Videogame Review: ‘Everspace 2’ – A Satisfying Looter Shooter in Space
Not many games change their core mechanics from the original to the sequel, but Everspace did just that. The original Everspace was a Roguelite set in space with the main character getting cloned each time they died.
In the sequel, aptly named Everspace 2, no more clones are possible and protagonist Adam is instead engaging baddies in a deep looter shooter set in space. This time instead of procedurally generated systems the plot is more directed and curated.
For me this is a very welcome shift. The instant I booted up Everspace 2 I was getting deep Colony Wars vibes and that is a very good thing. Set adrift from the merchant group he was working for, Adam hides from retribution with a new ally and sets out to build up resources and head to safer pastures.
Of course nothing is smooth when you are the last clone in a long line of predecessors, and a series of missions, oddball characters and systems need to be explored to get business in order. The business in this case is a mythical mega-score of a job that will set up Adam and his allies for life.
The core mechanics of Everspace 2 are exploring systems and areas and either blasting a ton of baddies to particles in your ever-evolving ship or solving some puzzles to grab resources or clues for the missions. Thankfully developer Rockfish has really captured a great Arcade style of space sim controls that makes flying, shooting, launching missiles, and using gadgets and special abilities a joy to experience.
This is not to say that everything is easy. Some systems are packed with enemies and take strategy to complete (pick off a few at a time, steer them to minefields or use strategic gadgets) or a decision to come back another day with better armaments. Despite the relatively simple controls, learning to balance tactics and enemies is key to survival in Everspace 2.
There is a defined main storyline that has Adam and a growing crew making their way to the big score, but scattered along the way are dozens of scripted side missions and seemingly limitless generated events. These events are generally rescue missions, discoveries of resources, or traps, and while they are great for providing resources they do get repetitive fast and I found myself ignoring them as they popped up.
To some degree, the same can be said for the side missions. While the main story missions are well written with generally unique and interesting objectives, many of the side tasks end up being fetch quests or go here/kill that style of interactions.
While they are more interesting than the random encounters, I still found myself veering away from these blue subplots at times, aside from fun ones like the racecourses that slowly introduce a backstory to the robotic Maurice characters, which was a great time.
The point of doing all these missions is, of course, the loot generated from kills, found in vaults, bought at stations or given as rewards. These could be ship customizations, weapons, gadgets, armor or different types of missiles and special abilities.
Much as in Destiny the real goal in Everspaces 2, aside from the main story, is to continually upgrade your ship, or stable of ships, as you gather resources and progress through the game. Not only is there a crazy amount of items in various stages of rarity, there are also different ship types to buy or discover, which these items can further customize.
The ships are very much like classes. You have the nimble fighters, the medium jack-of-all-trade ships, and the heavy gunships, with variations of each type to add to the choices. This really helps not only decide a playstyle as you explore, but allows backup ships to help with certain mission types.
All of this action and customization is packed inside a game that looks truly fantastic on the PlayStation 5 system. The systems are colorful and crowded, enemies look great, as does the cacophony of missile and blaster fire. The ever-crucial explosions and weapon effects are also stunning to see on a great display.
Rockfish enhanced the PS5 version with some great haptic feedback and adaptive trigger support. Accelerating is managed with the adaptive triggers in a really cool way and the feedback when guns deplete or missiles are coming near is quite satisfying to experience.
Another really cool feature of Everspace 2 is that the story segments, as well as a lot of inter-team chatter, are fully voiced. This is really great, as constantly traveling, shooting or exploring and hearing rather than having to read makes it all coexist quite beautifully.
While I enjoyed my time in Everspace 2 I did find myself getting bored with repetitive tasks. The fun combat and loot gameplay loop helped, but doing the same style of mission for the 100th time did get tiresome at times. The story, gameplay, and graphics are all quite good; the game is just missing a little magic to make it great.