You're one of the top minds aboard the colonist ship "Hope" that had been frozen in cryo stasis. After an accident and left to drift in the Halycon System a rogue scientist Dr. Phineas Welles arrives to the rescue. With only enough resources to revive one person you are sent out aboard the transport ship "Unreliable". Now you must set out to gather the materials you need to awaken your fellow colonists hoping to save the rest of the colonies from suffering caused by The Board. Or will you choose to side with The Board instead?
I decided to try this game because it looked good. The eye candy caught my attention and it turns out to be a hybrid shooter/RPG by Obsidian Entertainment. Never knew it was produced by them but I enjoyed their RPGS such as Neverwinter Nights 2. There are some comparisons to Borderlands but I think the gameplay's closer to Mass Effect or Fallout (they made New Vegas) where it's mostly a shooter but you can interact with NPCs, have them join you and get to know them, earning XP and levelling up. You run around managing your invent while salvaging off enemies or from places you find.
It's great that there are only 3 types of ammo to manage. There's lots of mods for your gear including different kind of elemental damage but it would have been nice if you could see what difference new gear you pick up makes. You also have an ability called "Time Dilation" that lets you slow down time for a short moment which lets you exploit weaknesses. Not quite as fun as the "Salts" in Bioshock Infinite but still adds some variation that makes it different from your average shooter.
There's hacking but there's no mini game to play. There's even a bit of optional stealth where you obtain IDs of people you want to disguise as and then you have a limited amount of time to sneak around. I think it would have been nice if the "restricted area" signs had some kind of symbol to show you possessed the ID needed to disguise yourself rather than trying to keep track of the IDs manually yourself. "Sneak attacks" on the other hand isn't quite as satisfying as Tom Clancy games where it's a 1 hit KO.
The open world nature also means you can end up coming across enemies tougher than you can handle such as the hostile primal beasts and have to learn the hard way.
That means there are also a lot of side quests and they're interesting enough with their own sub-story that you can get side-tracked from the main story quite easily. The good thing is is it's got a well organised journal for you to keep track of where to go so you don't have to end up Googling everything. If you're not a fan of the hand holding you can turn it off too. They're not your boring kill xxx or fetch xxx quests either with their own little story that helps create a more immersive world setting. It's a great way to explore more of the beautiful alien worlds too and some of the choices you make can be brutal.
Your crew mates end up with side quests too as you get to know them better. And yes there's romance, gay romance even but none that you'll be involved such as in Mass Effect or Dragon Age games. Plenty of fun banter but it would have been nice if their expressions matched their dialogue as you walk around the place. You can bring along two of the five companions you meet along (doing side quests) with you, give them some simple orders and also unlock special skills that make combat a bit more interesting. If that's not enough motivation your room also gets decorated with trophies too depending on what you do.
There's also the familiar factions similar to Fallout too so you can actually choose who to side with. There's no good/bad alignment to worry about either even though stealing can get the authorities or locals attacking you.
As far controls are concerned it's clear the UX was designed console first since that's the first thing that appears when you go into settings. It would have been great if there was better mouse support to make it easier to sort your invent instead of cycling through options.
I'm also surprised RPGs on the PC still don't have an auto-run option so you don't have to hold down the forward button. There's no highlight button to show what you can interact with either. Playing the game on PC has been quite smooth on my Geforce GTX 1080 but I did encounter one major bug that prevented me from finishing the game but someone managed to come up with a workaround.
The writing's great giving even your supporting NPCs some personality. Visually the game looks breathtaking right from the get go. The alien world vistas look fantastic and every new location looks different. Every new location has never failed to impress. The team has clearly put a lot of effort into them. What's more, they don't take forever to load like some other games that have great eye candy. The vintage art in the loading screens are great too and reminds me a lot of Bioshock.
The game took about 20 hours for me to finish doing a number of side quests and ending up with three companions. I got the good ending for the first playthrough (there's two others) but it's a shame the ending is just a bunch of slideshows when the rest of the game was so good.
I never got into the Fallout series due to it's dark post apocalpse setting but I liked its system. Good to find a game with similar gameplay but a much more exciting world to explore with great characters to team up and interact with.
- Alien world designs look breathtaking.
- Fast loading times despite the size of the locations.
- Lots of great vintage art that reminds me of Bioshock.
- Well organised journal.
- Only 3 types of ammo.
- Variety of interesting characters to recruit.
- Open world with a sense of decision.
- No auto-run for those long journeys.
- No highlight button to show what you can interact with.
- Sneak attacks not that satisfying.
- Need better gear comparison.
- A less console oriented way of sorting the inventory would be good.
- Slideshow ending.
- No romancing...?