Space may be the final frontier, but it’s also a genre which is slowly making a comeback lately. Whether you’re looking for pure action or promises of great things to hopefully come and justify the money you threw down, that genre is waiting to be explored again. Enter Starpoint Gemini 2. It already saw a release on PC earlier this year, updating a formula of a deeper space exploration simulation.
And in a universe where your ship can be anything from a plucky transport cruiser to a fully armed pirate-buster, it’s actually refreshing to just sit back and concentrate on the smaller details in space-life. That option to spend hours cruising the hyper-space lanes and finding new worlds and outposts to interact with. Or to blow them to kingdom come as a sadistic maniac who was given enough firepower to level small planets, because I’m clearly not right in the head.
That’s where Starpoint Gemini 2 is at its best. Sure, there’s a story mission filled with vengeance, redemption and serviceable voice-acting, but it’s not the main event at play here. It’s the free roam mode, which gives you the tools to play the game as either an adventurous Captain Kirk or an insane Khan. It’s where I spent many of my hours in the Xbox One version.
It’s where Starpoint Gemini pushed me to focus on being either a gun-crazy commander, fleet boss or a hacking whizz-kid. Writing my own story in the dark and cold vacuum of space was surprisingly thrilling. And there’s so much at play here, in a game that is monstrously deep and filled with the kind of numbers usually reserved for accountant pornography.
And when you get into combat, the results feel strangely familiar. Like a bastard child of Freelancer and the old Star Trek games that had you in command of the bridge, dogfights in space boil down to managing your power over three core systems: Shields, weapons and propulsion. Some captains will want to make a break for it, while others will shift all their firepower into one big blast and limp back to a drydock. The choice is yours.
As a PC port onto the Xbox One, the controls actually worked pretty damn well Button mapping was intuitive, sensitivity for the all-important camera was top-notch and the visuals were consistently smooth. A very solid conversion, as I plundered my way up the levels and dug into random encounters.
Who do you trust? Who do you side with? Do I need to dump this cargo so that I can hit it off with those ace pilots in that quadrant, or sell it and buy some new guns? Again, there’s just a massive amount of information to absorb here, that Starpoint Gemini 2 doesn’t always do the best job of properly explaining to the player.
There’s more that I want to say, but not without sinking some more time into the product. I’m only around 15 hours in Starpoint Gemini 2, and I feel like I still have a very long way to go, and so much more to still learn. I’ll hit a proper review in the new year when I’ve at least doubled the hours spent on the bridge of my craft, but for now I’m happy to potter around the universe and find myself looking for trouble.
Last Updated: December 11, 2015