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REVIEW: ‘Everspace 2’ Adapts and Transforms (PC)

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Everspace 2

The first Everspace was an indie roguelike with spaceship combat that built a strong fanbase for itself thanks to its unique style, fun combat, and deep mechanical choices for each run. This success made it all the more surprising when developer Rockfish Games revealed that Everspace 2 would eschew its predecessor’s roguelike structure to instead become an open-world narrative-focused looter shooter. Thankfully, the sequel’s transition to the new ground is achieved elegantly as it explores bold new territory for the series. 

The story of Everspace 2 begins by introducing the player to Adam, a clone created by an intergalactic military that ran away and worked as a hired gun for a mining corporation. After getting kidnapped by a group of space outlaws because of a supervisor’s greed, Adam is kidnapped, and his best friend, Ben, is injured. The two manage to escape their captors with the help of a mysterious man named Dax, who spirits them away to hide out with everything that space renegades could hope for. 

This sets up the narrative of Everspace 2’s campaign, with the player controlling Adam to evade the forces that seek him. Along the way, the player assembles a team of outcasts throughout the galaxy and learns about their pasts and personalities. Everspace 2’s narrative is a lot more compelling and engaging than one may expect from a looter shooter of its scope. It stays interesting throughout as it slowly peels back the layers of its universe while not doing too much that it loses the player if they spend too long in the game’s open world. 

Everspace 2 is also elevated by the fantastic character of its world. It builds an intricate backdrop for the player to slowly uncover while playing through its story and exploring. Even newcomers can take comfort in knowing that understanding the original game is not necessary, as dialogue and an extensive codex give players as much information as they want to look for. 

The game’s visual design also plays into defining its world masterfully. The designs of its characters, architecture, and ships all give Everspace 2 a unique flavor of science fiction that seamlessly blends in fantasy elements. It lands somewhere between the more mythological elements of Destiny 2 and the biomechanical gruesomeness of Warframe to find an identity all its own. 

Where Everspace 2 thrives, however, is in its combat and looter shooter mechanics. As players progress through the game, they can choose from nine different classes of ships, each with its own stats and ultimate abilities. These can range from shooting out electricity to quickly kill weaker enemies to even slowing down time for a limited duration. Every ship can also be fully customized with different primary and secondary weapons, two abilities that can be equipped and upgraded, and various systems like shields and thrusters. 

While there are a lot of pieces to every ship in Everspace 2, it never feels as overwhelming as ship customization in more hardcore space sims like Elite Dangerous. There are enough options for more invested players to fine-tune the ship to their preferences, but players that don’t want to invest the time or thought to do so can get by just fine without min-maxing. 

Everspace 2

Once players are in combat, they find themselves in hectic dogfights filled with mobs of enemies that all weave around varied combat arenas. It is a wonderful spectacle with bright flashes of color, bombastic explosions, and blistering speeds. At times, it can be overwhelming, especially in more significant conflicts, but once players are confident in their ship loadout, the chaos provides exciting backdrops rather than being overwhelming. 

This is mainly helped by how accessible Everspace 2’s combat is. The controls are very responsive, and players are given enough finely tuned control over their ships to intricately weave between asteroids, outmaneuver enemy fighters, and give players consistent doses of adrenaline. Even when still learning the ropes, players are empowered to feel as though they have complete control of their ships while helping them feel the excitement of the game’s encounters.

Outside combat, players can also expect to solve simple puzzles, craft items, invest in their relationships with allies to unlock upgrades, and act as space merchants to generate funds. This allows it to cater to various kinds of players, whether they are looking for a fun and memorable science fiction story or want a deep universe where they can immerse themselves and spend time completing side activities. 

Moving to an entirely new gameplay structure like Everspace 2 is no small feat, and few franchises have been able to do so successfully, and this new sequel has managed to do so more smoothly than ever before. Some fans will surely miss the roguelike structure of the original, but for fans looking to further explore its world or to spend more time in the game’s splendid combat, Everspace 2 delivers in spades. 

Everspace 2 releases on April 6 for PC. It is slated to release for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S in Summer 2023. 

Everspace 2
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Some fans will surely miss the roguelike structure of the original, but for fans looking to further explore its world or to spend more time in the game’s splendid combat, Everspace 2 delivers in spades. 

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