Have you ever gazed up at the velvet cushion of night and wondered what else is up there? Have you ever daydreamed about travelling to unknown worlds and encountering new and bewildering species? It’s a glistening dream shared by many (no, you’re not alone) and it’s a need that has been answered by Starpoint Gemini 2.
Produced by Croatian developer Little Green Men Games, Starpoint Gemini 2 is the long-awaited sequel to 2010’s critically acclaimed PC outing Starpoint Gemini. And, like its predecessor, Starpoint Gemini 2 is a vast open universe space sim that could quite easily become a marvellous obsession. Players are thrown into an impossibly vast universe populated with planets, wormholes, meteoroids, debris, space stations and constellations to explore. And how you spend your time in Starpoint Gemini 2 is left up to you to decide. There is the obligatory single player mission crafted to introduce you to the game and its roster of characters, alliances, political machinations and dangerous enemies. You play as one of the sole survivors of the Gemini League, fighting your way through a hostile universe
And as has come to be expected with solo campaigns, there is tonnes to do and lots of choices to make. But your best bet is to take on missions that pay well so you can upgrade your ship, improve your fighting power and speed. That’s the only way you can survive in Starpoint Gemini 2.
It is however, in the free-play sandbox mode that Starpoint Gemini 2 really comes into its own. It’s a wonderful and rare thing for a game to give you such a wonderful feeling of freedom. Freedom to explore, to earn credits, forge alliances, break them, attack, escort or simply roam the galaxy searching for new and interesting phenomena – not to mention items you can salvage and trade for hard creds. Honestly when we first played Starpoint Gemini 2 we must have spent hours, possibly days, simply travelling from one system to another exploring and discovering. Once docked at a trading station you can then decide how to upgrade your ship, which weapons to install and which missions offer the best reward. Playing Starpoint Gemini 2 reminded us of Eve Online with its 360 degree camera angles and variable zoom settings. But unlike Eve Online, Starpoint Gemini 2 revels in the fact that it’s a great game to play by yourself.
In the audio department Starpoint Gemini 2 offers an atmospherically chilled, ambient backdrop that helps immerse you in the game. But once the action ramps up, the music steps up several notches, causing you to hold your breath as your fight or flight impulse kicks in. Excellent.
A word of warning however: Starpoint Gemini 2 is a game that has its own pacing and, if you’re looking for a quick blast of photon torpedoes and a warp factor 10 switch, this may not be the game for you. Starpoint Gemini 2 instead rewards you for taking your time, sitting back and enjoying what is a unique and rewarding ride. With the vast distances between destination points, space can seem slow and uneventful for a while. But once you’re in the thick of a dog fight with an ultra tough gunship, believe me, you’ll snap out of your reverie in an instant.
Visually Starpoint Gemini 2 is a treat for the eyes. Never before has space looked so gorgeous. If we wore a hat we would take it off to Little Green Men Games for the sheer beauty of their work. Planets and space stations are fantastically detailed. The ships looks amazing even close up and the heavenly bodies dotted throughout the game are a sight to behold. If we had to knit pick, our only minor niggle with Starpoint Gemini 2 was that many of the missions in the campaign mode felt as though they were repeated too many times. Defend this, attack that, escort them. You get the picture. On a few occasions you felt a distinct sense of dejay vu tapping your shoulder.
But apart from that, we can’t say enough good things about Starpoint Gemini 2. If you love space and long to explore the cosmos from the comfort of your living room, Starpoint Gemini 2 is a gaming experience like no other. Go buy.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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