Evochron Legends Author: cantstraferight -- Posted: 2009-04-10
StarWraith 3D Games is an independent game developer that has been developing space sim games since 1999. Today I'm going to be reviewing their newest game Evochron Legends. Evochron Legends is a freeform space simulation game where you control a small space ship and your free to do what ever you want. Although there is a main story quest, its completely optional and if you want to be a space pirate attacking lone ships and stealing their cargo to sell, you can do that. If you want to be cargo/transport ship you can upgrade your cargo bays and transport cargo and passengers around the sector or you can upgrade your engines and get involved in races with other ships. Its all up to you.
One giant universe
Most simulator games like X3 have loading screens when ever you want to move from one system to another but Evochron Legends has one very very large seamless universe with no loading screens whatsoever. This doesn't mean that the sector of space you play in is small, intact its actually quite large. It is completely possible to fly from one corner to the other but without using a jump drive you are going to take a very long time to do it. This adds a level of realism to navigating from system to system but if you don't like the idea of spending hours travelling from system to system you can use your jump drive to jump vast distances in seconds or use warp gates to move from one system to another.
In most space games planets are are just there to look pretty and when you try to get too close you either realise that you can never reach them or you crash into them like their just a big floating rock but Evochron legends allows you to land on planets and dock with cities on them. The game does a good job of making you feel like your entering a planets atmosphere and gravity and the planets are kept small enough that it doesn't take hours to enter land.
Probably my favourite feature of this game is that it allows you to play with other players. When your playing with other players not only can you do what ever you want but so can they. This creates a wonderful experience where some people group together into a clan and where as others stick to them selves, some do passive things like mining where as others act hostilely to any other players. Even though there's the chance any one might attack you in multiplayer the community is very friendly and there's even a section dedicated to clans/roleplaying in the StarWraith forums that's definitely worth checking out.
Its also worth saying that it can be fun to play the game with a friend, one of you using a joy stick and mouse to steer the ship as well as control menus and the other person uses the keyboard to control the engines as well as what ever else you don't have buttons for on the joystick. While its not supported by the game and it takes a bit of team work it can be amazingly fun.
The game allows you to use the keyboard, the mouse and up to 10 controllers/joysticks to control your ship. This combined with the fact that you can customize all the controls means you can control your ship anyway you want. I personally liked the fact that nearly every button on the keyboard did something different. This made me feel like I had more control over my ship and could access things quicker than if I had to go through menus.
While at a distance things like planets, ships and stations look good the closer you get to them the worse they look. This only bothered me in one to two situations but players that consider graphics to be an important factor in gaming will no doubt have a problem with the way cities and planets surfaces look. As long as you don't consider graphics to be the most important aspect of a game this shouldn't be a problem.
Menus were too simple
I know its odd to say the menus were too simple but when you click on your jumpdrive in a menu and it disappears instantly because you without realising it you sold it to the station your currently docked with it makes you appreciate those little confirmation windows you normally get when you want to delete a file in windows. If there were sub menus and confirmation windows it would keep things more organised and there would allow more detail which is what this games about.
No auto save
I know that auto saves really are a luxury and because Evochron legends only allows the 1 save per profile you wouldn't want auto saving but I was forever replaying through parts of the game because I died but hadn't saved in hours.
You will either love Evochron Legends and see it as having everything you could possible want in a space simulation game or you will absolutely hate it. I personally enjoyed the game and people I showed it to liked it too but I know its not every one taste. The level of detail in this game could easily put you off playing or p[ull you in deeply. Luckily StarWraith 3D have released a demo so you can try the game out first. The demo allows you to play the full game (minus multiplayer) for up to 90 minutes. You can download the demo Here