Darkstar One / Freelancer / X2, X3

Success! I found my CD case for I-War 2 and, happily enough, Disc 1 was snuggled up inside. I’m off to have fun amongst the stars now…I’m such a geek!

Darkstar is great, but it’s no I-War. Apples and oranges.

As for Darkstar being repetitive, I was plenty engaged by the parallel threads of storyline on one hand, and upgrading your ship on the other. In fact, I’d say the ship upgrades, including your uber-weapon tree, did a great job of pulling you forward through the game.

-Tom

Somebody stupid is obviously posting as TomChick above.

Darkstar One took all that was bad about Freelancer, jettisoned most of what was good, marginalized the trading side, threw in meagre handful of constantly-reused content, and sat there and just plain sucked.

I-War II is good, but it’s hardcore, way over on the sim side, and there are some very vindictive missions to overcome.

The X2 and X3 are games I desperately want to love, because they sound like the ideal space sim [tm] in theory – full on trading, space combat, and a story if you get tired of bumping around. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, the fun part got sucked out. Playing X3 is more of a chore than anything else.

BC3000 series…you know, if Derek would jettison about a half-dozen stupid designs in the games, they would work really well. Unfortunately, his well-massaged ego refuses to let him do this, so forget the BC3K games unless you’ve got the patience of a saint.

Take a look at the Star Wraith series. There’s a lot of love behind these admittedly-amatueristic and clunky-looking games. The designer creates separate games, one that focus on combat exclusively, the other on the more elite type.

There’s Milo’s Starshatter games, too. Again, we’re looking at another holy grail – dynamic campaign A.I. + space shooter – but they’re rough around the edges, sparse in content, have some nasty design lapses, and are totally unforgiving.

Tachyon was a space sim made by Novalogic. If you’re familiar with Novalogic’s pump-and-dump design cliches, that should tell you enough right there.

I thought Space Rangers 2 was the absolute bomb for approximately 2 weeks. Then I couldn’t force myself to play it any more.

X-Wing Alliance – Totally Games’ swansong. Interesting, with the usual (and brutal) X-W/TIE puzzlebox missions. Goes to hell once Endor comes around – the interesting “Trading Family War” storyline is unceremoniously dumped so that you can play Lando in a stupidly frustrating Death Star run.

My advice: jeez, for space sims these days? Rough call.

I’d think anybody who likes X3 for the biz sim part would be right at home in EVE-Online

Well, I’m happy with I-War 2 for now. I’m surprised that I didn’t like it when it first came out. I’m guessing it just wasn’t what I was looking for, although I don’t see why I would think that, since I played and enjoyed the first one. Ah well, for whatever reason, I never did play much into the game before. In the past couple of hours, in fact, I’ve gone farther in the game than I did previously, and I’m really enjoying it. I can’t wait to start getting a better handle on the flight model so that I can turn off flight assist and have fun with inertia.

Thanks, everybody, for forcing me to dig through my piles of accumulated crap to find both my discs…if I-War 2 hadn’t been talked up as much in this thread, I would have probably just grabbed a digital purchase of Darkstar One.

I do still intend to play Darkstar, though. I enjoyed the demo enough that I think I would enjoy the full game. The repetition is the only thing that concerns me, but I’ll just cross that bridge when I come to it.

Thanks again!

Darkstar is very much an action game. The trading is just just one of the token ways to make money, and it’s very simple. The core of the game is upgrading your ship and fighting battles, and there’s not much exploration beyond tracking down those upgrade tokens, or whatever they were called. The little class graph was a pretty cool idea, but once you maxed out a bonus or two, there wasn’t much to do with it.

But the combat is satisfying, it looks great, and there’s a nice bit of variety in the weapons and the choices you made for your uber-weapon powers. I really enjoyed it and thought the developers did a fine job with a clean and focused design. I’m guessing the mediocre reviews were from people expecting something fleshed out like Elite, or Space Rangers in 3D.

-Tom

Darkstar One is a sweet little game. Expectations for something more hard-core have hurt its reputation though. The inevitable, and fairly accurate, comparison is that Darkstar is Diablo in space. In 3D. Who couldn’t love that?

So basically, Freespace and IW are the only two good space sim series that are still worth playing? That seems odd. Is there anything in the pipeline that might (just might…like has a chance at all) come close to these old gems?

Oh, and will someone answer my damned gamepad question. Can you play IW2 without a joystick?

I haven’t tried it myself, but it is apparently well suited to a gamepad. You should probably map the lateral thrusters to one analogue stick (WSAD for mouse/keys, hat switch for joystick), and the player view to the other (mouse in mouse/keys, stick in joystick).

It’s also well worth installing a bunch of the official Particle Systems mods listed on this page, especially Custom Jafs, which is what he should have been like on release, and makes the freeform piracy elements of the game a lot smoother. Other good ones are “Location Finder” and “No Launch Sequence”, and the “Walkthrough Encyclopaedia” is handy.

Where’s my IW3? :(

Minus the variety of loot, minus the variety of equipment, and minus the variety of character development.

Jesus, people, turn in your gamer badges. Darkstar One was not a good game.

We heard you the first time, scharmers. Shouting in bolded italics isn’t going to make anyone agree with you. Besides, check this out:

YES IT WAS!

Ha ha, you just got pwned.

-Tom

Ha ha, you just got pwned.

X3 blows away any of these games mentioned in this thread IMO.

It really depends on how much depth you want, because something like Darkstar One is on the opposite end of the scale of the X series.

That cat is awesome! Is he yours, scharmers?

Man, I’m a sucker for a good cat picture. Okay, you win: Darkstar sucked.

-Tom

X3 better than IW2, Freelancer, Elite, etc? I think not.

I would say, for my money, X3 was better than Freelancer, although I don’t think Freelancer is a bad game.

Recognizing the limitations of Freelancer (no dynamic economy, limited campaign, limited replayability, among others), I still think it was a pretty cool game. As someone who isn’t a hard core sim fan, I found it accessible and (visually) quite stunning. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and find myself thinking “I really should buy X3” just because I enjoyed Freelancer so much and would like to enjoy a somewhat similar game at some point in the future.

Also, the Freelancer Qt3 multiplayer (hosted by Tom, mostly), was also damn cool.

I definitely loved Freelancer, the arcade-y combat was done just right with the mouse (in fact, I dug the whole interface). The multiplayer server was awesome, and there was plenty out there to make exploring worth while. The shortcomings didn’t bother me too much.

As I mentioned earlier, once I get those first few factories going to bring in cash, I find my X3 experience isn’t just a dry spreadsheet sim. I let the economic stuff handle itself and just take off. I have no interests in building upa 20 billion dollar fleet. I just want the cash I need to have a kick ass fighter and to go exploring. But getting to that point requires a bit of a time investment through the economic tedium.

Wasn’t someone doing a fan remake of Privateer?