be there and the other ships will let you know!
You jet across the galaxy by hitting jump speed and direct your ship to waypoints representing each part of the galaxy. While you’re doing this you can uncover side areas with quests and even random “assistance required” areas where you can jump in a space battle and help even the odds for one of the many factions in the universe.
After a few hours of back and forth in the galaxy, you’ll be able to visit planets. While they are mostly desolate there are often areas you can just explore. These come complete with puzzles that allow you to get more equipment for your ships such as weapons, armor, or shields.
The fast-paced combat, fluid controls, and alluring side quests help change what was once a rogue-lite experience into a more focused and engaging RPG experience without the constant worry that you’ll lose everything. This also helps create a deeper and more consistent narrative that helps this game shine.
Visually Everspace 2 is frankly gorgeous. The explosions pop and the colors used help to paint this ocean of stars for you to sail your ship through.
The frame rate held a consistent 60fps. This was especially impressive when I was exploring a wrecked battleship that was sparking and on fire, while the all-out war was being waged surrounding the ship; My PC barely let out a sigh!
The graphic novel sections of the story are well-drawn, but as mentioned the game is in early access and some of the in-game cutscenes do tend to be bare-bones and quite basic. This is something I have no doubt will be fixed by the completion date of 2022.
The music is atmospheric and dynamic, changing from a more peaceful tone when exploring to a thunderous crash when it all kicks off. Voice acting is a little hammy but it’s nothing damaging to the product as a whole.
Everspace 2 even in its early access form is a fantastic game with a lot of content, stunning visuals, and an addictive combat loop. While not as in-depth as other Space Sims on the market and thus not offering you as many options on how to play, it makes up for this with an interesting story and brilliantly designed worlds and events. I expect Everspace 2 is only going to get better on release with such solid foundations.
EVERSPACE 2 IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Many thanks to Rockfish Games for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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