The space opera genre has been around since the days of the original Elite, and has always been familiar territory for games that effectively blends various types of gameplay together. Space Ranger HD: A War Apart doesn’t just confirm this image, it almost defines it.
Essentially an HD remake of Space Rangers 2, A War Apart also includes all the add-ons that were later added as well as content that was specifically designed for the 2013 release. But just like the 2004 original, the game brings together an impressive range of gameplay styles. Traveling across space is done using a 2D map of space, but the display changes to a 3D view for real time strategy battles on the planet surface when the opportunity arises. You also have the option to jump into the battle personally using a third person shooter dynamic, but you’ll encounter some even more surprising gameplay styles when you come across shoot ‘em up levels and text-based scenarios that hark back to the days of the original text adventures (that came out when Elite came out!).
Blending all this together is the storyline, which has you starting out as a low level member of the Space Rangers team responsible for keeping the peace and defending civilization from a robot race called the Dominators. You progress through the story by completing missions, generating income, trading and upgrading your character/gear to be able to venture out and explore more of the galaxy. You are offered a tremendous amount of freedom and a seemingly endless amount of missions, which makes for an extremely long game and excellent value for money.
Of course, none of that is worth anything if the delivery of these different gameplay elements is sub-par. Luckily, this isn’t the case and the game also doesn’t force a particular gameplay style on you too much either. This is mainly thanks to the incredibly open structure that the game has. Every game is unique, even when you generate the same character to start with. The story and gameplay develops in sync with your playing style, and while you may encounter missions where you don’t feel quite at home, you’re never far away from the core gameplay that you help shape.
This makes it hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Space Rangers HD a good game or not, because ultimately that will be up to your profile as a gamer. If you like your gameplay streamlined, adrenaline-filled and with mind-blowing graphics then this is not your format. However, if you prefer a slower paced sci-fi epic with lots of character and story development then this could be just the game for you. Coming from that perspective, we can’t do anything but recommend this HD update of an already excellent game with unrivalled replay value.
CPU: Intel 3770K
Video: Asus GTX 660 Ti
Installed on: Kingston HyperX SSD drive
RAM: 8 GB DDR 3, Kingston HyperX Beast series