If you’re looking for a game that excels at spaceship combat, has a great looter-shooter vibe, and makes every dogfight and system jump feel like a dynamic moment, let me introduce you to…Everspace 2! (what game did you think I was going to say?)
In this sequel to the 2017 roguelike 3D space shooter, developer Rockfish Games has taken all of the best bits of the first game and improved upon them massively.
Across the Universe- What Makes Everspace 2 the Perfect Space Looter Shooter?
Although on the surface Everspace 2 may look and seem like yet another space simulator it is so much more than that. While it does have all the classic elements of the genre such as weaving through asteroids at light speed and exploring the far edges of the known galaxy, the title offers an experience that is much closer to a looter shooter.
Rather than attempting to perfectly emulate the dark cold reaches of space, Everspace 2 offers players a much more rewarding experience. However, this is only if they are willing to scavenge, loot and customise their spacefighter in a ridiculously in-depth number of ways.
While the game is a sequel, the absence of a roguelike gameplay loop may be jarring for those who want another experience similar to the first game. However, the focus on large open areas of space full of loot to explore is a positive aspect of the sequel. The new gameplay loop creates an immersive experience of being a lone pilot scavenging his way through space one cargo container at a time.
The focus on loot leads you to stumble across all sorts in your travels. In my playthrough of the game while bouncing from one system to another during a story mission an unknown signal flashed on my map that with Everspace 2’s handy autopilot system, I was able to travel too instantly.
The signal was in fact from a long-lost cargo vessel that had been left to die in space decades ago during an intergalactic war.
By exploring inside and solving some fairly original puzzles using my ship’s energy weapons, (who says you can’t shoot your way out of a problem!), I found an unopened cargo hold with some credits and a brand-new shiny ship weapon to boot.
These random encounters help to flesh out the lore of Everspace 2 and make the world feel alive rather than one that’s static and boring. Although the side activities do their best to keep the game fresh at some points there are only so many cargo ships to explore and asteroids to mine before some repetitiveness kicks in.
Ship Shape- How Does Everspace 2’s Ship Customisation Take It to the Next Level?
The other fresh, and sometimes intimidating, aspect of Everspace 2 comes from the customisation options available for your ship. Upgrades for your vessel come in a variety of different flavours with new weapons and special abilities, called “Devices”.
Devices in Everspace 2 are abilities that charge during a fight, with two ability types, Warfare and Support, available to equip on your ship. Both of these ability types are as important as one another.
Warfare devices are vital tools for handling large groups of enemies, such as a special weapon attack that fires destructive bolts of lightning to help in a tough fight.
Support devices will help a pilot to survive longer, with some being used to teleport out of range of an enemy’s weapons or to boost around the battlefield at near-light speed to avoid being cornered.
Ship types in Everspace 2 work almost like different classes in a traditional RPG with fans of Diablo IV and Baldur’s Gate 3 feeling right at home. For example, the Vindicator model ship is similar to a high DPS class being able to use combat drones to create a swarm of damage that can take down groups of enemies in an instant.
In terms of levelling up your ship and abilities, XP ties directly into your level which then determines how powerful the enemies you go up against are and what you can have equipped to your ship.
This means that when you find a new piece of gear you have to make sure that it matches your level and equipped perks. However, if you spend the time and resources at a crafting station, you can remove the level cap issue and create new pieces of gear that will aid you on your space crusade.
New ships can be purchased from bases with ship dealers, but they do not come cheap. While it may be overwhelming at first with the amount of augmentation available for your ship, after a few hours of playtime you’ll settle into a grove that’ll have you blasting enemies out of the sky in no time.
Ship handling is very arcade-like, with full 3D movement that allows you to weave in and out of Dogfights at the tap of a button. There’s a generous lock on, leading fire indicator, and aim assist (which is very forgiving on PS5), so it can be hard to miss a shot.
However, the combat is still very rewarding as there are lots of moving parts involved to make sure you win a dogfight. Although ship shields that recharge over time and having to avoid incoming fire can be hard to get used to it is essential to your survival.
The only issue is that the ship controllers can be difficult sometimes on a PS5 controller and take a fair amount of time to get used to before feeling completely comfortable.
A Clone Saga- How Does Everspace 2’s Story Stack Up Against the Rest of the Game?
One of Everspace 2’s underrated aspects is its sci-fi plot that connects directly to the original in an inventive way. In this title you play as one of the expendable clones from the first game; except this time once you die, you ain’t coming back.
This neat little workaround as to why Everspace 2 is no longer a roguelike works as an effective way to establish the stakes in the narrative. It also gives a fairly satisfying answer to some lingering questions from the end of Everspace.
You play as Adam Roslin, the last clone left in the batch with the piloting skills and implanted memories of his DNA donor. While working security for a mining company, Adam’s cover comes crashing down after a run-in with some pirates leaving him on the run from a shady organisation.
The story is also told through comic-book esc drawings that are reminiscent of the original Max Payne. While it can be campy and B-movie esc at times the team of 20 employees over at Rockfish Games have done a great job in producing a fanatic sci-fi game on a tight budget.
Overall Everspace 2 is a title that is worth checking out if you enjoy classic 3D ship shooters or are looking for a 90-hour space looter to blast your way through. The focus on combat and customisation allows for this game to shine and will keep you hooked until the edge of the universe.
Everspace 2 was played and reviewed on PS5 on a code provided by Plan of Attack