We preview Everspace – currently available in early access on Steam and coming to console as well.
What we know
Everspace is a sci-fi shooter with an arcade-like feel to it, developed by Rockfish Games – a relatively new name in PC and console gaming with a big track record in the mobile sphere. One of the aims for Rockfish is to create a stellar visual experience, despite the game being developed by an indie studio.
Aside from arcade dogfighting in space, Everspace also features rpg and roguelike elements. Throughout your missions, taking place a non-linear yet story driven fashion, you’ll be able to gather look and use that to craft things like repairs, modifications and enhancements to your ship. When you die in a mission, you keep your credits and your blueprints for upgrades, allowing you a better chance at success. It’s ‘rogue-lite’, but should make progression more interesting.
Down the line, the game will also be getting support for the two most popular headsets currently available on PC: the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.
What we saw
We’ve been playing the early access version on Steam for a while now. Despite a relatively low version number (early access started at 0.1.3 and right now the game is at 0.2.0) the game’s space combat sequences are fully featured and practically bug-free. What’s missing is quite a bit of window dressing, in the shape of the story-driven content and associated voice acting that should bring everything together.
What we thought
Being an avid player of Elite: Dangerous, I’m used to quite a bit of deep space exploration and combat. Combat has never been Elite’s focus though, although the most recent patch for Horizons does add a lot of combat-central functionality. What Everspace does really well is scratch the itch that players may have for deep space dogfighting – something that hasn’t been done in quite a while when you look at games with production values like this one has.
Audiovisually speaking, Everspace impresses. Its visuals are gorgeous, and far exceeded my expectations of what an indie studio would be able to deliver. I’m an old school gamer who played a lot of Tie Fighter, X-Wing and Wing Commander back in the day, and seeing that type of gameplay rendered in glorious high-resolution 3D is a sight to behold.
What’s missing in terms of story content was felt as well though. Part of what made the Wing Commander games great was the way the missions tied into the story – and it kept your missions from feeling repetitive because of their connection to the story. Everspace is missing that hook right now, and as pretty and satisfying as the dogfighting is – it’s not meaningful enough without the story backdrop. It’ll give weight to the loot and crafting system too, so we’re more than curious to see it implemented. If they do it well, Everspace will be a real contender.