I’m simply amazed at how many elements of this game are similar to Privateer. That game had so many dramatic moments where I try to run past the other ships, and go through the jump point, but spinning up the jump takes time and the other ships can shoot at you during that time. That mechanic has made it into this game, it looks like. Privateer had pirates for you to worry about (or join), a religious faction to worry about (and join in the expansion pack? I never played Righteous Fire, sadly), police forces (the Federation) and Mercenaries. This game has all those. The only thing missing is that Privateer also had an ongoing war between the Federation and the Kilrathi. As far as I’ve seen so far, there’s no equivalent of that in Outlaw.
There was a Merchant’s Guild (check), Mercenary Guild (check), mission boards (check), repair bays (check), ship dealers (check), bars with bartenders and sometimes other people (check). There was a commodities market in most places (check). There was a lot of debris floating in space (check). I only mention that last one because it’s relatively rare to see that outside of the Wing Commander series, so it was particularly striking to see that particular thing back with a vengeance in this game. Even the font for the computers seems to be taken right out of the old Privateer.
But of course, all of it is packaged in a much better looking game. The 2D cockpits are now 3D, there’s light reflecting off the smudged glass, there’s gorgeous lighting effects and smoke and reflections and so many little things.
Privateer was cheating in a way. It was set during the Kilrathi War that was already taking place in two previous games. Outlaw sort of has to establish its own unique universe out of whole cloth and doesn’t have that advantage. There obviously are a bunch of aliens in this world that seem to be interacting with humans and seem to already be integrated into human society. I hope I find out more about them as the game continues. I love that even the random mission boards are not completely random. For instance I found out there’s a prison in the Montana system, and they had a mission to help prisoners escape. There was a system there that needed Pure Water, and I not only saw mission board missions to take water there, but I saw several merchant guild missions in neighboring systems to take Pure Water to that same place where there’s a shortage, and Pure Water was selling for a lot of credits.
It’s only been a week, and I’m only the opening garbage scow, but I’m really loving this so far. I am dying a lot, I admit, but my memory of that from Privateer is pretty hazy by now. Did I die a lot in Privateer too? Especially in my opening ship? I think I did, but I can’t remember. That was 1993 or 94 when I played it, so it’s been a while.