Everspace 2 has had a steady development cycle after its announcement and successful Kickstarter campaign. The space shooter has seen many improvements to its core systems through hands-on events and feedback from fans, but the team is looking for even more feedback as they bring the title to Early Access. In this version of the game, players can preview the game’s story campaign, which seems to take all of its gameplay elements and bring them together to create a unique space opera adventure that I wasn’t expecting.
While playing Everspace 2, it’s clear that some optimization could be added to limit object pop-in or textures, but I imagine there’s plenty of time for that. In its current state, though, the game has plenty of gorgeous settings to conduct space battles in as well as explore. Gameplay marries these two elements as players must get back on their feet after being captured by the enemy.
The main protagonist, Adam Roslin, is a military clone who ends up in a bad situation as a friend is badly injured, and he must team up with a cellmate to escape enemy capture. Those who played the original Everspace may understand who Adam is more, but it isn’t necessary to enjoy this new adventure’s narrative. The lore of the raging war between the military, outlaws, and aliens is explained across missions along with any important backstory of the characters. The story scenes are presented in a comic book-like animation, which was a good choice considering the voiced audio can sometimes be overacted during certain scenes. However, it pairs well with the illustrations and design direction.
With this being the first time that I could play the story missions, I must say that the developers have created a nice gameloop of following mission markers and then getting distracted by loot and enemies. Your destination is laid out in front of you, but inspecting wrecked spacecraft, points of interest, and enemy bases will lead to some powerful upgrades. As you take out enemies, you’ll gain experience, and with each level up, you’ll improve your base stats and item capacity.
This risk-reward system encourages players to take chances and inspect each marker on their map. There’s a balance between item collecting and battles where I didn’t seem to get bored with either of them. The mission structure provided various objectives that made it easy to stay engaged with what I was doing. This is important because the developer wants to really sell how vast space is by making the map huge. You basically warp between stages, but you are present during that warp, which allows you to see just how far you are going. There are also ways to travel faster than this that could be unlocked at a later time.
Currently, in the campaign, I’m in a spot where I’m trying to progress the missions as best I can, but then there’s just so much I want to explore. Thankfully, the game gives you the means to do this, and an hour goes by with me simply gathering enough funds for a ship upgrade that I want to purchase from a space merchant. It doesn’t quite retain its roguelike elements from its predecessor, but I think
Suffice to say; I’m having a great time progressing the narrative, completing objectives for my allies, and exploring space. This game is a lot more than I thought it would be and a lot more than I could cover in an early preview. I’m excited to see just how much it evolves through its Early Acess period, but as of right now, consider me sold on the foundation of this space opera.
Everspace 2 is coming to Steam Early Access on January 18.
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