I have been taking a month or so off blogging, relaxing and spending some time gaming. I decided to post a game preview of Empyrion: Galactic survival. Empyrion is a lot like science fiction Minecraft with way, way better graphics and technology. This is a preview so ratings are subject to change.
The story of Empyrion is simple. The player is a survivor of a spaceship disaster in an unknown part of space, crashing to the surface of a planet in an escape pod carrying minimal survival equipment. Even so, said equipment includes a ‘survival constructor’, basically a small nanotech cornucopia engine that can produce anything with the right raw materials.
By mining ores and gathering resources, the player can build a base along larger constructors capable of producing more sophisticated output. Eventually the player can produce ground vehicles in the form of hovercraft, small space vehicles and capital vessels in order to progress through the story (which has not yet been implemented).
The planets in the game are very large and it can take hours to traverse them. In addition, the player is subject to other limitations, for example most planets do not have a breathable atmosphere. This means that the player must manufacture small oxygen tanks using a ‘survival O2 generator’. This must be left stationary in a water source to work and limits the distance the player can travel at first.
The game’s strength lies in the freedom and versatility the construction system affords. In my game my player landed on the planet Omicron with minimal equipment. Eventually I was able to build a large comfortable base. A black marble foundation contains generators, storage and hangar bays. Above this a white marble and glass pyramid contains a more salubrious living area. Higher than some of the nearby mountains, the views are pretty good too. Terrain is fully deformable. My earlier, staging base was in a cave I had mined out.
Vehicles are built up block by block, with curved surfaces and a variety of materials available. Whilst some components are necessary others are optional. My small space vessel has a fridge.
Each component of the ship must be physically added. Position and direction are all relevant, for example a gravity generator on a ship has a limited area of effect. If all of a ship’s generators are destroyed it is out of power. Individual components can be switched on or off and a basic switching system is in place to make working levers and proximity controls.
Capital ships, which are necessary to travel between planets can be very large. Built block by block they can be the same size as bases and host almost all the same equipment including hangars for small vessels to dock. Many players have gone for classic sci-fi Star Wars / Battlestar Galactica type appearances but it is possible using the texturing tools provided to have a more organic look.
My ships are mostly made of combat steel with a marble finish. The first capital ship I built was basically utilitarian, almost a cube, but with an upper deck made largely of armoured glass affording views of the planets visited.
In short, even whilst incomplete this is an awesome game and time-sink. Empyrion is largely responsible for my recent lack of output.
I have assigned Empyrion a preview grade bases on the MHN Game Review Guidelines.
Graphics – 22 / 25
The graphics are beautiful despite all of the terrain, structures and ships being fully editable.
Sound – 16 / 25
The sound is production quality but with limited tracks. It gets into the lower end of the ‘good’ category.
Gameplay – 23 / 25
If you like survival, creative and construction games then the gameplay in this one is a sophisticated an exceptional example of the genre.
Ease of Use / Glitches – 21 / 25
The game has never crashed whilst being reviewed. There are apparently some minor glitches, according to patch notes but these have not been encountered during review. There is a significant slowdown with the use of lights however – which is annoying when building a base or vehicle with lighting and also when boarding enemy structures.
Adjustment – 10
The final step in the MHN Game Review Guidelines is the reviewer’s adjustment. In this case your author gives +10 as this is a great game that has consumed vast amounts of my time.
Overall – 92%