Review: Evochron Legends (PC)

Evochron Legends
Developer: StarWraith 3D Games
Publisher: StarWraith 3D Games
Genre: Space Fighter Simulator
Release Date: 02/05/2009


The sequel to the compelling Evochron Renegades, Evochron Legends promises many new tweaks and options all based on player input from the first game and beta testing. Let’s see how this open-ended space sim fares.

Story/Modes
Single Player offers a comprehensive customizable open ended space based sim game. You can fight, trade, race, become a merc or join the military all across one giant open-ended spaceways taking missions as you see fit and tricking out your spaceship or even building a new one from scratch. All this set against a loose story you don’t necessarily have to get involved with to keep playing. It’s an immersive and complex system you can play for hours and hours without even touching on the objective based main story.

Add in a strong multiplayer component that can have you racing or playing head to head against other players and AI opponents and you’ve got another layer to this game that adds a lot. Like playing a mission cooperatively to get better returns. Open ended games like this rarely do both single and multiplayer well and it was refreshing to play something that really handles both fantastically.

Story/Mode Rating: Incredible

cockpit_nebula_planetGraphics
Visuals are what this game excels at. The only time they aren’t stunning are on the extreme close-ups when you’re docking where a bit of the texturing can come apart a bit. The planetary entries can seem a bit dodgy but are still very well done with cloud cover and terrain coming into view as you’d expect on planetary entry. Other than that though this game is MORE than on par with the next-gen titles being churned out pumped out for millions of dollars and putting a serious damper on the gamer wallet. Evochron Legends delivers more for every dollar you put into it than many of the games that I’ve seen out there recently.

Many times I found myself just marveling at the nebula or even the designs of the ships and stations I’d come across. With such an incredibly small download and install size I wasn’t expecting much and the game really delivers a lot on that. Very well done.

Graphics Rating: Classic

Sound
Sound here is passable. The ship noises, while decent, are nothing noteworthy. The voice-overs are well done but again, nothing memorable. Sound isn’t really this game’s strong suit. It’s all kind of background noise while you’re concentrating on the gauges and other ships around yours.

Sound Rating: Mediocre

Control and Gameplay
There is a bit of a learning curve to this game, even with the tutorial. My first few plays into this and I still felt extremely lost hunting up the keys for the mass of options available in this game. I really found the straight up keyboard controls a bit difficult to use and ended up using a mouse and keyboard combo for most of my playing. I really feel that some kind of joystick or other style of game controller would really help out with this. Once you learn what options you can really use (and yes you can customize your input) it flows quite a bit better.

cockpit_explosionOne of the things that really takes getting used to are the cockpit displays. They’re fairly small on your screen and a bit difficult to read as there is a lot of information to sift through. Once you get used to deciphering all the info getting thrown at you it gets a bit easier to sort out what’s important at that particular moment. I imagine it works the same way when you’re flying a plane.

Gameplay wise, this can be complicated. Everything on your ship is customizable. You can even build a new ship from scratch. Then there are the missions you can take or decline, and the private sector Vs. the military sector. You can even shoot down your allies if you choose, which isn’t a recommended play style, but you can do it. The game is extremely open-ended and there is no loading once you’re into it. The world is a fairly seamless affair and you can really get immersed in it. While the controls were a bit of a bear to get used to I loved having so many options and it led to a lot of goofing off in the cockpit when I was sure it wouldn’t cost me too much in repairs and refueling.

Control and Gameplay Rating: Good

Replayability
Being open ended and having a strong multi-player option, the replayability on this game is through the roof. There are so many different ship-building and mission options it left me a bit befuddled at first where to go my first play through. With so many options you can literally play-through several times and have a completely different experience each time and even more on top of that with multi-player.

From an independent developer this is both unexpected and most welcome and goes well above and beyond. I don’t think I’ve had this many options with a space ship in any of the games I’ve played in the past and I definitely think that this can keep players going on this game for a long while.

Replayability Rating: Classic

pimp_your_rideBalanceFor bang for your buck enjoyment, you get miles out of this game. Major points for that. This game more than delivers on that end of things. There is a pretty big learning curve to this and if you don’t know what you’re doing or are having a hard time with piloting at the start it will get you crashed and burned faster than you can blink. It can take a bit to take it all in and the game can really punish you if you’re new to this game series.

Balance Rating: Enjoyable

Originality

This is a sequel to Evochron Renegades and they look remarkably similar on the website, but Legends has new improvements suggested by the players. As far as open and seamless gameplay goes this the first Space sim I’ve played that has this. That and all the options and customization is something I haven’t seen in a space flight game at all.

Everything is pretty seamless and I like that the game experience just flows and you don’t have to hop between a mission screen or wait for a loading bar between areas or anything like that. Even the trade windows pop up within the cockpit window and you can see the action still going on around you.

Originality Rating: Great

Addictiveness
Even with some of the challenges I had getting the game started (see the Miscellaneous section below) I did get right into this game. From being in the cockpit to having complete control over where and what I did was refreshing and had a very sandbox feel in a space sim. Once you get used to the controls and flying about things get much easier and I found myself heading into land on planets just to experience that and watching the nebula. And then there was combat, and trading and trying to push my ship harder and faster. By the time I was done my ship was going to make point five past lightspeed and do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Yeah, I like customization, and being able to trick out my own spaceship was awesome. Even better was to take it anywhere and do anything.

Addictiveness Rating: Classic

cockpit_planet_cityAppeal Factor
A cheap fully fleshed out space sim with amazing cutsomization and you can play it anyway you want? While I think the space sim might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the lack of ads and any type of securom with a fast and easy way to contact the developer directly about issues makes this fairly appealing. Add to that it doesn’t take too much of a high end machine to run the game and you’ve got a great set of options for a fantastically done game.

Appeal Factor Rating: Incredible

Miscellaneous
While the game doesn’t require too much of a powerhouse PC to run it, it does suffer a bit on different rigs. I just got a brand new spanking gaming laptop for Christmas and the game runs terribly on it, like I was running it on a subpar system, at least as far as loading times go and messing around in the menus. Once the game loaded up the actual flight parts and combat all worked great, but the 10 to 15 minute load times were a bit much. This was only on my laptop however. My desktop rig had no issues with this, but if you only have a gaming laptop trying the demo would be a must. And from what I’ve been reading on the support forums it’s not all laptops, just some that have issues.

On the other hand, this game will have none of those securom issues, no ads, free updates, no cd keys. It lacks a ton of the things that PC games seem to be full of these days. Which makes it even more appealing to those who want to avoid those types of things and I have to give the developer a big pat on the back for making it easy on those of us that play PC games.

Miscellaneous Rating: Above Average

The Scores
Story/Mode Rating: Incredible
Graphics Rating: Classic
Sound Rating: Mediocre
Control and Gameplay Rating: Good
Replayability Rating: Classic
Balance Rating: Enjoyable
Originality Rating: Great
Addictiveness Rating: Classic
Appeal Factor Rating: Incredible
Miscellaneous Rating: Above Average
FINAL SCORE: Great Game

Short Attention Span Summary
Gaming Rexes are sad!A deliciously cheap and well crafted Space Sim where the sky is not the limit. With full customization options for your ships and the ability to really go anywhere or do anything, Evochron Legends delivers on the goods in a big way. Just make sure you give the demo a try if you have a laptop as the load times can be really frustrating on some setups. There’s just something very cathartic about being the captain of your own starship and for the price it is worth every penny.

2 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *