+Extremely beautiful and atmospheric
+A generous blend of rogue-like gameplay and space themed combat
+Offers exceptionally well devised gameplay difficulty spikes
+Weapons never feel underpowered or under-utilized
-Flight controls feel a bit dodgy for the first few hours
-Upgrading ships feels minor and almost effectively inefficient
In recent days, it seems that every science fiction title wants to make it big. We’ve seen games ranging from Elite Dangerous, Eve: Valkyrie Warzone, and even Star Citizen, show their own unique takes on what it means to make a great science fiction dogfighting title. Among them comes the newly release indie title Everspace by ROCKFISH Games GmbH. A title that seeks to join the already ever-so-populated combat simulator genre. But the biggest question of the all: Can a game that’s been in Early Access for a little over a year do so and do it well enough?
Over the course of the past month, I’ve been enjoying this unique little title. As someone who easily gets vertigo during flight simulators and combat simulators, I found myself having to take modest breaks when playing this arcadey little title. A game that required me to not just take on my enemies, but also a game that required me to take note of where all the nearby asteroids and meteors were. Luckily for me, someone who does enjoy these titles, even if it’s in small stents at a time.
Over the course of each session, I found my time boosting towards my enemies in pursuit of them, my bullets and my missiles flying in a beautiful ballet as they attempted to take out the enemies about me. My barrages, nevertheless, were met in a beautiful symphony of explosions as I darted in and out of the meteors as quickly as possible. But the games story isn’t near as beautiful in some ways. You’re a clone who has unfortunately has amnesia.
Over the course of the game, more of your story becomes evident as players visit each of the sectors available. In each of those sectors, you find yourself earning each of your flashbacks of your origins. During the title, you are navigated by the voice of your ships computer, one that will give you a chance at learning what is going on, the current status of half-hearted politics of the games ongoing war against the Okkar, a reptilian race of aliens. Even with the war ended, skirmishes still happen, which pushes both humans and Okkar into skirmishes.
Much like any game, the story is delivered through the use of voiceovers, moving sketches, which appear between each of the sectors where your encounters will take place. While the story is indeed enjoyable, it’s also a story that is somewhat forgettable for those who just want to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. After all, that’s what this game is about. It’s about taking out the enemy in whatever way possible. Want to burn holes in their wings and cockpits? That’s completely plausible with the use of your lasers. Want to burn holes through their ship using large pellets? Just load up your flak cannons.
Motherboard: MSI Z720 Gaming M7
Video Card: MSI’s Nividia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Game Ready Plus
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB RAM
CPU: I7-7700K 3.6GHz| OCed to 4.2GHz
Cooling Unit: Thermal Take V8 GTS Radiator
Tired of your enemies being a nuisance? Just load up your missiles and take out every enemy possible while hosing them down with your primary weapons. If that’s not enough, you have other abilities such as different modules, consumables, and even drones that will replenish your shields.
Don’t want to refill your shields? That’s fine, there’s still other items such as mines that you can drop behind in in order to take enemies out as you lay traps in wait for them. If that’s not good enough, I found one of my most favored ones to be a anti-missile item, which deterred any enemy attacks coming my way.
However, the best one, and the most comical one? Just happens to be my most favored of them all. It’s a “time extender” one that slows everything down for approximately 20 seconds. The best part of it? It slows everything. Literally everything. If dialogue is coming through? It slows down as wel, which is hard to not stifle a laugh during, and even tends to take away from my moments of immersion.
The only disappointing part? The story behind your skirmishes with the Okkar. While the story behind them could be appealing, it’s not exactly the forefront within the game. Rather they are what drives you into continuing each of your skirmishes. After each warp into new zones, player are given a set amount of time in order to blow their targets up, scavenge what they drop, and get on your way before finding yourself quickly being ported out into the next zone.
Whether you are ready for it or not, powerful Okkar ships will occassionally drop in on players. If they do, the best bet for you to escape is to point your ship at the exit and warp out as quick as possible. Taking them on could quite possibly mean that players will meet their own demise.
Once you do, you do warp out, players are greeted with a FTL style starmap, letting players choose which system they’d like to jump to. However, with each warp, the game does send players into entirely new sectors where a new starmap becomes available, but as does greater challenges for players to face. But jumping, combat, and your loot come at risk versus reward.
It comes out of earning the commodities that you do, but none of them are as important as fuel itself. If your tank is near empty from combat, you’ll be warned that your fuel source is slow, and that if you are to try and FTL jump, you could potentially damage your ship.
This, however, is sometimes worth the risk. If the Okkar are already there and there’s no time to look for a station to fuel up, why not jump, why not take the risk? You’ll die more than likely anyways, that is, if you don’t run. Unfortunately, this does sometimes mean that you’ll possibly strike out when trying to flee, and could find yourself getting a “Game Over” screen regardless due to your death. Luckily for you, if you do die, you can spend a bit of time using the commodities you’ve collected from combat, and use those, as well as your credits, in order to upgrade your ship.
This, in a sense, is done via an inter-death tech tree of sorts, one that allows you to use those consumables, items, and commodities to increase extra HP for your hull, better chances of critting an enemy ship, fuel efficiency, and more. Earn enough credits and you could even see yourself piloting a new ship – a light one, which is a fast, stealth-ready fighter, or the ever-so-bulky and shieldless heavy ship, which tears its enemies apart with heavy gunfire.
What is odd, however, is the fact that each perk requires a set amount of “requirements” met in order to increase its efficiency. With each of their requirements met, these perks do get more expensive per boost, and continue to do so until their maxed. This is actually something that’s admirable, as it does require players to spread their expenditures across multiple parts of the menu, allowing players to slowly upgrade their ship until it meets their expectations in combat. While some may feel this is a rip-off, or a disappointing feature, it does add depth and reason behind a players adventure.
The only downside, some of your cash spent almost feels wasted, useless, since some of the bump in stats are quickly outweighed by the games steadily increasing difficulty per FTL jump. What this does do, is even more effective than any other game out there. It emphasizes the fact this game is almost a rogue-like title, one that requires fans to constantly be on the go, and taking down the enemies that lie in wait for them. Unlike games such as Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen, there’s little-to-no downtime. Much of your time will be spent taking out Okkar fighters while salvaging what you can from the areas around you.
The best part of it? Everspace is a solid action movie in space. A sci-fi enthusiasts dream for those whom always wanted a chance to be The Last Starfighter in the ’80s. The game, however, does tap into its roots of being a piloting sim. It forces players to fly differently. Players aren’t just going to find themselves darting around in outer space, throwing out a chorus of missiles, and a hammering clash of bullets towards an enemy while chasing them in pursuit. The game wants you to kite, it wants you to strafe, it wants you to spend time learning every form of maneuverability they’ve put at your disposal.
Even if you aren’t fighting the Okkar, but instead are spending time eluding the G&B, a group of humans whom are neutral, until you steal their fuel so you can escape combat in order to repair. One of the other downsides to being in constant combat is your resources you must maintain in order to stay alive. The most important of them being the nano bots. These little buggers are important because they are ones that will work as hard as possible in order to fix any broken systems, holes from bullets, and chipped metal from rocket barrages.
Because they are a resource, you may find yourself working hard in order to take sub-quests in order to earn credits from nearby factions. These little commodities are nice to see, and offer a bit of flavor to your constant punching holes in enemy ships, by adding a somewhat-occasional simulation like moment, which you commonly see in Elite Dangerous. Just make sure you don’t get caught in an ion storm. They are absolute Hell on your ship and will require you to either FTL jump or move as quick as possible to get out of its way in order to repair.
As the game is a roguelike title, it’s one that is quite fun, enjoyable, and rather diverse. It’s one that isn’t ashamed of you spending your time darting through space, punching holes in the universe while entering FTL, or even beating down enemies in a rain of rockets that’ll tear them apart quicker than a hailstorm in August. But this doesn’t make the game a bad game, what-so-ever.
What makes it frustrating, on the other hand, is the games control system. I won’t lie, I’ve been spoiled by Elite Dangerous and No Man’s Sky. I love the ability to pitch and roll while flying, not having to click buttons in on my joystick in order to enable the pitch-and-roll elements, while moving up and down and side to side. While it is unique, it takes away from the immersion, and began to direct a sense of frustration with what felt like a clumsy choice for design.
While this doesn’t exactly run the games dogfight filled focus, it does make one wonder if their battle with controls was the game, or themselves being rather entertained by titles of a similar kind. After a few hours, however, I did readjust to the games zero-gravity side-to-side combat, which required me to adjust to darting up and down before pitching or rolling to avoid oncoming fire.
Everspace – PC, Xbox One
Release Date: Available Now
Everspace comes with a massive sense of appeal. It’s a game that’s not trying to be too much of one genre while trying to be more of another. It’s a game that doesn’t have to combat what it is at its core. It’s one that does quite well to send fans over the edge while they are darting in and out of combat, while maneuvering around massive space rocks that could easily wipe out all life on Earth. While this sounds more fun than it is, I can’t stop no matter how bad I want to. I just want to dart among the stars, taking on the ever-so-aggressive Okkar, while taunting the G&B as much as humanly possible.
If you’re like me and you just want to see bullets fly and Michael Bay style explosions happen, then Rockfish has a delicious treat that lies in wait. With the game already expanding, we can only cross our fingers and hope that Rockfish has an even larger adventure coming our way sooner than later.
Our review is based upon a retail version provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
About the Writer:
David Murphy is B.A.T.G.R.’s behind the scenes man who helps get things up and going as well as keeping things in order. Don’t be surprised to know that the old man contributes rather heavily to editing, news, and information he digs up so that editorials as well as articles are done properly. He also likes Fallout… A lot. We’re not sure he’s not secretly the Vault Boy in disguise.