A few weeks back I was just looking to hop into something new, and while browsing through the sales on PS4 I came across Rebel Galaxy Outlaw. It had been on my radar for quite some time, as I'm a huge fan of both Firefly and Cowboy Bebop, and it put off some very similar vibes in the trailer. So I thought, "What the hell, I haven't played a space game since I was a kid, could be fun."
As luck would have it, spaceship dogfights to kick ass tunes is indeed fun. I was unsure at first, because as previously mentioned, I hadn't played a space game in well over 15 – 20 years, and so I really had to get my bearings starting out. But, once I put in a little time, and watched a very well done and frankly thoughtful video (for beginners) from a member of the dev team, I was ready to race through space trying to track down my husband's murderer!
After playing RGO and falling in love, I ended up doing a little searching online about space games in general. It seems they largely fall into two categories; space sim or arcade shooter. This game falls far into the latter one. It's designed to be played with a controller, and some liberties were taken to keep the action fast and to help you feel like you are indeed a bad ass space pilot. There is an auto locking feature that, once locked onto an enemy ship, will track them for you so that you're never lost. There is also an aim assist, but you still need to do some minor tracking and aiming of your own to maximize your damage output. There is also a very forgiving targeting system available from your radial menu that allows you to basically pause a fight, take stock of all the craft in the area, and select a target. Honestly, once I got the hang of how to control everything, and what gauges to keep an eye on, the game felt easy for the most part. But that's not always a bad thing, because although it may lack difficulty, the game retains that which is most important; fun factor.
The main gameplay loop comes from completing missions, earning money, and upgrading to newer ships with bigger and badder guns (or bigger and badder cargo holds if that's more your thing). Some missions will push the main narrative, others are side quests or even just jobs taken from the mission boards at the various stations around the galaxy. Many of the sidequests will net you a new friend to add to your buddy list. Buddies are other spacefarers that you can summon to help you fight for 10 minutes, with a 20 minute cooldown. As for the missions from the boards, you decide if you want to help the miners out at a remote asteroid belt by protecting them from pirates, or if you'd rather take the blood money from the pirates themselves and help them get ahold of some space booty. Would you like to clear a battlefield of mines to earn some cash? Want to fly out and mine some asteroids yourself? You'll definitely be presented with options, and you can choose to assist whoever you want. If you choose to help out the Dodge Sector Police then your alignment will shift their direction, they may be willing to turn a blind eye to the illicit cargo in your hold. However, if you choose to sail the high seas and help out the pirates, you're alignment will shift the other direction, and you can come and go at pirate outposts as you please.
It funtions as an "open world" game in that you can go anywhere you would like (once you get yourself a jump drive at least) and do anything you would like. There's even an asteroid base somewhere out there with one lonely robot steward just waiting for the right buyer to come along and really spruce the place up.
In the end, I loved the game so much that I got myself that shiny platinum trophy. The game was paced so well that by the end of the campaign I really only had two or three trophies left, and the platinum journey here was very fun (with the exception of the Starvenger high score trophy, that one is awful).
If you like space games, have liked them in the past, or are just looking to try something new, I can highly recommend this one.
P.S. – Wear headphones. So much better.
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