Everspace has made the leap onto consoles following a long run on PC. Some would say that bringing a space shooter, especially one initially made for PC controls, might be a bit of a tough one, however, for Rockfish they’ve managed to almost achieve perfection.
Naturally, games like Everspace work much, much better on PC. Mouse controls lend to much more precise and less perspectively confusing movement, especially considering how many axes of control are available in games such as this, or any games that involve flight. I can’t speak for the keyboard controls, however, but I imagine all of the keys make for a much simpler way to activate abilities.
That being said, as my first and only experience with Everspace is on console, specifically the PS4, I have to say that Rockfish have done a fantastic job of bringing PC controls to a controller. They’re not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re usable and relatively easy to grasp. I will, however, add though that with a controller movement does seem somewhat limited, especially in some of the more intense and fast-paced dogfights between you and enemy ships.
The game itself is a single player space shooter with roguelike elements. Players are awoken one day and manage to ditch the ship that they’re on for their own spacecraft. From here you and an AI instructor have a bit of dialogue and you’re pretty much left to your own devices.
In a sense, Everspace is like a dungeon crawler roguelike in that players find themselves exploring one corner of the universe, defeating enemies, and taking loot before moving onto the next. Players face a series of increasingly difficult areas until they eventually reach a warp zone and off to the next cluster. During this time players are building up a collection of resources which can later be used to upgrade the ship.
As for the roguelike element, this comes when players inevitably die. They’re then thrust back to the ship they began on, given the option to add upgrades to their ship. Rinse and repeat. Players begin from the first sector but this time with a new and improved ship. Huzzah! These upgrades can improve weapon cooldown, shield regeneration, hull strength, and much more, however, it requires players to have raised the cash to do so in previous playthroughs, and the best way to do that is to engage in combat.
The good news is, this regeneration doesn’t just happen for reason, the player character and the AI do have little spots of dialogue here and there explaining the reason for his resurrection – turns out he’s a clone – and the story tells a tale of this character slowly regaining bits of his memory. It’s not the most compelling story, but it goes along well with the overall gameplay and gives you a reason to progress rather than “just because”.
What impressed me the most about Everspace, however, is how stunning the game looks, even on the base model PS4. Sure, there’s a lot of black space, but there are often times where something will explode into the most spectacular plume of fire and debris which looks absolutely stunning, especially when you blast your way through the wreckage to take down another enemy.
Engaging in combat is the quickest way to gain resources needed to proceed to different sectors, however, provided you can find enough fuel, you can advance through a couple of zones at a time without actually firing a single shot. Sure, it doesn’t really do much in terms of player progression. Once you get far enough to die, you’ll be back where you started with little more to show from your previous adventure.
Even the environment, the floating asteroids, the downed cargo ships, and even enemy and friendly ships. The detail that has gone into each of these parts is cracking. What was also pretty impressive is that the game doesn’t force a perspective on you. For those who’d rather see the action they can go into the chase-cam mode, for others who want to really immerse themselves in the game, there’s a cockpit view too. It’s a simple, yet nice touch here.
This is where those controls come back in. In cockpit view, the controller controls do feel much more natural, unlike the third-person chase-cam controls where twitch movements can sometimes push you completely off course. Overall though when you get used to the controls, after a little bit of time, they do start to come naturally.
If you do end up struggling with the initial controller mapping, Rockfish have added a couple more into Everspace for good measure that’ll hopefully be more preferable to other players, there are also finer controls such as inverting axis to make things a little better. Simply put, Rockfish have done everything they can and then some to make the transition from PC to console as smooth as possible.
Overall Everspace is a visually stunning and thoroughly challenging space shooter jumping leaps and bounds over its competition. While I’d personally enjoy some form of co-op or multiplayer aspect to it, as a single player title there’s plenty to do and an even greater challenge if you decide to opt for the more hardcore difficulties (which in turn offer way more rewards).