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Starpoint Gemini 2

By Bis18marck7011-08-2014
StuntmanLT (editor)
Bobfish (editor)
Starpoint Gemini 2

The Defence

Little Green Men Games
Iceberg Interactive
Role Playing, Simulator
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce 460
AMD equivalent
4 GB
8 GB
10, 11

The space genre has experienced a revival of sorts, not only due to the big budget Kickstarter busters Elite: Dangerous and Chris Roberts: The Game – apologies, Star Citizen – but also due to many smaller titles that allow us to delve into space and imagine what life would be out there among the stars. One of them is Starpoint Gemini 2. Being in early access (Read: things might change and aren’t set in stone), but well into development, we felt it was high time to give this title a go.

Starpoint Gemini 2, as any good space sim, promises about as much content as you can imagine. A wide expansive galaxy, a compelling story, plenty of ships, customization, trade, battles and more. Mixed into that fray come a few RPG elements for good measure. In short, the whole list up and down, left and right, and a couple of summersaults for good measure. Many of these features can already be tested in the current stage of development and it looks promising.

One great little feature of Starpoint Gemini 2 is how the idea of a wide expansive Universe is being translated into the game. While you can use Wormholes and T-Gates (think jump gates) for a small fee, every destination is reachable, provided you have the patience, by your own spacecraft.  Set a waypoint, engage full thrusters and sit back to enjoy the ride. Provided no sneaky pirate suddenly decloaks right in front of you.

The commercialisation of the Autobahn in one picture.

The commercialisation of the Autobahn in one picture.

Speaking of pirates. Remember the reputation meter from Freelancer back in the day? Starpoint Gemini 2 features it. There, you’ll be able to figure out who likes you (generally not a lot of people) and who hates you (generally a lot of people). Your reputation is of direct consequence to you, with enemy factions marking you as persona-non-grata which translates into persona-shoot-on-sight. Other factions that tolerate your existence for the time being will provide equipment, missions and space stations for you to use against a small price. The more they like you, the higher the chances of more wallet friendly friendship prices.

As in game nowadays, doing set missions won’t just increase your reputation, but it’ll also increase your level. While making you eligible to command new and bigger vessels, they also add skill points that can be distributed at will between different abilities. Some of those will, when activated, make your ship more responsive, others will boost offensive or defensive abilities. The application is rather basic for now, but easy to use. If the developers want to go down the RPG road however it’ll need some work. Sure, it isn’t finished just yet but what we’d like to see is a more in-depth system that retains the simple format the game currently has.

Added to that are hopes for more interaction between the player’s character, his officers and the outside world, as well as more active decision making. Using the reputation system, we can definitely see potential for clashes between one’s own crew between officers from competing factions and disillusioned crew members that don’t agree to the captain’s decision to hunt down a fellow faction member. Since the current build does not yet allow us to have a look at the campaigns, we can’t say for sure if this is already in the making but it’s definitely something we can see working in the games favour.

Because nobody ever likes you.

Because nobody ever likes you.

Right now, smaller skirmishes between two or more factions happen on a regular basis. Most of these are over in a mere minute, not only because multiple critical hits destroy an enemy vessel before it can even pose a threat, but also because some of these pirates truly believe that their minuscule fighters have a chance against my over armed, DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA frigate. Talk about overconfidence. Now, while these fights mark the ongoing tensions within the galaxy, sometimes you can’t help but hope for a bit more peace and quiet. Maybe in the full release, you’ll be able to take over enemy space stations for yourself or friendly factions, allowing you to purge parts of the galaxy from hostile force.

For a space simulation, it would also be nice if the developers could have a look at the possibility of allowing the player to operate a vast trading network with freighters under escort protection automatically flying through the universe on managed routes, building up a fortune one haul at a time. As it stands right now, the only real reliable source of money is the capture of enemy ships – a single of which will give you more credits than even ten VIP escort missions combined.

Visually, the game is quiet appealing. Sure, the stations and planets are a bit bland at this point, but from the outside, they look good and shiny. Some of the more colourful aspects might not truly fit into a galaxy ridden by war, but the artistic choice doesn’t detract from it either. Adding to the scale of commercialization and spacefaring, the humongous advertisement holograms all across the stations give that futuristic vibe of capitalism. The ships themselves also look diverse, although at times you’d just wish for some of them to be a bit more indomitable and massive. Being able to customize them is a nice touch, but although weapons and colour choices are directly shown on your space craft, the options are rather limited at the moment.

I'm sure he isn't wanted for his looks.

I'm sure he isn't wanted for his looks.

What is also limited at this point is the games feedback and a more in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different crafts. Sure, that little gunship won’t be able to hold as much cargo and men as a battleship. Neither will it be able to sustain as much damage as a frigate. But what’s the difference in terms of speed? What about agility? Firing vectors? All this information is crucial if you want to buy a ship but little of it is given out to the potential customer.

Yet, with that being said, Starpoint Gemini 2 looks promising. The developers are active on the Steam forum looking at feedback and responding to it. Constructive criticism is taken well and the community is drawn into the solution making process. We’re keeping our eyes on this title and even if you are only marginally interested in space sims, so should you.

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