As you could probably tell from my earlier post, I have had a recent re-fascination with space sims. Like I mentioned, this had to do with the recent announcement of Star Citizen, the new game by Chris Roberts. (Which got totally funded and it looks amazing, BTW) Since we have at least 12 months before we are able to play anything in Star Citizen, I have been browsing around for a decent space sim to fill the void until then. This led me to quite a few titles like Freespace: The Moddening, Galaxy On Fire 2, and Evochron Mercenary.
Most of my friends told me to look at Freespace since there were a TON of mods for it and it could do all of what I saw looking for. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. I was looking for an up to date modern style space sim. Like if someone updated X-wing vs. Tie Fighter. Freespace looks like someone tried to put a coat of polish on Decent. It almost looks pretty, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. The only interesting thing about it that looked cool was that you could mod the heck out if it and there are versions for every type of sci-fi genre you could want. There is even a Wing Commander mod that it really good, but not quite there. At least, it’s not what I was looking for.
For my mobile needs I found Galaxy on Fire 2. For an iPad game, it’s pretty damn cool. I like the idea that I can take a good space sim with me when I am away from home. The graphics are good and the story is the right balance of campy and fun. It’s not a cockpit view, so that part makes me sad, but I guess that’s what you can do at the mobile level. It’s worth a check out if you have a mobile device. (it’s on iOS and Android). It reminds me a lot of the game Freespace, which I also reinstalled to give a second run.
Wanting to go full blown sim on my PC, I started looking at what was out there and came across Evochron Mercenary. EM is a independent game created by ONE guy, who has been working on the engine for the last 13 years. The bones of the game are amazing. It’s absolutely stunning in how it looks and runs. The physics are spot on for how a ship would work in space. Unfortunately, it lacks polish. The learning curve is VERY steep and can be daunting at times. There are some of the campaign missions that make you re-think how you have to do a space dogfight just due to the realism of the physics. The other downside is the equipment management. I have yet to find anything that tells me that one item is better than another except its level or class. The standard gamer in me tells me that I want the highest class/level equipment. But that’s not always the case. I may not need a class 10 engine while I am running a mining quest.
Overall I am happy with the game. I have kind of reached a stand still on the campaign since its REALLY hard and could use a wingman. The Multiplayer side of the house is a little barren of folks playing so finding someone to help can be tough. Of the few times I have tried though, I did manage to find someone and it makes a HUGE difference.
In the meantime I will continue to wait and yearn for Star Citizen.