Space adventure driving/piloting sims seem to be the in thing right now, so would this game be another one in the crowd or could it soar above its competition? You are on an adventure of discovery, mystery and revenge, in a star system filled with worm holes, warps and debris. Can you find the truth, can you navigate your way through a cut-throat universe? Let’s find out in this Starpoint Gemini 2 Review.
Everything is pretty these days, but when the detail isn’t there it becomes moot, what Starpoint has in spades is detail, the stars, ships, and stations you will encounter throughout are gorgeous, and I wanted to lead with that, because I’ve played games in the past and the veneer is good, but the promise if often lost on inspection.
I spent a fair bit of time with this game, trying to get my head around the controls (more on that later) and everything I saw struck me as realistic. the way debris moves, the way particles disperse, the colour swirl of stars.
And in a sci-fi game that is often the point.
Unfortunately the plot is hard to follow, the characters and developments therein are a little by the numbers, the controls are clunky to get to grips with early on, and having accelerate and fire next to each other never bodes well, so many times I inadvertently engaged guard ships and such – but these are relatively minor niggles.
The only truly significant negative I can give you is that the game respawns you in the quadrant you died in, rather than in safe, level respective areas – meaning that a wrong turn can leave you struggling to get back.
… Back to the Good
The game features a free roam mode, and this is where I can see hours being put in, where the player is handed a vast, living universe and told “just crack on with it”.
More games need a free play from launch, NEED it, when I have played games that gently, subtly lull you in, the game can become a little dull, but here, in this universe, there is danger, there is trade, there is junk… lots of junk.
As a footnote, junk makes for good target practice, try hitting it whilst moving at speed, and suddenly you’ll find those enemy encounters a little easy to navigate.
Speaking of tips and navigation, SCAN EVERYTHING! I love the scan mode, learning all the little details, there’s that word again, and it’s why I have been hard on sci-fi games in the past, so few get their details down.
Starpoint Gemini 2 is somewhere between Elite Dangerous and Rebel Galaxy in terms of depth, it isn’t the cock-pit-button-pushing-sim that Elite is, nor is it the driving-in-space-sim that Rebel Galaxy is.
The piloting is a bit more difficult then it ought to be, but this was also true of Elite, and perhaps with hindsight Rebel Galaxy was perhaps too simple in this respect, in this way SG2 is both a good game and its own best friend, as it feels both familiar and fresh.
My only gripe with games of this ilk (and they do seem to be getting more and more common recently) is this need to drop the player in a mass of empty space, and make it difficult to freely move from one point to another, and SG2 has a criminal lack of direction in the early stages.
If the game was only free roam then I could forgive this, but I kept getting lost whilst investigating and frankly this killed the games momentum, and when any revenge story loses momentum it only serves to harm the story.
Starpoint Gemini 2 Review Format: Xbox One