The other day I was on Netflix streaming browsing through the SciFi section looking for new releases and saw Hunter Prey. This was a movie that came out in 2010 and I don’t ever remember it seeing advertisements for it. So first thing I thought was a low budget B rated movie. Boy was I wrong, the movie may have been low budget because of location (the desert) and special effects. But this wasn’t really needed, because the storyline and the acting was pretty darn good in this movie. The end is left open for a sequel which I hope does happen because it would be great to see.
I have been following Starpoint Gemini (SPG) for some time now and have actually had time to sit down and play and review the boxed copy of the game that is distributed by Iceberg Interactive. When I received Starpoint Gemini in the mail I was impressed with package it came in. It was put together quite well.
So what is Starpoint Gemini about?
You play the game as Cpt. Jared Hunt, and 23 yrs ago in the Gemini star system you were part of the Gemini League a revolutionary group that challenged the the authority and ruling of the Gemini Colonial Directorate. The Gemini League’s strength grew and was able to push the Directorate back to ‘Sector Zero’ and tried to seize control of Starpoint Gemini the structure built to protect the wormhole. Which is the only way back to Empire main space (Sector Zero). During the retreat of the Directorate forces they set off a massive explosive inside the wormhole, which sealed off the Gemini system from the Empire system.
The devastation was done. The explosion was so massive that the nearby planets were scorched and the majority of the Gemini fleet was either destroyed or placed into a status rift, an anomaly caused by the wormhole breakdown. Cpt. Jared Hunt and his ship was caught in the status rift and have no clue that 23 yrs has passed and now there is multiple factions fighting for dominance over Gemini sector. Your game starts with a group of scientists pulling your ship (the Amargosa) out of the rift and now your adventure starts.
Gameplay and in-game experiences
You will need to complete a tutorial before you start the main game and this takes about 30mins and it will cover basic menu screens, movement, combat and skills. I have read a few complaints about the difficulty when your first starting out in your adventures in your ship (the Amargosa), which is fairly weak and you will be hard pressed to defeat more than two targets at once and if they get the jump on you you may not survive. After doing a few starter missions and finding some cargo containers in space from various engagements I was able to get some better equipment/weapons for the Amargosa. You will get prompted for some missions that will follow the story arc/campaign and you don’t have to be in a real hurry to do them. If you want to do some missions (available at the stations) and or combat in other sectors to build up your credits I would. Something I tend to do in the game a lot is, if I see some combat between some factions I engage the target or help a faction out to increase my reputation. This will make leveling a bit quicker and in exchange you should come across some decent loot you can sell, least in my experiences.
I have been to maybe 30% of the sectors in the game and I do like what I see so far. There is usually always some type of mineable material in each sector and there is some sort of outpost or base. The radar or targeting system will show NPC’s in colors from green (friendly) to red (enemy). So keep track of where the red targets are because they can surprise you quickly and if they get the jump on you when your shields are down you could be destroyed pretty quickly. The story up to this point has moved at a nice pace and you occasionally have some in-game cinematic that show some battles. For the most part the story is relayed through communication between Gemini League associates and the scientists to Cpt. Hunt.
Now to some gameplay thoughts both pros/cons:
I like the fact that you can individually target sub-systems on a given target.
You can capture ships
A lot of upgrades (engines, thrusters, weapons, missiles, torpedo’s, scanners, grappler’s, tractor beam, mining tools, etc…) and these upgrades have class levels from I – V (1 thru 5).
Your tactics and what you choose for upgrades for your ship really matter in combat.
Each sector has a lot of NPC activity going on (ex: NPC’s mining, rogue faction fighters attacking convoys/ships, NPC’s traveling through gates, trading and docking with stations and comm chatter)
Having crew members
The LGM team has been putting out patches to fix issues on a regular basis
The controls for the x-axis needs to be refined in that you can over steer using either the keys or mouse
Would like to be able to move on the y-axis
When buying components/equipment for you ship the interface could be more useful. That when you mouse-over a object to buy of a certain type it will popup a info screen showing the comparable differences.
Seeing some AI glitches when it comes to combat and ship capture
Some of the comm chatter gets annoying after a while because of repetitive comments
Time/Date stamps on game saves
Graphics and Sound
Starpoint Gemini uses DirectX9. So it’s not using the latest graphic enhancements and any graphics card that has come out in the past 2-4 years should be able to play SPG with relative ease. I witnessed only a few graphic glitches with ships passing through objects and or animations not always showing (like in mining, the laser would be missing). I thought the graphics were good (really liked the debris and nebula’s) and if I could change anything, I would have space be a bit darker. The ships, weapons fire and explosions all looked good.
On the music and sound in SPG, there could have been a lot more in-game choices for music or let the player play there own MP3’s. The voice acting I thought was really good compared to other recently released foreign games (ex: The Tomorrow War was awful). Like I stated above, the comm chatter could have been better implemented.
LGM has done an excellent job with their first game release. It was a little buggy at first, but LGM did what most larger companies don’t do when there is issues with a game. They kept up communications with the fan base and addressed critical issues quickly with patches. All of the issues I pointed out here can be fixed with a few patches and or let your community fix it by releasing either some mod tools or some in-depth instructions on the files used to manually mod the game. With looking over some of the files in the SPG directory it looks to be very mod friendly, so it might be just a matter of time until we see some nice user created content.
So where does Starpoint Gemini rank?
I would have to say 88% out of a 100%. My biggest gripes is really only the axis controls and the random AI glitches. I am really a fan of space and scifi games so my pros/cons tend to be a bit more critical or focused than most reviewers. But I will let you know how I feel about a game and whether the issues I find are deal enders. SPG is overall a great game to play (which I am still playing) and will update this post when I finish playing. Comment on this post here or discuss it further in the SPG forums here: http://www.spacesimc…php?f=32&t=2052
Little Green Men (LGM) did put out a demo recently for Starpoint Gemini, which you can download here: http://www.gamershel…oad_71644.shtml. So make sure you download it and give it a try or you can just jump right into the game and buy it from Amazon and GamersGate. Do checkout the gameplay video below it will give you an idea of the gameplay in store for you in Starpoint Gemini: