Review – Everspace 2
The original Everspace was a quirky and daring game in a genre that has remained stagnant since the 90’s. It was a looter shooter / roguelike space simulator. A hodgepodge of genres, but it worked. I really enjoyed it and played it across multiple platforms. It was my love for the original that made me skeptical of the genre pivot for the sequel, though. Instead of being a run-based roguelike, Everspace 2 is a traditional open-world space sim, just like Freelancer, Rebel Galaxy, Elite Dangerous, No Man’s Sky, etc. etc. I was worried that the sequel would lose the originality of the original and end up generic and redundant. And though I do feel that was ultimately the case, Everspace 2 is still a very competent and polished game in its own right.
Everspace 2 is a open world space simulator. You explore open space, flying between planets (no landing of any kind sadly), fighting pirates, and collecting loot and resources. You have a home base you use said resources to upgrade, in order to unlock new functionality and ship customization. Ship customization is the same kind of system as any other arpg, just equipping rockets instead of swords and bows. As you advance through the main plot, you unlock more systems to explore, functionality for your home base, and gear to unlock and use.
The biggest issue I have with Everspace 2 is that it doesn’t do anything exceptionally well. It doesn’t have anything that makes it stand out from others in the genre. You play as a generic human pilot in a generic war-torn sector of space against the backdrop of a generic sci-fi plot. The story, characters, and world-building aren’t bad by any means.
Great voice-acting makes the characters really stand out. And there’s tons of backstory and flavor written for the world that make it feel rich and lived in. The story is perfectly serviceable, with beautiful cinematics delivering on the non-space story segments. The quality and delivery is undeniable, but the problem is that it oozes a “been there done that” feeling. Age of Wonders: Planetfall set its sci-fi setting apart by going full pulp fiction, for instance. Everspace 2 needed something similar.
This extends to the basic gameplay loop as well. It’s an open-world space sim, and has all the usual bells and whistles. A fluctuating market across the game’s seven systems, roving pirate bands, resource gathering, and tons of flying straight towards an objective marker. Everspace 2 does try to change things up in two ways, but both are problematic at best. First are puzzles, most of which are essentially pseudo space platforming. I found these annoying at best and downright frustrating at worst. The controls are tight, no complaints there, but some of the puzzles require extremely tight piloting that doesn’t seem to take the game’s physics into account. Starlink did something similar, but its more arcadey physics made for a much better fit.
Then there’s the loot system. Other then being a space sim, the other thing Everspace 2 takes from its predecessor was a loot system. I’m a huge fan of the looter genre, Diablo being one of my favorite games ever. But far too many games are adding systems like this without understanding what makes a loot system great. Unique substantial upgrades, alongside multiple distinct build paths. That’s how to do it right.
Everspace 2 takes the other path. Instead of substantial upgrades and unique affixes to compare and contrast, you get tons of percentage affixes and boring lateral upgrades. Unique interesting upgrades do exist, but are far apart and drowned out by the trash. Ships do come in different classes, but ultimately a ship is a ship. You end up doing basically the same things with basically the same weapons. Which again isn’t unexpected or bad, just unexciting.
Everspace 2 is a well put together game. And in today’s gaming world, that is a very impressive thing. It looks, runs, and sounds great. In all my time with the game, I didn’t run into any bugs graphical or otherwise. Controls were tight, and the minute-to-minute gameplay just feels great and smooth. I could live without the loot system, but even then the worst crime it commits is being bland. It’s a good game, a very solid space sim. My issues stem from its failure to stand out. No Man’s Sky being the obvious elephant in the room here, with the absolute monster list of things you can do in that game making it the ultimate space simulator. But perhaps that is Everspace 2’s niche. Sometimes you just wanna fly around and vape some baddies, and in that case, Everspace 2 is the game for you.
Everspace 2 is absolutely stunning, full of beautiful environments and dazzling effects.
Flight feels sleek and natural, combat is fast and smooth, with my biggest complaint being the looter shooter elements feeling bland and unimpressive.
I was really impressed with the voice-acting, and sound effects are crisp and exciting.
Fun Factor: 8.0
Everspace 2 successfully pivots to a more traditional Freelancer styled space sim, though at the price of the unique and original premise of the original.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Everspace 2 is available now on PC.
Reviewed on PC.
A copy of Everspace 2 was provided by the publisher.