Space Rangers (2)

OK, Space Rangers 2 is out, and you can get it at gogamer. Of course, it is listed as just Space Rangers, but it is the sequel. Anyway, I didn’t play the first game. Is it an action RPG? Or is it more of a straight RPG? Or a sim? I’m just not sure exactly what kind of game it is. Does it compare to Escape Velocity, because some of the screens look like that.

So…anyone tried it? I wants it I do, but it is east European and therefore suspect.

Great, it’s FINALLY out. I’m gonna go order this now. :)

OK, Brian, but you played the first one right? Tell us about it.

I mentioned this game in a different thread, and people had positive comments about the first game. Since both are made by the same development team I would expect the new title to be, at the very least, as good as the last.

I was going to order it this week, but the fuel pump gave out on my car, so I’m out a few hundred dollars. <sigh>

From what I can gather it seems to be:

1 part lite RPG (think Star Wolves meets Freelancer, if you had a chance to play those titles)
1 part turn-based space combat
1 part RTS while engaging in land battles.

Here is an interesting explaination of the first game, which is included with SR2:

the space combat / trading part is definitely superior to escape velocity. i’ve only played for an hour or so, but it looks promising.

The combat is turn-based? That just about sells me on it right there. :)

It’s a mixture of turn-based and real-time combat, IIRC. Much of the game, in the “starmap” screen, is turn-based, so moving to different systems and planets takes a certain amount of turns, for example. Certain combat sequences switch to real time and take place in small arena-style areas with power ups and what not. You can take missions or find profitable trade routes and screw the main plot. Overall, it’s a fun mix of star-control or escape velocity nova style gameplay with some arcade action thrown in as well.


More impressions from people who have the game? Anyone seen any reviews yet?

I dig the screenies that I’ve googled up, but I would also like to hear some more impressions.

Dang, for a second I thought this was a game based on a cartoon I used to love as a kid. It had these four Rangers, each with special powers. One had a mechanical arm that shot blasts, another was psionic, another could control these semisentient computer programs, and another had a weird ability that gave him really fast reflexes and durability. But then I remembered that that was called “Galaxy Rangers” and that it should probably remain safely locked away behind the rose colored glasses of my childhood.

Gogamer is now backordered :( Anyone know a good way to get this in the US?

I completely remember that show and a show called Bionic Six running back-to-back in my Saturday morning cartoon routine when I was a kid.

Beware the Starforce…

Ok, here’s some extended impressions from about 6 hours play:

The game so far is excellent.

It is like Escape Velocity meets Star control 2, but with the polished presentation of the latter. Planets move along orbits, comets and meteors have newtonian trajectories (which makes mining them a bit of a challenge). It is also turn-based while in space… which makes it a lot more strategic than Escape Velocity.

There are some great UI conventions introduced which enhance the experience a lot. For instance, while on planets, every information screen has a little “i” button at the bottom of them. If you press this button, it will make a new “i” button at the bottom of your interface… almost like a taskbar. If you mouse over this new “i” button, it will display the entire contents of the screen as a tooltip. This is an extremely effective way of making a personalized journal, and invaluable when comparing buy/sell prices at different planets for trade.

The customizing of the ships seems extremely deep as well, with many different ship types and components. There are also a lot of loot-type items that can be used to enhance existing components, give overall stat bonuses, etc.

The universe is extremely dynamic. The overall plot point is that there is an alien race (three, actually… three different types of aliens all working together) trying to take over the galaxy. There are frontline areas where these aliens are expanding, and large battles that take place between the occupying sentient races and the invaders. There are also all sorts of military, trade and pirate ships duking it out all over the place as well.

To go into these dynamics further:

One time I was flying to the edge of a sector when I saw about 6 friendly ships circling eachother. I hailed one of them, and he said that in 5 days they were launching a counter-offensive against a neighboring system that was recently attacked… and said I could join them if I wanted. I passed turns for 5 days, and then the whole attack fleet warped into the neighboring system and commenced the attack. It was a great battle.

Another example is that I got jumped by two pirates. There was a neutral transport in the area. I hailed them and asked for help. Because my charisma was high enough, the transport decided to aid me, and we beat them easily.

In addition to general loot you get from blowing up enemy ships (you can also salvage a LOT of good stuff if you see a battle in progres by swooping in and grabbing debris while the combatants are distracted) there is another layer. The enemy alien races drop “nodes” which can be brought to a science station and researched. It appears there is a bit of an XCom-type research tree, where you invest these nodes into technologies, which get researched over months eventually resulting in a new piece of alien technology that can be used.

Next up is the RTS segment of the game. Every once in a while, a government will ask you to liberate a planet’s surface from the alien invaders. This loads up a complete 3D RTS engine. It definately doesn’t compare to warcraft III, but it is fun nonetheless. I generally don’t like RTS games, but this one has a cool feature: you can take direct control of any of your units at any time, using WASD and mouse to attack.

The units you create are made up of several components that you can pick for every unit. These include chassis size, weapons loadouts, special items and leg type. All the units basically Mechs…

One of the nice features is you can pause and give orders to some extent… it seems that you can only give orders to units that are grouped while the game is paused for some reason. Ungrouped units can’t be given orders.

Yet another aspect are “away” type missions you sometimes get from planets. These are like “lite” text adventures you go on, and are pretty fun. The only one I’ve done so far was a sort of “pod race” where I had to select the type of pod racer I would use (fast, protected or maneuverable) and then it would present me with a piece of terrain I was on and how fast or cautious I wanted to drive on it. This would decrease my overall shield, but may give me a lead if I’m aggressive. There is definately potential for some of these missions to be really interesting.

The final type of gameplay that I haven’t tried yet are “blackhole” fights. In these, your ship is sucked into a blackhole and has to fight against an alien ship. The big difference here is that all the action is realtime, and from what I read plays just like Star Control/Escape Velocity.

Another thing to note is that the entire universe is randomly generated each time you play… giving this some incredible replay value. There is even a “top 20” scoreboard once you die. That’s not to say the game is short by any means. It looks like it would take a good 40 hours to win a game. You can also save anywhere (except during the RTS fights… you can only restart those).

It also comes with Star Rangers 1 on the disc, which is a completely different game. The only difference is that I believe there are no RTS planetside battles in the first one.

So, there you have it. I REALLY like this game so far.

EDIT: sorry for the presentation order of features, it was mainly just train-of-thought. Another thing I forgot to add is that you can actually mine planets as well. This is a pretty cool feature and it works like this:

You can buy planetary probes from various vendors. You can then fly to an unihabited planet. The planet will have a certain percentage of mountains, plains and oceans. Each probe has the ability to scan one or more of these. So, while in orbit, you can drop one or more probes into various orbits around the planets. Depending on the quality of the probe, it will scan the planet’s surface for any resources over the period of weeks or months. You then return to the planet and can collect any found resources.

The UI comes into play here as well… there is always a bubble at the bottom of the taskbar that lists all probes and stored items, and their location. So you don’t have to write down where you left probes scanning stuff.

Excellent, going to have to track this one down…

Slick! Might have to steal that convention.

Slick! Might have to steal that convention.[/quote]

Yes, it’s one of the best and most accesable journals I’ve seen in a game. The great thing about it is that no matter where you are in the game, it’s always at the bottom of the screen. Also, you never have to click on anything, the info pops up on mouseover, thus eliminating the need to page through anything.

Additionally, you can right click on any of the bubbles and it will pop and delete itself.

The only thing I don’t know about it is what happens when you fill the entire bar. It may require you to erase older entries. Many of my entries are for commodity prices… and they do get outdated as the game goes on… so I find myself killing them off and going back to get an update.

There is space for about 25 though.

That sounds absolutely awesome. I need to track this game down. Thanks for taking the time to write that up flyinj.

Man, that sounds great -

Quick question on the RTS part though: is it a top-down affair? Does the perspective change at all when you take control of a unit (to first-person or chase cam)?