By Tom Peden, Gamer News Daily Contributing Author
Star Citizen is possibly one of the most anticipated games of a generation. A fully crowd-funded game, with vast areas of exploration, beautiful graphics, combat, story missions (of which you can play with friends) & a bundle of ships to pilot your way around space. It almost sounds too good to be true, and some people may say it is.
I’ve been following this game for a very long time now. I’ve pledged my cash and spent a large amount of time in the game already. It has come a long way in that time, and yes there’s still some major glaring issues, but the game is NOT finished. I’ve always been the kind of person that prefers to wait longer for a better product than having a half-finished mess that needs numerous patches and versions to finally be something worth your time. I’m looking at you No Man’s Sky.
The question is – will Star Citizen be another No Man’s Sky? Or do Roberts Space industries have the execution to make this the game we all want it to be?
If you’ve been following this game like me, you may have watched various YouTube videos of what the game will be like in its 3.0 version. It looks amazing, vast open worlds, with huge planets to explore. In one particular video, one of the developers stated it would take something like a month to travel around just one of the planets! A MONTH – that’s like Skyrim X 1, 000,000!
I first heard about Star Citizen around a year and a half ago, and I was very skeptical at first. It just sounded too good to be true. As gamers, we’ve been fooled before by promises of grandeur and left with something flat that leaves a nasty taste after playing. Naturally, I needed to investigate and that’s why I pledged my cash and dove into the game first hand to see for myself.
2.6.1 Is Star Citizen’s latest build to be released by the folks over at Roberts Space Industries. It adds a new ship – the excellently named ‘Anvil Hurricane’ which is described on their website as ”a fighting spacecraft that packs a deadly punch into a slight fuselage”. However, hold your horses; it’s not quite ready to be launched from your hanger. This latest patch is intended to be a bug fix and a polishing patch and subsequently, has a whole host of bug fixes for its FPS module called Star Marine. You can find the details of all the changes here.
The game so far is ‘Okay’. The learning curve is not too steep if you’ve played other space combat games or MMOs. After the first hour of learning how to dock your ship and change your avatars gear, you’re ready to go. The ship’s feel great to fly and some of the animations are breathtaking. I did find some clipping issues however and a few instances of my avatar randomly falling through my ship and then floating through the endless vacuum of space. A few of these have been fixed with the 2.6.1 update.
For the first 10 hours, the game is amazing. There really is that sense of wonder and dread that space brings when you’re flying your ship through the stars, dogfighting with space pirates or navigating your way through a field of asteroids – all of which is infinitely more fun with friends at your side. When you’ve done that and you’ve killed your share of space pirates your experience in this mode can become lacklustre. In its current state, it’s very limited and can be repetitive. Not to mention the AI of the space pirates is not great.
You also have the FPS mode of Star Marine and then Arena Commander mode, which is a spaceship dogfighting module. These two game modes will take up most of your time in Star Citizen right now. They are modules within the game which you access by the main menu when the game is launched. You can expect to have very standard ‘Sub modes’ in them, like Team Deathmatch, Conquest, Ship Racing and others. There is also a new mode called Pirate Swarm in Arena Commander, which I think is self-explanatory.
The game does have content, but currently, it’s not enough to call the game finished by any means. It has been just over 2 years since players were able to launch the game and dive in – March 3rd, 2015 to be exact. It’s made some good progress, but there is still a very long way to go if the game is to be anything like the promises it’s being sold on. It feels like some of the basics are still not there, the air-lock doors have major bugs for example as well as some issues with clipping when entering certain ships. All of these things I would expect to be tested and fixed in its current time frame. However, in December the game engine changed from the CryEngine to Amazon’s Lumberyard, so I can see why some issues may persist now with big changes to the infrastructure.
One point I would like to make is how great it is that Roberts Space Industries keeps its backers in the loop. Constant updates, YouTube videos with the developers which show the game’s cycle and how the project is moving along. I think it’s credible and it fills those who have pledged with confidence. It’s unheard of in the video game industry and it gives you a sense of involvement with the projects. They also openly ask for its users to report bugs and issues and have functionality on the website to help players provide feedback.
It’s recently been reported that the game has just made over a staggering $144 million. This obviously helps the development costs and shows that they have the funding to fulfil their promises. It’s a testament to the community and how the developers have instilled belief in them. If Roberts Space Industries can make the game I know they’re trying too, this could be one of the biggest games in history and a benchmark for anybody else in space genre, not to mention a crowd-funded project.Let’s all hope they can execute this properly and we don’t have another No Man’s Sky on our hands. The question still remains, can they actually do it?