Should I be excited about… Starpoint Gemini 2
Stuart gets hands on as he sets out to create a space Enterprise
Starpoint Gemini 2, from Little Green Men Games, is a space exploration game with RPG elements that will see you travelling around the emptiness of space solving issues for others to earn your money. By far the best of these is the Bounty Hunter missions as they are fraught with action and are usually fought tooth and nail at the beginning of the game. The battle scenes do look a bit like they are from Deep Space 9, however, as you slowly make your way to the impending fight, you lock onto the target and fire at will. You start off as a rookie captain, a lone voyager piloting your ship.
Ok, so it sounds pretty awesome, and it is, but the controls aren’t explained very well at the start of the game. Only through dying a countless number of deaths did I discover the controls. The game also makes use of diverting power to the systems. So in most fights I had left it in the middle thinking that it would give me the best option of blasting, speed and shields. I was wrong. The best thing to do is divert all power to the weapons. I know what you’re thinking, and that you’re reading the commands in Jean Luc Picard’s voice, that this all sounds like a blast – gettit?. Well it is, but it is also just a small part of the game. The biggest part, and easily the most time consuming part, is the travelling. From point A to point B, not bad right? Wrong, the game allows you to give full power to the engines so you travel a lot quicker. But it still takes about 5 minutes to get from one place to the next. With each quest, no matter if it is a bounty hunter, rescue or repair, you will continuously have to travel great distances.
You are able to do almost anything in game. For example, you don’t want to be a good guy to a certain faction anymore. Start blowing up their ships and picking fights with helpless vessels. I did this on one of my plays, but it didn’t go so well for me.
Travelling is the main part of the game as I have said before, but it isn’t all emptiness that awaits you in space. You will constantly be hounded by unfriendlies as you travel alone at the start. These enemies aren’t always alone either, but it’s these encounters that are the best. Outnumbered and outgunned? Time to use the old brain and best them in a game of wits. This is where the game gets very, very good. The AI in game is smart enough to avoid your torpedos at a distance, lazily listing to the left. They will respond in kind and try to barrage your hull with everything they have got. Let them, and dodge their attempts with extreme cool. Overall I’d say that the game reacts well to the situations you put it in.
The game looks pretty good, you are able to add in you own models through the assembly editor so in essence the game can look like whatever you want it to look like. The game also allows easy modding and even has some examples and hints available on their site. The beams look effective and the torpedos look impressive as the blaze a trail across the screen at your enemies. Explosions of enemy ships will put a smile on your face as you see the now doomed crew floating into the endlessness of space.
The in game music is brilliant, the game feels like an epic tale due to the musics effectiveness in making you feel alone out there. The sound effects for the weapons are the usual affair, but it doesn’t take anything away from the battles so it can’t be viewed as bad.
Starpoint Gemini 2 is a Steam Early Access game. Like all of the Early Access games it is full of potential that isn’t quite there yet in the current version. But it certainly has hope, it allows full movement of the ship, the combat could be video’d and shown to future generations as to what should be done in the case of a firefight in space, the music is fantastic and adds to the tranquility of space and finally completing missions for space people is just bad ass. I can easily recommend this for sci-fi nuts, but if you’re just looking for a simple space shooter, I’d suggest you look elsewhere.