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Greg W
04-03-2003, 22:10:17
Played the demo quite a bit over the last few days, and I must say it rocks hard. :)

I really thought I'd have major issues with the mouse control system, but now I wonder why nobody bothered to do it before. It really works well I must say.

Don't get to see too much of the impact of the "levels" in game, as the demo seems to boot you out as soon as you hit level 3. Ships are basically restricted by level, which is based on total personal wealth. As your wealth increases, so does your level. And as you get more levels, you get access to better ships. Seems almost like a double implementation of the same idea (aka you can't buy a ship until you can afford it anyway, and with levels based on wealth there seems to be two restrictions, both wealth based), but I wasn't bothered by it in the demo.

The random mission generator seemed a bit bland. All I ever managed to get was kill and destroy missions. Then again, I never had a merchant ship, so that may have had a lot to do with it. And having said that, I did enjoy all of the missions.

The missions given by "agents" of certain groups seemed to be better paying. The issue being that they tend to raise and lower your rep with certain groups.

A few minor complaints, like:
"You're new here, aren't you?" repeated every single time you talk to someone for the first time. :bash: Fairly minor, though anoying quibble though.

All in all, I can't wait for the release of the game next Monday (in Oz anyway). :)

Shining1
05-03-2003, 00:46:11
Sounds fun:).

Nav
07-03-2003, 16:51:35
Had a try with the demo just now, definately tempted to get this, especially after the debacle which is MoO3.

Dialogue is dreadful though, it's spoken too slow, with large gaps between people talking, making it seem like it's catering to a 5 year old audience. bah.

Shining1
09-03-2003, 08:06:10
Actually after all these years of Diablo2, my mind has been dulled to the point that the dialogue doesn't bother me too much.

Additionally, the graphics are good enough that's nice to sit back and watch some of the environments, and to take a rest after the frenetic battles.

The demo is great, I recommend everyone try it. I've flown a fighter and the freighter, and they both move well and are great fun to fly. The 3D person camera seems to work brilliantly, letting you actually see your ship doing cool stuff (like getting hit a lot) without getting in the way of your view

Trent is a twat - a kind of selfish blond McGyver. Ah well. This is an MS game after all, compared to some they've done very very well to manage to inject a bit of atmosphere into it.

The game functions very much like a kind of 'Diablo in space'. At the same time, it's obvious that the designers have learned a lot from Diablo et al, and while the game is mostly about 'level up, collect cash, buy cool armour/weapons/spells', there seems to be enough of a storyline to keep the game interesting too.

There are three ways of earning cash, it seems. Trade for it, with a freighter and a handy spreadsheet, earn it, taking out pirates and other nasties, or steal it, knocking open rival frieghters and stealing their loot. All in all it's not the most brilliant set of options, and from the demo at least the bounty hunter stuff seems very samey (though the combat is good fun, it's usually the same mission - here is your waypoint, go kill them there). But then, this is just a convient way to level up and gain cash, and from what I've heard, it's actually not bad in multiplayer.

Graphics and sound seem to be pitched just right - it looks beautiful, and it moves beautifully.

I'm definitely hooked, and dibs on the review as soon as I can get a copy and play it through properly.

Sir Penguin
10-03-2003, 09:17:08
Very nice. I like the way you can skip through FMVs. :)

SP

Shining1
10-03-2003, 14:07:00
I bought the full game - some $20NZ cheaper than what seems to be the regular price here.

Starts the same as the demo, but I'm already a lot further into it than the demo allowed. I'm going for quality fighters and combat missions over trading at the moment - the initial systems don't seem to offer too much by way of amazing trade options. Though, with 80 cargo slots on the standard freighter, if you want to work at it, I'm sure you can start to earn some serious money given enough time. Not so with the 20-30 cargo limit on the fighters though - this is maybe just enough to keep your missiles restocked.

As a side note, this game has the ugliest CD ROM design I havre ever seen.

Greg W
11-03-2003, 04:32:01
Grabbed it myself, and have played it through to level 8 or thereabouts (aka quite a bit after the demo allows). It is still danged awesome. :)

I tried trading in the old demo, and with 80 cargo slots (later ships I have now seen with 600 slots), you can make a reasonable profit just in the initial system. Aka there's a cargo type that sells for 15 more than what you can buy it for. 80 x 15 = 1200 profit, less any costs for missiles and the like.

My main complaint at the moment is that it all goes too fast. You seem to get called up for a mission every level at the moment, and with level 8 or 9 (forget which) being only 25k or so, it makes it way too easy to progress quickly. Usually it's:
- plot mission
- 2-3 "cash" missions
- plot mission

About the only way that I could see to avoid it is to possibly decline one of the earlier missions, and see if that stalls the plot or not. I presume they did it to stop people progressing too much and making the plot pointless. However, there's some really hard stuff at the end of about level 7 or 8 that you need a much better ship for. :eek:

I did at one time however put off going to see Junie and just do a mission for some bloke, so that I could afford a better ship before I saw her. So it can be done. The game did automatically reset the waypoints to go see her after I completed said mission however.

Tip: learn to love shield batteries and nanobots. You'll need to know how to use them. They're the only way I could manage to survive that particular plot piece (without giving too much away).

The plot so far is pretty good, I am really enjoying it. Certainly didn't expect it to be quite as, er, brutal as it seems to be, but maybe that's me. :nervous:

Tip #2: learn to use your tractor beam after every battle. I once tractored in 2 pieces of cargo worth 600 each at the right port. :beer:

The game is really cool, though I am not sure that the "free" part of the name implies complete freedom or not. To date it seems not, though I am yet to go completely out of my way to avoid plot missions. :beer:

Shining1
11-03-2003, 09:07:53
I tried the multiplayer today. Everything Greg said, with a couple of added points:

Multiplayer really is Free. No plot line, just cash and upgrade, trade and upgrade:). You can team up or you can dogfight with the other MP people as you wish. It respawns, so you aren't punished fatally for screwing up, but you do lose all the cargo and extra weapons you were carrying. Suffice to say, this is not a happy turn of events for a fully stocked freighter.

Pay careful attention to the level guide on the missions. I lost the aforesaid freighter attempting a mission with a difficulty at least two higher than my level at the time.


I've switched back to a fighter now - the dog fighting in this game is really challenging, there are some really neat missions (although they all sound the same).

Greg W
11-03-2003, 23:38:17
Well, you definately an't bug out before the first mission. You just get stuck on Liberty with no cash. :p

Didn't have time to try anything more, like bugging out on the 2nd mission, but might try that later. Only had 15 minutes last night unfortunately...

Oh, I have also ditched missiles for the moment. I find it much easier to just keep the enemy within close range by using the afterburner, and blast them with some heavy weapons. I may change that opinion later depending on just how the game goes, as there are some nasty missiles out there. Does save some cash though. :)

Mightytree
12-03-2003, 06:21:50
Sounds interesting.

I just hope this doesn't need a super-mega-Power PC to run smoothly. What are you guys running it on?

Sir Penguin
12-03-2003, 07:19:42
Athlon XP 1800+
256 MB PC2100 RAM
Apollo Radeon 8500 64MB

The demo runs beautifully.

SP

Shining1
12-03-2003, 10:20:27
Same as Spengy except I have a GeForce2. There is the occasional hint of a slowdown, but never during the important times.

MPed with Rachel for a few hours today - cooperative battles are so much more fun. I'm running medium distance trade routes in a freighter again - and having a blast (literally). 'Freighters' are really more like tanks - more hps and shields than fighters and you can stack an incredible amount of firepower on them so long as you know how to aim. Now that I've practised enough in the dogfights to, er, learn the enemy A.I well enough, the Freighter is actually a very good weapon.

DaShi
12-03-2003, 14:28:25
Very Babylon 5ish, at least graphics wise.

Nav
12-03-2003, 14:34:38
I don't understand, it isnt released in the UK till the second week of April. :confused:

Mightytree
12-03-2003, 18:35:38
So do you think it'd run ok on a P3-933 512MB Ram system?

Sir Penguin
12-03-2003, 19:31:43
The minimum spec is a PII 600 with 128 MB RAM, so you might get away with it with a good 3D card.

SP

Greg W
12-03-2003, 22:25:16
Running it on an Athlon 1200, 378M PC100 RAM, GeForce4MX. No noticeable slowdowns, even with 30+ ships buzzing around. I think you'd be fine MT.

Yeah, an odd one there Nav. I noticed the entire European release was much later than USA and Oz/Kiwiland. :bash:

Sir Penguin
12-03-2003, 23:43:35
Are you really limited to 16 players in an MP game?

SP

Shining1
13-03-2003, 04:24:43
MT: I'm running it on an Athon 1800+ with 320oldbolloxram and a FeGorceII. I have ALL the graphics options turned up full. You should be okay.

Greg W
13-03-2003, 22:17:37
I believe that it is limited to 16 players in MP, but that's just what I vaguelly remember reading, so don't count on it.

Got up to level 10(?). Discovered that I could manage to finish level 12 missions. :bounce:

Noticed that the AI is getting much better now, and that I really, really, really dislike mines, as my opponents are dropping them all the time now. :rolleyes:

Had my first "take out an enemy base" mission. That was rather interesting I must say. Couldn't be arsed refitting my ship with kick-arse torpedoes, so I had to rely on ships guns as I don't use any missiles at all at the moment. Also upgraded to a Heavy Fighter for the first time, and I must say that having 6 guns and some serious armour rocks. :bounce:

The story is still keeping me quite interested, and for the first time I am getting a bit of details about just what I am lugging around, and why people seem to want me dead. Just got called off to meet Junie for my next mission, hopefully will get that and a bit more done this weekend. :)

Sir Penguin
13-03-2003, 23:24:39
I think Juni's a candidate for CG game babe of 2003. :)

SP

Mightytree
13-03-2003, 23:36:47
Ordered it. :bounce:

Greg W
14-03-2003, 01:12:47
There is a demo out too MT that you may wanna check out. 160meg or so from memory.

Must admit that I keep wondering when Trent and Junie're gonna jump in the sack. Or at least kiss. :D

Sir Penguin
14-03-2003, 01:38:54
Ain't gonna happen. If he makes a move, I'm going to kill him. And he knows I can do it, too.

SP

Shining1
14-03-2003, 04:24:04
Juni is pretty sweet. Can't help but think she's just leading Trent on, though. Everyone just seems to have their own agenda all the time.

Beta1
14-03-2003, 09:48:28
really cant wait for this to come out in UK.

Darkstar
14-03-2003, 10:38:01
This does sound very interesting...

Greg W
15-03-2003, 09:02:37
Level 17 now, and the plot twists and turns some more. Not going to give it away, but I must say it isn't quite what I was expecting. Nothing revolutionary, I just wasn't expecting this is all. And I keep ending up being allied with a lot of people that I never thought I'd be working with.

Still seems a little fast, and not quite so "free" as perhaps I would have expected, but still quite fun. :)

Off to try out the next mission. :bounce:

Greg W
15-03-2003, 22:47:04
Well, I think that I finished the game last night. Think in that there's really nothing to say that you finished other than you seem to have wrapped up the plot nicely. Having said that, after you finish, there's kinda some implied work. To cut the story short, I think it's finished, but won't be surprised if they come out of the woodwork and throw something else at me. :clueless:

I liked the plot quite a bit, though I still think that my main complaint is that it all went too quickly. I think that I would have racked up barely 30 hours (will have to confirm), though I did kind of go out of my way to not explore a heck of a lot. Also went combat missions, which helped gather cash more quickly than trading away.

Only other minor complaint is that later on, you're finding yourself facing 10-20 enemies at any one time, with backup on your side to help you out. In many instances it's stated that they're supposed to be covering you. And yet, I still found that I had to turn around and dogfight and ignore my target, otherwise I'd end up with about 10 enemies shooting the crap out of me. Many missions I only survived through the judicious tactic of running away far enough that my wingmates could take some of the heat off me long enough to get some shields back up. It's really bad when you can have 3500 or so points worth of shields taken down in about 2-3 seconds. :eek:

Having said that, I am sure that I am not the best pilot around, and I never bothered getting used to using mines. So other's experiences may vary. :rolleyes:

The good thing though - I still want to head back out there and keep playing even though I have "finished". Speaking of which... :bounce:

Shining1
16-03-2003, 02:26:07
My advice on the shields thing is to try the the anti-tacyhon type shields. They don't sacrifice much damage to particle and laser and I've found I'm taking incredible (relatively, anyway) amounts of ripper fire without losing my shields.

It's a joy:).

Greg W
16-03-2003, 10:15:14
Hmm, there's a point, I never even bothered looking at the types of shields that I have been using, merely going for more points = better.

On a somewhat disturbing note, it took me 16 hours, not 30 to "finish" the game (assuming I have finished). :eek:

Shining1
16-03-2003, 13:28:36
Heh. The original Diablo takes about the same, and the two seem to be very similar in their own way...

I've played about 36 hours of multiplayer now, though, and have only really begun to have a solid understanding of how the game works.

Scabrous Birdseed
16-03-2003, 14:36:37
Some of my favourite games in history lasted 6-8 hours.

Sir Penguin
24-03-2003, 09:21:45
I thought it was clear when the story wrapped up, but also clear that they're leaving it open for a sequel/expansion.

And I'm pretty sure that the writers have been watching too much Star Trek. There are at least two episodes copied in the game. :)

SP

Shining1
24-03-2003, 13:22:12
Would it be possible to write a standard sci-fi thing without copying at least two episodes of Star Trek, if only accidentally?

Sir Penguin
24-03-2003, 21:17:12
Point. But it gets iffy when the whole plot base is copied from an episode of Star Trek. :)

(which was copied off of something else, which was copied off of something else, and so on, of course)

SP

Nav
24-03-2003, 22:53:31
a Philip K Dick short story then.

Nav
24-03-2003, 22:59:27
oh and 11th of April. :bash: