Being a fan of games set in space, I tend to play anything that involves spaceships and gives me the opportunity to explore the cosmos. The first Everspace was a gorgeous fast-paced action space shooter that managed to gather quite the fan following and I was among them. I loved the setting, the tight controls, and most importantly I loved how synergetic the combat systems felt.
So cut to 3 years later, Everspace 2 is finally out in early access and it doubles down on what made the first game so good.
First of all, let me start off by saying WOW does Everspace 2 look gorgeous. From the ship details to the distant planets that look daunting. The vibrant visuals and stylish aesthetics make Everspace 2 look like a next-gen title.
Now, onto the gameplay. Everspace 2 at it’s heart is an arcade shooter, and it plays out exactly like that. Unlike simulator games, the controls are not complicated and there’s not a lot of focus on realism here. Instead the focus is on delivering a more fun and high paced experience.
The early access version has quite a bit of content to bite your teeth into. There’s a wide variety of missions to undertake with different objectives. Everspace 2 is also be set in an open world and will allow you total freedom in how you tackle your objectives. Traveling around the galaxy felt good and exciting, running into random encounters also added a bit of thrill to my rides.
Unlike some titles in the genre, Everspace 2 features some handcrafted interiors and planet surfaces. Although there is a loading screen, that breaks the seamless experience, the attention to detail in these environments makes it worth it.
The story follows the clone pilot from the first video game, except this time there is an interesting twist: if he dies now, he will die forever. The story and side missions in this early access build aren’t quite finished yet, so I will reserve my judgment for when the final game comes out, but for now, I’m pretty interested to see where the narrative goes.
The RPG and loot systems from the previous game also return and it gives you total control on what sort of ship you want to pilot. There’s a large variety in terms of skills and subclasses available for you. In a way your ship feels like a hero in an RPG game and not just a mere mode of transportation.
For all its impressive combat systems and visuals, there is sadly a very distinct lack of liveliness and immersion in the more technical side of the game. For example, the economic system is very straight forward, and you can’t exploit it to crash prices as you can in some other games. The faction system is also barebones, and there’s not a lot of dynamics going on in the game. I hope that Rockfish expands upon these systems once all the core systems have been implemented, as this will greatly improve the sense of simulation in the game.
Precision aiming and maneuvering are still critical to success and there’s already support for controllers for people who prefer it over K+M. HOTAS support will also be there, so all you flight enthusiasts can dust off your sticks and prepare to take on the galaxy in a more intimate way.
All of this wouldn’t be fun at all without a good and challenging AI and Everspace 2’s AI are definitely up to the mark. They constantly tried to outmaneuver and flank me. I never felt the AI was cheating with auto-aim, as they missed quite a few shots and I was able to outplay them with strategical thinking.
All in all, I am quite impressed with how Everspace 2 is shaping up to be. From the gorgeous visuals to the excellent handling and feel of the ships. This feels like the spiritual successor to Freelancer we have all been waiting for.