Title: Starpoint Gemini 2
Platform: Steam, Windows
Reviewed on: Windows
Players: Single player
Written by Whistler 18th October 2014
Now me and the space RPG genre have always had an awkward relationship, most titles never really hitting that spot of exciting galactic exploration of the stars along with nail biting dog fights nor attempting to make the player feel like their more than some faceless John Doe. Perhaps she’s just not my type or I just haven’t found the right space orientated RPG for me yet; and sadly with Starpoint Gemini 2, I’m still searching.
Developed by Little Green Men Games, Starpoint Gemini 2 is an RPG set in space with sandbox elements where you can do all the things you’d expect like trade, take on jobs, save the galaxy and my favourite, become a pirate. Similar to the X series you can choose between the campaign or just dive into an all out sandbox playground to write your own tales in the stars; of which I’ll answer which one you should not pick. After 30 minutes of the campaign I can tell you not to bother with SG2’s story, it’s an overdone cliché of avenging your father with some of the worst voice acting I’ve heard in a while.
You play Bobby Joe/Jane, Gabriel Faulkner (who is bland, uninteresting and isn’t worth remembering) on a routine mission is separated from their father’s ship which leads to his demise and from there you begin your quest of vengeance...
Or you can avoid all this nonsense and switch to Freeroam mode, hell Starpoint Gemini 2 almost from the outset admits that its campaign is uninteresting, undercooked and hands you the choice to avoid the campaign forever after the very first mission. Should you make the same mistake as myself and continue on with the story you’ll find yourself a tale that rarely engages and instead just further cements my distaste of the title; it does introduce useful gameplay mechanics which is nice but the SG2 will force feed you tutorial box after box. While granted I hated how the X series would chuck you in and leave you to figure that out for yourself but drowning the player in uninteresting tutorials grinds any flow the beginning has too a full stop.
Once you start either mode you get the choice between three classes; The Commander, a class orientated towards buffing allied ships. The Gunner class focuses on combat abilities and the Engineer can hack the enemy ships, boost their power output and trap enemies. While your choice of class will affect how you fight later on don’t expect much in variations for the perks you’re captain can accrue as they amount to just percentage boosts at most.
Now giving the player a giant sandbox full of missions sounds good on paper, but the SG2 falls too far into MMO territory with a ludicrous amount of grinding involved. Yes you gain experience, upgrade your ship etc but honestly you never feel like you’re making any real progress nor impact on the world; to start getting any noticeable upgrades you’ll be going back and forth doing small jobs or if you take the pirate route you’ll most likely make so many enemies you can explore large sections of the map without having large squads following you. I noticed that the factions don’t seem to change either, you won’t find factions having large scale fights with each other and even if you pick the sandbox mode most faction’s disposition towards you starts pretty much predetermined. While there is plenty of customization most of it amounts to very little in noticeable change other than (once again) additional numbers or percentages besides a visual change for ships.
There are plenty of ships varying in size though they’re not quite up to par with others like EVE Online nor X Rebirth’s ships, sadly an oversight on the developer’s part was the lack of a captain’s chair perspective so I didn’t really feel all that immersed even after I ditched my baby craft for a vessel a space pirate could be proud of. Sadly while there’s plenty of ships to pilot almost every fight will homogenize into the same don’t get hit while hitting them tactic and even if you make your way up the ranks to pilot one of the goliath sized crafts there’s little to no epic sized like the one seen in the opening cutscene.
Even with the lack of interesting npcs, the static menus when docked or the average soundtrack, I could ignore all of that if writing my own tale was enjoyable but for the most part it is not. This is largely the fault of making a world so vast and expansive lack any substantial amount of content; along with making little impact on the world there’s just so little to see besides the black void. You’ll often find yourself auto piloting to one spot to the other which can easily take upwards of 5 minutes apiece, I could maybe ignore this if I could alt-
When all is said and done Starpoint Gemini 2’s world just doesn’t feel alive as it could, and while I loved the freedom it’s restricted with the last of interesting missions, below average story, cringe worthy voice acting and empty sandbox. Everything gets heavily repetitive far too quickly and honestly other space RPGs have done it better, even X Rebirth while it suffered hideously from its horrific launch state improved upon the genre (maybe not in the controls environment) and SG2 feels like it’s still undercooked.
Alas my venture for a game that changes my overall opinion of the genre continues.
Expansive open world,
Improves on controls,
Visually pleasing ship design.
Under par voice acting,
Lacking of atmosphere.
Maybe I’m being harsh but Starpoint Gemini 2 gets a 4.5/10, nothing’s exactly makes me hate it but it certainly didn’t impress.