Everspace PC Review

Everspace is a good, if somewhat unimaginative, roguelike with a forgettable story.

By Woozie, Posted 06 Jun 2017

Like most roguelikes, Everspace bases itself on the concept of repeated runs. While offering three difficulty levels to choose from before each run, chances are your first few playthroughs will be shorter than the rest. That is, in part, due to the permanent progression system the game is centered around. While adventuring, you’ll gather credits. Upon death, you’re sent back to the hangar and can use said credits in upgrading perks or buying ships. These perks make it so that your next run will be smoother and more rewarding. They can increase the resource quantity you find, cheapen or make ship repairs more effective, offer higher critical chance to your weapons or even flat health. Each of the three available ships comes with specific sets of perks available only to itself. That being said, while definitely aiding the feeling of progression, there were times when I wished perks were a tad more imaginative. What’s not a flat upgrade is fairly standard stuff like more information on the travel map, or being able to find the wreck of your ship in order to recover some credits; works well but never really wows.

Everspace, PC, Screenshot, Review

Every level in Everspace comes with a jump point that may or may not be blocked. After you’ve done exploring all points of interest (not all of them are visible from the get-go, though), aiming your crosshair at the jump point for a few seconds will initiate the jump. If there’s something blocking your jump, you need to find and deal with it, either by shooting at it or by hacking it. Then, you will have to choose between a number of levels on a path. Go through enough and you’ll move on to a different Sector. Each of these areas act out like arenas where you will end up exploring, finding resources and fighting foes. Spend too much time in one place and you’ll have enemy forces warping in, in an attempt to always keep you moving forward. There’s even a perk which, upon upgrade, gives you more information about what to expect in each area. This helps with planning out your path. Depending on which ship systems are damaged, you might want to steer clear of natural hazards or higher level of danger. Naturally, the further you advance, the more dangerous things become. The game does encourage you to explore, especially when you’re running low on fuel required for jumps or when you need resources to repair, but you never feel like you’re charting unknown space. Its levels seem large, however stuff that’s relevant to is always found in a limited area. This means that if you’re thinking about getting into Everspace in hopes of exploring gorgeous space expanses, you will end up being disappointed.

Everspace does come forth with impressive visuals, at least upon a first gaze. There’s some great use of lighting that contributes to creating enough eye candy for the player. The longer you play, however, the more obvious it becomes that assets tend to repeat quite often. Up close, textures aren’t particularly detailed, although, truth be told, you’ll be further away from objects most of the time. Regardless, the more time I spent with Everspace, the more its graphics became tiring; a clear sign of one of the pitfalls of procedural generation. Apart from credits, you’ll also be gathering a good amount of other stuff like scrap, ore and plasma. These resources are needed for the game’s crafting system. Of course, you will find weapons and gadgets while adventuring. An interesting little thing about Everspace is that it allows you to better them with mods, provided you have the blueprints (also obtained through random drops). This means that, after a certain amount of playing you can define a certain build type for your ship, giving you a greater degree of control over your run than other roguelikes do. The available weaponry feels quite good to handle and includes gatling guns, flak canons and laser beams among others. Lasers deal more damage to shields, while, something like the flak cannon is devastating to ship hulls.

Everspace, PC, Screenshot, Review

Most of your time will be spent battling small ships. Occasionally, you’ll also find help in the form of G&B company ships which may be present in the area. These are hostile to what you’re hostile towards, but, should you feel inclined to, you can risk angering them for a couple of jumps and attack one of their larger ships, in hopes of getting better loot. Even on normal difficulty, you have to choose your fights, running becoming, at times, a valid option. Battling a group of foes in an area where turrets are also present may end your run prematurely. Capital ships do pop by, every now and then, but are overall pretty disappointing foes. While usually requiring the elimination of protective drones, they just act like bullet sponges that also deal more damage. This makes it so that, you, as a smaller ship, have to resort to the same means as when fighting ships the same size as you. It would have been much better if one could disable certain systems, or attack weak points in the hull, but as of now, there’s no such thing in Everspace.

The game’s combat is based around movement, knowledge of the range of your weapons and management of energy. Energy is used for firing weapons, using accessories and speed boosts, all which can be vital to survival. Managing these in a fight, as well as outside, is paramount to succeeding. It is also aided by secondary weapons, which have different effects (the corrosion missiles are especially neat, bypassing shields and damaging hulls overtime), but also accessories like turrets which protect against missiles, shield boosters or damage amplifiers. These too can be built upon finding a blueprint or found randomly. The 6DoF approach to controls feels very fluid with a mouse and keyboard, although, there’s definitely some time required to getting used to all the turning you’ll do. It is worth mentioning that Everspace does not have joystick/HoTAS support yet. The developers are working on bringing that to the game, however, if you’re adamant on using one, it’s best to wait.

Everspace, PC, Screenshot, Review

Everspace tries to push forward a narrative as a means of driving the player forward, but it never does much. At times, you’ll have certain events, like boss fights or narrative encounters in certain areas, but ultimately it feels very disjointed from the rest of the action. On top of that, the writing is nothing to write home about, being easily forgotten once the actors finish saying their lines. Even with a codex that tries to set the stage for different presences in the game’s world, I never felt like I was part of a larger puzzle. Instead, every level feels like a separate arena from the previous which, in my case, hurt immersion quite a lot.

Everspace ticks the boxes it needs in order to be a good roguelike, at least in terms of gameplay. The 6DoF control scheme gives unprecedented freedom to combat in the subgenre. Weapons feel satisfying to use and its permanent progression makes it so that you don’t feel your time is wasted. That being said, it misses the mark with its completely forgettable story and relatively unfulfilling exploration. At the end of the day, if your focus is on pure gameplay rather than story or worldbuilding, Everspace is a good choice as far as roguelikes go.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
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General Information

Everspace

75/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): ROCKFISH Games
Developer(s): ROCKFISH Games
Genres: Action
Themes: Sci-Fi, Roguelike
Release Date: 2017-05-26

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