EverSpace 2 is an ambitious title. It’s an arcade-like spaceship-combat game within an open-world game and with RPG elements and loot.
The first game had rogue-like elements, but the sequel changed the formula to focus more on free-roaming exploration.
The space shooter brings a quality single-player campaign, fluid controls, and sweat graphics.
It’s currently on Early Access, and it has been so since January 2021. So far, it looks like a great deal of fun while promising a huge arcade adventure.
EverSpace 2 is available for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Linux, and macOS.
What is EverSpace 2 ?
The first game of the series was a fairly entertaining rogue-like title. It looked great; it felt great and offered hours and hours of mindless fun.
Now, we’ve got a traditional open-world space adventure game. There’s a single-player campaign that offers a series of missions across an expansive galaxy. Outside of the missions, you can combat, loot, explore, solve puzzles, and trade.
Its free movement system works for both exploration and combat, and it stands out. There are already many places to explore and enemies to combat on its Early Access version. It’s not infinite, though, and you will run out of content after about 20 hours.
But before that, the puzzles will keep the game more interesting. They are a break from the fights, offering an opportunity to play around with your ship on gorgeous scenarios.
For example, you might enter into a derelict space-drill, and find it’s missing a power fusion. Then, if you find the power fusion on the asteroid ring nearby, you can power the drill and mine some resources.
Strong single-player campaign
The game picks up strong with its story missions. The plot reveals you’re the same clone pilot as the first game. However, the pilot is living his last life. If he dies, no other clones will continue his legacy.
Then, you start your adventure in a galaxy that gates clones. Enemies are trying to learn your identity to destroy you.
The plot pushes the clone to the edges of the galaxy, where he can hide his identity and live like a mercenary.
Granted, the main character is a clone, so he has a dull personality. He’s disposable, rarely passionate, and always stoic.
There’re companion characters as well, like a returning AI sidekick that makes your journeys a lot more enjoyable. Aside from the main clone, most characters you meet have above-average voice acting and personality, so there’s nothing to complain about.
That said, you can’t make decisions or guide the story with the dialogue. You simply play it as it unfolds in front of your eyes. It’s not the most intriguing or world-ending sci-fi story out there. It’s personal, fun, and a good excuse to take you to increasingly explosive space-action set pieces.
So far, so good.
The best-looking space game
The first thing that comes to mind when playing EveryScape 2 is how good it looks. You can pause the game at any moment, and it looks like a pre-rendered promotional material.
This game boasts a high quantity of detail. Your ship, the space, and any place you visit are evidence of high-production-value, worthy of top-tier Hollywood production.
You’ll find yourself frequently pausing the game just to look around you. Moreover, you can go in and out of your ship for either first or third-person view. Both are engaging views, and, more importantly, every ship has neatly designed interiors.
Overall, EverSpace 2 is a sight to behold, one of the best elements of the game. Nevertheless, it’s not all looks and no show. It has plenty more to offer.
How open is the world?
Because EverSpace 2 is an Early Access game, the world is not so big yet. Don’t get me wrong, the game currently runs flawlessly, but the content is incomplete.
First, the world is not a seamless, single open-world galaxy. Instead, it has medium-sized space and planetary pockets. You can hop to these spaces by interacting with an interface, so there’s no combat and no traveling involved.
While heading to your next destinations, you could see dynamic events popping up around you. You can steer off to complete these activities if you please. They reward combat practice, experience, and loot.
So, while you may not fly in and out of a planet as you do on No Man’s Sky, these are not randomly generated places. Instead, every location in EverSpace 2 is hand-crafted, making the game look cool, unique, and gorgeous.
While there’re many “blow these guys up” activities in the game, there’re also plenty of puzzles. These are creative and require finding hidden objects and using your abilities in a creative matter.
Other activities include picking up key items within tight spaces you need to navigate.
Puzzles, though, can consume a lot of time, more than you’d want them to. That’s because your sensors won’t pick up the items easily. You’ll need to navigate maze-like places, often in the darkness.
Overall, it can take you about 15 hours to complete the story, explore, solve puzzles, and do many activities. It’s a short experience, but everything is running to perfection.
Still, it’s evidence the game is a work in progress, And while the ending screen will urge you to explore the side content, you’ll lose the motivation once you complete its main story arc.
On the downside, there’s only a rudimentary trading and faction system that rewards you for taking jobs. Aside from that, though, there’s no overreaching mechanic across the semi-open pockets. The lack of factions and systems makes the world feel disjointed.
The best space combat in recent years
Rarely do I feel like space-combat games are worth my money. Even though these games tend to look great, they often feel the same.
EverSpace 2 is distinct from its competition, though. The unique combination between its open-world, complex combat, and thrilling visuals make for the best space-combat games I’ve seen in recent years.
This is an action-packed game. If you’ve played titles like Star Wars: Squadrons or Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, you’d know how this feels like.
Movement in shooting takes a few minutes to understand. As it all happens in a 3D environment, controllers are hard to grasp at first.
After the initial struggle, you’ll realize combat is fast, colorful, responsive, and fun. And there’re enough mechanics to make the game engaging and unique all throughout the end.
There’s a significant change compared to other space-combat games. Most titles feature a ship that automatically moves forward. On EverSpace 2, though, it works akin to a character in a typical shooter. If you don’t push the “W” button, you won’t move.
On top of that, your ship has various movements to do the kind of stunts you’d find on a Mission Impossible movie. Combat maneuvers include quicker acceleration, quick deceleration, hover, dash, and more.
Master your maneuvers
Now, most fights work like a chase. You’ll be fighting your enemies across expansive territories, which means you need to be aware of your maneuvers.
Staying on track is crucial to defeating your foes. You’ll fight across derelict ships, asteroids, defensive beam systems, and all kinds of crazy sci-fi scenarios. If you’re not careful or focus too much on the offensive, the terrain will destroy you.
The RPG elements
Combat has a reasonable level of complexity due to the RPG elements of the game. In fact, dogfighting feels better on mouse and keyboard than controllers, as there’re several inputs you must use.
First, you can equip different weapons on your ship. These weapons are stronger against either armor or shields. That means you’ll need to swap between your weapon categories to destroy enemy shields or armor.
Then, you have homing missiles, rockets, or mines to fight. You’ll need to restock these items on a trading post or on your home base.
Your ship has special abilities tied to a cooldown, so you have to manage timing to blast and cripple your enemies.
Additionally, you can upgrade your abilities, so they have more effects. Other RPG mechanics include leveling up your gear, your pilot, and your home base.
On the home base front, you can talk to the NPCs you’ve added to your base. If you supply them with the resources they’re asking for, they can add useful buffs to your ship.
Abilities and stats
There’re various ship classes to choose from. You can acquire the ships from certain outputs, and they have different stats and special abilities.
The three main stats are shield, armor, and hull. On top of that, every ship has a speed plus a handling score, both numbers giving you a clue of how well it moves across space.
Ships may also bring a passive ability, which is unique. Similarly, they bring a Special, a utility-like buff, plus an Ultimate ability.
There’s a path to upgrade ships via augmentation modules. You can get these items by looting and exploring the space. In return, these increase your ship’s stats.
There’s a great variety of abilities to play with. For example, one of the first powers is an EMP blast that disables enemy ships for 10 seconds. If you improve the ability, you can reduce its cooldown by 2 seconds for each enemy you kill.
Whereas the Ultimate ability depends on your ship, abilities come with your pilot. Right now, though, there’s a handful of ultimates available. However, to change ships, you need a hefty amount of in-game money.
Ultimate and perks
As you play, you’ll realize your Ultimate comes with a meter that needs to charge. When you push the Ultimate button, you’ll unleash the power of your vessel.
The charging meters are common ground in modern games. We’ve seen it on many titles like Destiny 2 and Overwatch. That means you probably know how these work already.
But then, there’re Devices as well. Think of these as “spells” you find and equip mid-flight. Devices are not plentiful, but they can dramatically change your gameplay.
For example, a Device fires a virus that spreads to nearby ships and explodes after a few seconds.
More importantly, your pilot levels up and unlocks perks. These tailor your combat approach with things like shield recharge on enemy kill.
Also, you’ll earn new companions by following the campaign. These are the NPCs you’ll take back to your home base. As I said, getting their favor grants additional perks. These perks mostly add utility bonuses.
Overall, there’s plenty of customization available, but it’s a lot to take. It can be overwhelming, particularly when you add the ability to customize your ship’s aesthetics.
Enemy variety is fair. It’s not huge, but it’s enough to keep you on your toes.
Also, it’s a matter of quality, not quality. Most enemies need a different approach. Enemy crafts feature particular behaviors, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
For example, heavily armored enemies function like a shotgun. They get close to one-shot your ship. They’re also small drone-type ships, and they can trap you and self-destruct if they get too close.
Other enemies are fast and prone to dodge your missiles. They might try to fly in circles to distract you and then attack you from behind.
They’re also large capital ships. You’d need to pick off their turrets when they pop up.
Space shooter looter
Above all things, what you’ll like is the loot. Sweet, glorious space loot is the result of every explosion you cause.
You’ll find different kinds of weapons to go pew-pew with extra power. Available upgrades can turn your weapons into a shotgun, a Gatlin gun, a beam, and more.
Weapons are either uncommon, rare, and superior. Superior Gear has useful bonus effects, so you’ll want to keep an eye on these items.
For example, superior gear can deal more damage when your ship is in the sunlight. Another crucial effect is the ability to deal more damage to higher-leveled enemies.
I’m sharing an explanation trailer below that summarizes everything I’ve said. In particular, you’ll learn about stats, skills, and itemization.
In the end, EverSpace 2 is the most fun you’ll have with a space-shooter. It’s a shame the game is not complete, but there’s not much we can do about that.
As it is, the game raises the stakes on what an Early Access game should offer. It’s an arcade space shooter with high-quality production values, from visuals to performance, OST, and sound design.
It’s thrilling and entertaining. However, it’s incomplete, so you might want to hold your money for a while. If you do, though, keep an eye for when the game makes its final debut.
So, overall, EverSpace 2 is already an excellent space looter-shooter game.