On Wednesday I posted a short first look at the space sim – Star Citizen. The game is still in alpha but there are enough playable sections and it’s gotten enough buzz that it seemed worth getting a closer look at. I played what I thought was the most up to date version – 2.0 for a couple of weeks and wrote and posted my (positive) impressions.
It turned out that I made a mistake. The version of the launcher that I was running did not update for some reason (still an alpha remember) so when I tried to click into the Universe section it crashed the client. I did a little searching but came to the incorrect conclusion that this was because this part of the game was not yet implemented. When I posted the article I quickly had a commenter point out that I’d missed a crucial part of the game.
A few minutes research later and I realised that the launcher I was using had not updated and after failing to persuade it to do so I ended up having to uninstall and reinstall all 30 gigabytes of Star Citizen but the Persistent Universe became available.
So what is there and is it significant? When Star Citizen launches as a full game it promises a huge persistent universe. Version 2.0 gives you one star system out of that universe – the Crusader system. The system is not yet finished but the patch notes show 8 missions with dog fighting and EVA, 8 research missions and 1 exploration mission. There are also over 20 random encounters with hostiles as 4 random exploration missions. It’s one big system wide sandbox map.
The best part? You get to do this in your own ship. I’ve been playing the Arena sim and was careful not to get any emotional attachments to its virtual, throw away ships so the first time I took off in my ship it was something special. You start on the central space station and quickly realise that some of the first person shooter elements I though were not there yet have been integrated. There is an armistice on the first station that keeps everything nice and safe but with a little exploration you find Security Post Kareah which is much more free for all both FPS and ship based.
The stories on the missions are interesting but are obviously placeholders rather than being fully developed – lots of random pirates attacking random security ships who are either asking for help or telling you to keep out of it.
There are also a number of other parts to the PU not previously encounted. Multi-crew ships – catch a ride or help by firing turrets or fixing things, refuling and repair on the go and lots of EVA fun.
I did hit one problem. While playing the Arena my PC was able to handle it without significant problems. The PU crashed regularly. Very regularly. And frame rate, never particularly high was near unplayable at times. As an alpha this isn’t surprising and I’m not criticising the fact that it happens but its something that you should be aware of coming in. A little research shows that I might be able to tweak the settings or find the drivers that are causing the problems and improve things somewhat but it’s frustrating.
So does all of this change my opinion of Star Citizen as a game? Yes – but positively. On Wednesday I said that Star Citizen might turn out to be an amazing genre changing game or it might not but I’m leaning far more towards it being one. Crusade is a very fun and surprisingly deep peak into the full game and I can’t wait to spend more time there and explore more.
This game is an Alpha and is has a long way to go. I recommended Star Citizen for space combat simulator fans with a powerful system and I’d stick by that but start to add those looking to explore, and get into their own sandbox and willing to accept the alpha issues.