It took me nearly an hour to find the fun in Starpoint Gemini 2, because this wasn’t the game I thought I was sitting down to play. Initially, I had presumed I would be playing an action flight simulator set in the depths of space akin to one of my old favourites X-Wing Vs. Tie Fighter. I had expected OK controls and some unwieldy enemies I would have to spiral around to defeat with my small arsenal of on board weapons in a very linear and predictable fashion. Oh boy, how wrong I was! As someone who enjoyed hundreds of hours of EVE: Online, I’ve always had high expectations for my space simulation games and Starpoint Gemini 2 brings so much of the same in-depth systems to a more directly controlled flight simulation that I could get lost for hours. The vastness of space never felt so large – or so full with packed opportunities for you to freely fly amongst the stars and determine your own destiny.
At the start of your adventure you’re able to decide what kind of Captain you are going to be; A Commander, Gunner or Engineer – each class providing different buffs for your style of play that will enhance the way in which you approach combat situations. You may decide you’ll take it easy and have your ship fire-at-will, and hope for the best with a single click of a button; an excellent choice if you want to concentrate on some tricky manoeuvring during combat to try and avoid incoming fire, and probably a must for anyone new to the genre or unsure of the controls. You may choose to go more advanced, and go completely manual controlled which offers a tight and yet frenetic experience.
Although it’s simply on paper, you’re controlling your flight path and you simply click anywhere on your enemy to take the shot where you have clicked, (giving you the ability to target anywhere you think would deal the most damage) and continue on your way while manually managing system power levels. This was by far what I spent most of my time doing in Starpoint Gemini 2 – mastering the controls of the manual combat because you’ll never have a more satisfying feeling than flying tight past your enemy and hitting them with the most perfect barrage from the turret view as they explode in a beautiful emptiness of space. Or, of course, maybe you’re the sort of Captain who likes to injure his prey and then circle back around, grapple onto the enemy vessel and board them to loot their precious cargo. The choice entirely yours and the game doesn’t punish you for playing your way, but rather celebrates it by offering so many different choices throughout that enable you to ensure you’re powered up the way you want, and not by some predetermined dice roll you have no control over.
The game offers something very few games have up to this point and doesn’t seem to realise it, or celebrate it too loudly – the trade system; this offers something for everyone. The trading even impressed a spreadsheet anorak like myself who sits sprawling notes for most games of this type! If you’re fed up of fast paced adrenaline pumping combat scenarios, then Starpoint Gemini 2 offers you the opportunity to take a slower walk in life and go earn something to trade for by mining local asteroids, towing back those rich rewards and looking for some profit. It’s unusual to see something so slow matched with what seems, at first, to solely be an action game, but is a welcome relief after a few hours of blasting through some skirmishes. The game allows you to take stock, maybe put on some TV, because you don’t need to focus solely on the game and earn some credits and XP while you’re at it. You could even be a trader and pick supplies up from one station and ferry them across the galaxy to another, for a nice lump of profit. Trading also brought me the most stress, as I constantly refused to sell as I was determined to find the best price and get back to that one station tucked right away, that offered a few more credits extra per item. This was where I had the most pleasure as I got that perfect trade and made the maximum profit.
Opposing factions and politics also plays a huge part in your adventure across the galaxy. Different factions police different items so, for example, if you’re transporting a banned item a faction has deemed contraband you better not hope your hold is searched in their territory and are made to jettison your hold or face longer term ramifications across the whole of their sector.
Because of the vastness of the game I’m certain I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s available to players however I know this game is huge – when I talk about a galaxy I mean an actual galaxy. You’re not splashing around in a kiddy pool at the edge of our solar system, you have the ability to travel far and wide and to play the game you want to play without the game really dictating too much to you.
Starpoint Gemini 2 is a near perfect space-simulation game, however I do feel there is a single hurdle some players won’t be able to get around and that’s the initial start of the game; you’ll spend a good 15 minutes simply reading prompts about the different controls prior to getting into the game and then the game effectively leaves you to do as you please, while you float around aimlessly to get your bearings. This could be a problem for some gamers who are coming in expecting an action game without much depth, that’s as much their problem as it was mine. I had no idea the depth I was walking in to. The fact it was hidden behind some written tutorials and an hour of floating around aimlessly was well worth it, and helped to teach me the intricacies and depth of the controls. If you’ve got a little patience and can get through the initial hour then Starpoint Gemini 2 has so much waiting behind the curtain to offer you.
Developee: Little Green Men Games
Publisher: Iceberg Interactice
Currently available on Steam, Starpoint Gemini 2 has so much to offer it could keep you busy for months to come.