Mission Ready: Evochron Mercenary

By Jim Rossignol on September 17th, 2010 at 8:20 am.


The latest in the Evochron freeform space flight series has just been launched. Entitled Evochron Mercenary, it adds a bunch of new features to the existing universe. Here’s one of the most exciting elements of the new game:

The new multiplayer system offers in-game voice chat and supports group territory control, letting players join together to conquer solar systems for profit. The in-game quadrant map provides real-time territory control data and credit is given for each Clan-vs-Clan kill and completed cooperative contract. Controlling clans must defend their territory from other clans who can take the systems for themselves. Players can construct stations in newly discovered systems to expand their empires and introduce new trade locations, AI pathways, and resources to expand the game’s universe.

You can grab the demo from here, and I’ve posted the most recent trailer below.

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38 Comments »

  1. Tetragrammaton says:

    One day, this will be a great space sim

  2. drillerman says:

    Yes, I bought the last two incarnations but could never quite get into them. I just kept dying all the time. Maybe I was s**t at it. Yes that’s why! I may give this a try however!!

  3. Al3xand3r says:

    I was hoping for a more improved single player experience mostly, the universe just feels so lifeless and samey in past games.

  4. mlaskus says:

    Hmm, any thoughts on how it compares to Freespace 2? That’s simply my favourite space flight game, and anything that plays similarly is a sure buy for me.

    • Rich says:

      I never got into Freespace, though I always meant to.
      If this has a singleplayer campaign on a par with Freespace 2, I’ll definitely buy it.
      I might even buy a joystick to play it with (my old one being non-USB).

    • Rich says:

      OK, so it’s not story driven. That makes me sceptical.
      Freeform is good, but there needs to be lots going on in the universe for it to stay interesting for any length of time.

    • mlaskus says:

      Ah, a shame then. Freespace had an incredible story… or rather storytelling. Its pacing and delivery are just fabulous.

  5. bill says:

    Obligatory Question: Can you play it without a joystick?

    Though I don’t know why i keep asking, as even when people say yes I tend to find it just doesn’t feel right.

    • Da'Jobat says:

      It’s designed to be used without a joystick, at least Legends certainly was. Works fine, but takes a while to get used to the inertia modelling.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I find it strange that Space Sim’s usually insist on using a joystick. I don’t see why 500 years into the future they would use a joystick. Doesn’t seem very likely to me, but whatever I suppose.

    • Tacroy says:

      I’m waiting for the day that I can drive a car with a keyboard. There’s no real reason to use a steering wheel on a modern car, especially certain high end ones – the car will take control of the wheels if it thinks you’re about to spin out or something.

      In the future, when you drive your friend’s car you won’t just have to adjust the seat – you’ll have to swap out his stupid joystick control module for your superior gamepad interface.

    • Waltorious says:

      @bill,

      The game is definitely designed to take advantage of joysticks but also with control customization in mind. There are players who play with mouse-keyboard, or even just keyboard, and maybe even some who play with a gamepad. And then there’s diehard ones who have a stick, throttle, pedals and trackIR for head-tracking. In short, a whole lot of options… if you were hoping to do a mouse-keyboard deal there’s some discussion on the game forums about people’s experiences playing that way; most seem to consider it quite playable.

  6. Atrocious says:

    Machariel at 1:34

    Other than that it looks pretty much like X3 to me. Just with shiny planet surfaces.
    Looks nice, unfortunately it doesn’t say much about the gameplay.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Visit the website and look at the tutorial videos, that should give you a good idea of what to expect from this game. Its a deeper game than you’d expect from its visuals.

  7. Luomu says:

    Not that there’s exactly an abundance of space sims at the moment, but would be good to see someone aim a bit more towards visual realism. I’m tired of seeing super-colourful nebulas everywhere :)

    • Urael says:

      I feel exactly the same way. Why are we never given space that looks like the space NASA shows us? I’m tired of the Neon Nebula Aesthetic. Black is the new black, people.

      Happily, there’s one game in development that’s very very close to giving us realistic planets in realistic solar systems:- http://pioneerspacesim.net/

      As of Alpha 4 they’ve added a very subtle milky way to the night sky. I could kiss these developers.

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      @Atrocious
      To be fair, the Universe from space looks a lot like the universe from the ground. Those are false-color images of very small sections of space over long exposure times, so you will never see anything looking that pretty in space.

      On the flip side, why make a fantasy game about zooming through space using the power of SCIENCE! so realistic that all you see is boring starscapes?

    • Atrocious says:

      Yes, I think it would be a bit boring without nebulae, but some games overdo it.

      Here is one of the sources of the images, with more beautiful pictures (esp. the CCD gallery) and details about the exposure:
      http://astrosurf.com/lorenzi/gallery_en.htm

      If you can understand the exposure tech that is listed underneath the images, you can probably estimate how false-color they are and how it would look without filters and long exposure.
      Unfortunately I cannot really understand the details.

    • Count Elmdor says:

      I am agreeing with this post so hard right now. EVE and X3 (to a lesser extent) are both guilty of this.

  8. drillerman says:

    When I bought Elite 2 many years ago it came in a big box with a big manual and a big story book and one 720k floppy disc, blue in colour it was! I remember looking at it and thinking how can they get elite on that? Anyway they did and I played it for months. I also remember once putting some sellotape on the “UP” arrow on the keyboard on navigation view to see how big the universe in elite was. I left it going for about a hour while I did other things and when I came back it was still going. All those suns on one 720k floppy disc, immense!

    Actually, the comments I just made don’t have anything to do with Evochron, Sorry.

    BTW, When is the next Elite game coming out?

    • Urael says:

      Never: If Braben ever releases something called Elite IV it will be so far removed from earlier iterations in tone that it will class as a different species altogether, a la Lucas’ Star Wars prequels. My money’s on Braben never releasing another Elite game in his lifetime; he’s been inventively finding new excuses not to make another for over a decade now: time to look elsewhere, I reckon.

      You could try Pioneer in the meantime, though.It may look a little familiar…http://pioneerspacesim.net/

  9. Eclipse says:

    If it has a good multiplayer I’m so going to grab this one. Downloading the demo right now

  10. Spice_Weasel says:

    I dislike the X3 comparison on the grounds that you can’t construct space stations from components and can’t build/control a fleet like you can in the later iterations of the X series. Landing on planets is cool though. It’d be nice if someone would hybridize the two, and then add teh Newtonian physics from the I-War series. That’s the Elite successor we deserve.

  11. Luomu says:

    On topic of space games… You can get both I(ndepencence)-War games on GOG:

    http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/independence_war_deluxe
    http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/independence_war_2

    Both are the most realistic commercial space games ever. Newtonian physics and extremely clever missions. 1 is a mission based (with some branching) game with a militaristic atmosphere. 2 is more freeform piracy.

    I have seen zero RPS coverage on these games… and they are even British! Too nerdy, I guess :)

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I-War in particular had probably the greatest (and longest) intro in PC game history and really captures the feel of the game:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7AsRQXOUSY 1 of 2
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw1m2ZW1u84&feature=related 2 of 2

    • Da'Jobat says:

      Absolutely love I-War 2. It also has some great mods!

    • DrGonzo says:

      Excellent games yes. But calling them ‘realistic’ made me lol.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Well, the I-War games at least felt more realistic than games like Evachron, that put a ridiculous speed cap on ships. Better ships go “faster” because they have a higher speed cap… ho ho!

      In I-War you can boost to high speeds, out-run enemies, swivel around to shoot pursuing mines while still continuing at high speed in the original direction. It takes *time* to turn around, if you’ve spent time boosting in one direction. No turning on a dime. The whole “Newtonian flight model” thing in the I-War games was handled as well as I’ve ever seen it done in a cockpit-level space game, while still including the usual tricks like hyperdrive to jump between star systems. Because the subjective speeds were so much higher higher in the I-War games, space felt big, which is what it should feel like. Games like Evachron, X3, etc. all play out on these tiny little maps. Space can’t be “big” because the speeds are so low.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Evachron has Newtonian physics. I just downloaded the demo a played for about 20 minutes. I just quite because I way overdid the afterburner, got up to 6,000 speed units trying to dock at a space station faster, and then panicked as I couldn’t reverse thrust nearly in time. 2 minutes later I was still doing – 3,000 or so speed units, still moving in the same direction.

      It has this IDS system that uses thrusters to auto-compensate for the Newtonian physics. You can disable this to fly in one direction, spin around and shoot behind you. But even if you turn it on, and you do an afterburner overkill, your weak thrusters will take forever to slow you down. You have to spin around and afterburn in the opposite direction to really slow down. I was quite surprised!

      Anyways, if there’s no way to auto-dock at these stations, I don’t think I can see myself playing this game for too long. So. Slow. Just. To. Dock. This would be less annoying if I could get my onboard computer to do the flying for me. Please someone tell me there is an auto-dock in here somewhere!

  12. Fumarole says:

    That cockpit, HUD and GUI really look fantastic.

    From the comments it would seem this is multiplayer focused, which means I may have to skip it. I’ll give the demo a shot, at least.

  13. pupsikaso says:

    Now that it has multiplayer I might try it. I couldn’t fathom playing it singleplayer.

  14. Waltorious says:

    @mlaskus,

    The Evochron games are nothing like Freespace. They’re closer to the Elite / Freelancer type games where it’s about freeform exploration, trading, mercenary combat missions, etc. They have a cool flight model that is pseudo-Newtonian and apparently the new version tweaks this to feel even more Newtonian. I played the last version, Evochron Legends, and had fun for a while before the universe got a little boring and same-y. Probably the most fun thing is actually just flying around, checking out planets and stuff. There’s lots of super-secret locations that are nearly impossible to find too.

    I’m hoping that the multiplayer will go some way towards remedying this problem… it will be hard for all the star systems to feel the same if there’s actual people fighting over them and building stuff in them, with real economies. There’s already a small dedicated fanbase playing the old version multiplayer so there should be enough players to get some of that going. The new version is supposed to have some tweaks and additions to the economy to make trading and such a little more interesting in singleplayer, but my guess is that it will probably still get old pretty quick in singleplayer.

  15. thebigJ_A says:

    I’ve actually been lost in X3: Terran Conflict since I discovered it a few months ago. That game is wicked complicated, but a wicked good time once you come to grips with it.

    How does this compare? Does it have a large universe with a dynamic economy? Are their races/faction you can join or fight against? Do you have an impact on the gameworld?

    Or is it a flying around shooting stuff game? (X3 has that, of cours, but it’s so much more.)

  16. Railick says:

    Uh actually if you read the features list you CAN build space stations from parts and you CAN have a fleet and control AI fleets with in game commands, the same commands you can use to command your clans online in multiplayer. The same multiplayer you can control systems with your clan and build space stations with them in. The same multiplayer that X has never had and never will have :P ALSO it doesn’t crash constantly so that’s a bonus.

  17. Rami says:

    I’ve always loved these games, so it’s cool to see each new installment on here. I’m having a bunch of fun in Mercenary, and I still love how a profile is usable in both single- and multiplayer. I really prefer mining on my own most of the time.

    • Zamjr86 says:

      Yeah, Mining for diamonds and platinum is really profitable.