Space Rangers HD next week on Steam!

I’m not a space junkie but SR2 is unique in itself. I was introduced to this game by Bill Harris of Dubious Quality and I think I played twice. Pretty pumped up for this remake but not sure how well it hold out among other games these days.

I think for me, the right time and place for SR2 to grab me would have been about 15 years ago. As I get older, I find that I have less patience for learning complex games and need a bit more handholding to get started. Sigh.

Yeah, understanding the search function is pretty much a core requirement for playing SR2. It existed in the original, but Reboot added ways to search for ship parts by specs, and for commodities by price limits. Unfortunately Reboot screwed that up, the search function swapped the entries for Luxuries and Minerals, and Equipment and Alcohol. Since Luxuries are your most important trade good, being the highest in value density that’s usually legal (unlike drugs), that meant you generally had to just list all the nearby planets in Search and manually eyeball prices. I’m assuming they fixed that.

I suspect that’s the real reason for me right there, but I don’t want to actually admit it.

Oh, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ll see if it still does that swap you mentioned.

That’s surprising since I thought you were one of the biggest SR2 advocates on these forums. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I thought it was your recommendation (along with a few others) that got me to play it a couple years ago.

In any case, Netriak detailed the search bug pretty well in this post:

There’s an unofficial patch to fix the search (further down that page), but I have no idea if it would be compatible with the new HD version…

The thing is, I really enjoyed the bit I played, but I always got distracted by other shiny things.

We had some good discussions here, as well.

I’m willing to learn complex games, then and now, but they have to have a gameplay hook that I enjoy in the interim. If the whole complexity is based on a future promise (keep learning this and eventually it might start being fun) then I’m usually out. But if there’s some, any, gameplay element that’s a fun baseline on which they build the complex system, then I’m willing to stick it out and learn. But like I said, none of the core gameplay elements of SR2 ever grabbed me: space exploration/combat, RTS, text adventure. The only thing it had going for it was a nebulous future promise that people were mentioning about similarities of Star Control 2 and Privateer and other games I loved. But those games had basic gameplay elements and story hooks that I enjoyed from the beginning.

I don’t think other people were talking about future gameplay. At least, that’s not how it was for me. Space combat isn’t really part of the game at the start, since you don’t really want combat until you’re very well equipped, I really enjoyed the trading aspects of the game right from the start. If you don’t get a kick out of trying to figure out how to make money in the game, it’s really not going to work for you.

But Gus, you said you were trying to figure out the trading system right away, but I didn’t know enough to know how to even figure that out yet. Do you know what I mean? Like this advanced search thing you’re talking about, I have no idea that was in the game or how to get to that. That’s what I was talking about, is that I don’t mind figuring things out in games and getting a very satisfying feeling when I do figure it out. But during that process of figuring out game systems that will pay off later, I like doing things at a gameplay level that I enjoy.

It’s like I enjoy having a baseline gameplay element that’s satisfying at its most basic. For example, in X: Beyond the Frontier, I actually sat there with graph paper and drew a map of the systems out on paper so I would know what the universe looked like, and what kind of prices I would find in which system so that I could make a profit. But before I even started mapping out the universe and putting down prices, I enjoyed just the act of using a joystick to fly a ship around. Just that very basic level of gameplay was appealing enough to me to keep me in until I got to the more rewarding stuff later that I had to work for. And intellectually that seems so sparse. Why would I enjoy pointing my ship through a bunch of rings in space and flying around using a joystick? I can’t explain why exactly, but I do, I love that at an almost primal level.

There are other gameplay systems that seem like small things that make for very interesting gameplay right off the bat in a game like Privateer. I’m talking about having jump points be these little areas that you had to get to in order to initiate a jump to a different system. And the fact that the jump didn’t take place right away. Your jump systems took time to power up as the camera zoomed out from your ship, and you were so vulnerable during those precious seconds. It made the act of running away from superior enemies so interesting. There you were, praying that the enemy didn’t destroy your ship before you got to jump, and that you actually got to the other side with your cargo safely. And that whatever money you made was not swallowed up by the repairs you had to do to your ship. There was so much in-game narrative and gameplay repercussions that resulted from that small decision. In this case, the act of running away was made tremendously exciting.

I’m guessing that there were things like that in SR2 as well, it’s just that I never got to it, since there was no baseline gameplay hook for me. I think all it would have taken was a better tutorial perhaps, or showing off a trick on how to run away from trouble better during the tutorial, or how to do advance searches on trades and making money. You know, just something to hook me while I was learning all the other systems that would take time to learn. Sometimes all it takes is a story hook that intrigues me and even if the gameplay hook isn’t there yet, I just want to know what happens next, and the gameplay comes later after I’ve learned enough to master a system.

I love SR2. It’s a game I’ve gone back to time and time again. I’ve always felt it could use more polish. The new art in the screenshots look great and the thought of playing the game in 1080p is making me drool. This HD remake is one of my most anticipated games of the year. :)

I’ve bought it numerous times, but I’ve never gotten around to my second full playthrough. I think this version will make me glad I waited.

I can see there’s some debate/variability in whether people like the text adventures, but I’m curious about the other mini-games:

Does anybody here really like the RTS game? I played it a bit and enjoyed learning the system for the first hour or two (it has that neat customization system and some interesting weapon variety), but ultimately, I think it’s fair to say that it’s an objectively terrible RTS game (certainly the missions are poor since they feature an obscene material advantage for the AI which is offset only by the fact that the AI is stone-cold stupid).

Likewise, I’ve only played a tiny bit of the arcade space-shooter mode (where you go through the wormholes or whatever it was), but I didn’t like that much either.

So I’d assume that most gamers would (like me) prefer to have a Space Rangers 3 where they leave out those two half-baked mini games and just focus on the core spaceship gameplay. Am I wrong? Are there fans here who really like that variety?

I think the text adventures are nifty, I just wish you could save during them. Really dislike the RTS portions though, but I like how they let you opt out of them entirely.

I pretty much only ever skipped the RTS part. It’s just too simplified and dull. I really enjoy the arcade mode and it’s pretty damn cool that every weapon has a “space” version and an arcade version.
What I loved most about this game was probably the best text adventures and the customisations / weapons / artifacts. Every upgrade is so powerful that it’s incredibly rewarding to progress in the game. The items are so fleshed out and they all matter so much. Looting terrific stuff from enemy pilots and “the threat” is just magnificent fun to me.

I could see myself getting completely lost in a sequel if they fleshed out the universe even further, I would enjoy seeing the competing rangers have more abilities and personalities. I think it comes down to the fact that I just love the idea that you’re just one guy amongst 50 pilots trying to make it in this world. It actually saddens me when I eventually start killing them off and the list grows shorter and shorter.
Teaming up with planets and going on sector raids is also a perfect idea, it’s so rewarding being the little guy in this epic battle with ships that are at first much more powerful than yourself, against a common enemy.

As I said, it amazes me how many things they got right with this game, and I don’t remember being put off by its open world design and lack of explanations.

On the negative side;
I think I remember repair costs being too expensive and that equipment degraded too quickly so it became a chore to keep everything fixed.
I do wonder if you can actually lose in the game though, I figure it’s possible that the aliens take over everything but I don’t think I ever came close to seeing that, I’d probably like to see a harder game in that aspect.
If I remember correctly you couldn’t get permanent allies, you had to rent them as mercenaries and they would always chicken out and flee when fighting the aliens.
Needed more ship variants, I feel it was too obvious what “the best ship” was.
Yes, and the fact that the game got a bit lonely when there weren’t many pilots left.

So when is the English version out?

Thursday, Debt Ceiling Day.

Should I really buy this game a third time? Seriously?

(Who am I kidding, of course I will buy it and lose another two hundred hours to the damn thing… favorite turn-based game in ages, maybe ever.)

I only ever played the “tutorial” RTS game, and while it was pleasant enough it struck me as a puzzle not a tactical challenge - I had to replay it several times until I hit upon the right combination of units to actually win the final battle. I suppose you could loosely call that tactics, but there didn’t seem to be any room for alternative tactics with the limited unit selection and the long, linear corridor you had to trudge your units up. No idea if later maps are any better, but judging from comments here I’m guessing not. I didn’t get to one of the text adventure games. However, I am inspired to give it another go at some point. It’s still in my Steam library.