Ah, you’re back are you, VoidExpanse? We split on amicable terms when last we spoke, but split we did, so what are you doing here? Your space combat was attractive but you lacked depth, and kept falling over at inopportune moments. Your speech was rudimentary, your systems sub-par. I said we’d meet again, but I wasn’t really thinking this soon. So what do you have to offer? Interesting. It says here you’ve buffed up your stability, improved your backend and generally increased enjoyment from the start. Why, you’re like a new game in the same engine! Let’s have a chat and you can take me through the finer points, eh?
Yes indeed, Atomic Torch send word they’ve given VoidExpanse more than a once over, with a massive list of changes in this and previous patches. I’ve grabbed a few highlights from a shot at the new build for your perusal.
To start at the very top, the changes to quests are immediate, obvious and important. The below average writing has been mostly cleaned up and from the very beginning there’s now more options rather than a straight path. There’s also significant additions that help to teach players more new systems and how skills and equipment interact. The quests themselves are better, with different options for how to complete them appearing from the get-go. What was previously a simple find, kill, retrieve mission can now be completed with conversation or bribery on top of the enemies vented into space method.
There’s still some difficulty issues, where it will spike randomly due to the introduction of new ships or weapon tiers without the player having realised. This makes the new hardcore/roguelike modes a little less predictable than some may like, but equally you might relish the idea of randomly losing 6 hours of character development out of nowhere. The new weapons sort of tie into this too, the machinegun feeling particularly great to use as a much faster firing alternative to the already available projectiles.
Most of all it just felt better to play, thanks to all this and the interface tweaks. It’s small stuff – a coloured button here, a new readout there, a more satisfying response sound – but it adds up to be far more immersive, particularly combined with the better world building brought by the improved quests. Is it enough overall to fully recommend the game? Maybe not quite yet, but it’s a massive step in the right direction and the sort of thing I was hoping for when I wrote my preview. There’s enough there now that I believe they can create something properly good given time and money, and that makes it worth supporting. Plus at ten dollars, you’re gambling away a night of takeout or a few Lion bars at most.