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EverSpace 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Action
Developer: Rockfish Games
Release Date: 2021


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'EverSpace 2'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Nov. 22, 2019 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

In contrast to the roguelike concept of its predecessor, EverSpace 2 is an open-world space shooter with classic RPG elements and persistent player progression, as well as a much larger number of player ships and significantly enhanced storytelling.

Space shooters is a genre with a number of masterpieces, but it's fallen by the wayside. There are some pure arcade shooters like Strike Suit Zero, but nothing hearkens back to the long-ago days of Freelancer, where the universe was to be explored, not just blown up. The original Everspace was an action-based roguelike where the space shooting was combined with slow progression and permadeath. Everspace 2 is going all-in on trying to make a successor to Freelancer.

Everspace 2 has done away with much of the first game. No longer is it a roguelike with permadeath. Almost everything in the game that was built around the idea of trying again and again is entirely gone. Instead, it's now an open-world game. You can go where you want, and death is no longer a forced restart. It might be disappointing to people who enjoyed FTL and action stylings of the first game, but this seems to fit what the developers were going for.

The preview build we played was a little sparse, more of it an example of how the new game is structured. You start out at your Home Base, where you can pick a ship, configure your equipment, and take off into the wild black yonder. From there, you have almost total freedom — at least in the preview build. Each area is designated as its own sector, and you can freely transport yourself between them using your jump drive.

Rather than a roguelike, the early build of Everspace 2 reminds me of an ARPG like Diablo. When you go into battle or complete quests, you'll get drops from enemies. In good ARPG style, the drops are classified by rarity, and rarer items have more unique abilities. For example, I found Homing Missiles that were an upgrade over my standard weapon because they would disable enemy shields upon hitting them; this functionality is incredibly valuable in a hectic dogfight.

Speaking of which, the spaceship controls in Everspace 2 are great. You can play using a controller or a keyboard and mouse, but I'd strongly recommend the latter, as it feels natural. Most of it builds upon the first game. You have multiple weapons to swap between at the press of a button, special abilities like as EMP that you can use on cooldown, consumable items, and of course, plenty of things to upgrade.

It's hard to judge how well the game will scale based on the preview build, but it feels pretty clear that the RPG stats won't determine everything. The original Everspace was a solid shooter in its own right, and the development team is clearly building on that. The current build is too early to get a feel of late-game challenges or advanced enemies, but the shooting feels so good that it gives me a lot of high hope for the game.

Aside from that, there's the usual space shooter things to do in Everspace 2. You can ferry cargo, collect ore to sell on space stations, or explore mysterious sectors hoping to find rare loot. The final game is supposed to have trading and various other popular space-flight mechanics, but that will be for a later build. Everspace had a lot of issues with its roguelike progression, so Everspace 2 should only improve on that.

Other than that, Everspace 2 is understandably thin thus far. The Kickstarter just finished up. We're not going to be able to get a real clear idea of the end point of Everspace 2 until it enters full production. Yet there's a lot of potential here for fans of the genre. Hopefully, we'll see more positive signs out of Everspace 2 as it heads toward development. The market is eager right now for a space shooter.

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