Everspace 2 – PS5 Review 1

The sheer scale of space is absurd. Plenty of games have aimed to capture a fraction of it but I’ve tended to give them a miss. Maybe they’re too big for comfort but I’m now in a position to have them thrust upon me. Everspace 2 is the new effort from Rockfish Games. Already well received by the PC crowd, the Playstation 5 has it’s chance to experience an impressive space combat shooter.

The story places you in the hands of Adam, a clone pilot who is out to find his fortune in a war-torn universe. It’s a bit of a cheap conceit but having a clone protagonist does allow for a blank slate. I didn’t dig into the original but there is some intrigue from the surrounding cast. Adam is certainly not an unknown quantity and it’s nice to see that history be drip-fed throughout the course of the story.

Unfortunately, it’s told in a jarring manner. Animated cutscenes offer some detailed imagery but it’s at odds with how you spend the entirety of the game in your ship. There are some in-engine which gives the odd visual of two ships trying to act. It can look a little goofy but I found rare moments like that mildly endearing. It must be hard to figure out how to present a story like this. At the very least, there’s effort being placed in different methods.

Beyond the animated segments, voice-acted portraits fill in most of the story between locations. It’s a good way to deliver information on the move, although some of these come at stationary hangars. Ultimately, these methods don’t quite pull together. There’s a decent narrative on offer but being permanently fixed into your craft made it hard for me to connect with them. Everyone was, by necessity, distant.

Ship movement is well controlled. You can easily strafe and manoeuvre and I do feel the ship is nimble enough to evade most situations. More complex controls allow you to tilt and boost out of trouble. It feels fairly natural and there’s a lovely sense of inertia. Weapons are easy enough to fire off. Dogfights can be frantic but there’s enough auto-aim to avoid having to lead targets in the heat of battle. Most encounters have you outnumbered but the right weaponry can make quick work of the fodder. The aftermath of a battle does leave you with a cluttered interface. Enemies are marked, as well as any loot they may drop.

Gear is plentiful in the universe. It follows the typical colour-coding conventions with Green loot being the first on the rarity ladder. It’s gated by level and, whilst you do get storage unlocked later on, it can be all too enticing to hoard useless trinkets until you hit the requirements. Containers are littered everywhere and planets are often rich in minerals. I haven’t dipped much into crafting but it is there for willing participants. Following the critical path did appear to leave me feeling under-equipped with mission rewards often being useless to me until I hit a required level.

As such, it’s worth exploring and digging into the side content. Some of these diversions can be quick with distress calls leading you to encounters that can be over in a minute. I do find clearing locations out is an impossibility. Enemies will periodically spawn in, allowing for potential grinding. When looking for specific landmarks, that became a minor nuisance. Variety is there but I felt it harder to come by when compared to the ‘favours for favours’ nature of the main campaign. There are races, there are side-jobs but the design of missions feels fairly similar.

Space is massive but there’s a lot of empty spaces that seem to bridge the more interesting locations. They’re simple enough to traverse with jump boosts locking you into a trajectory. This is where other points of interest can blitz past but the game also takes these interludes to deliver more story and conversation between characters. It does, at the very least, populate the quieter moments with something.

Everspace 2 has a wonderful atmosphere permeated throughout. The cold blackness of space seems surprisingly relaxed whenever you’re out of combat. Visually, there’s a sleek look to ships and locations. Firmly entrenched in a sci-fi aesthetic, you’ll come across trading outposts, space stations and planetside mining operations. It’s nothing that hasn’t been tried before in fiction but it has a polish that I quiet enjoy looking at.

It’s a smooth experience with no dips that I could see. Even in the most intense of dogfights, the engine held steady. Music does well to give a relaxed ambiance. In combat, the music pipes up but doesn’t drown out the explosions or laser fire. It’s a synthy accompaniment that settles into the groove Everspace 2 is going for.

I do wish traversing large distances was more seamless. Locations are relatively small, allowing you to find what you need without getting lost or disorientated. Unfortunately, it can make everywhere feel segmented or walled off. I get that a universe without breaks would’ve been unwieldy but crossing large swathes of the void can feel a touch stop-start.

For all that smoke and mirrors about size and scope, I do enjoy Everspace 2. The combat and ship movement is simple to grasp. Dogfights can be balletic and frantic and victory can feel satisfying. Loot comes thick and fast but there is a tendency to give out rewards you just aren’t ready for. Despite the disjointed methods of storytelling, the in-game action feels fluid and polished and the need for more gear compels me to keep playing.

Everspace 2
8 Overall
+ Ship movement feels fluid and responsive.
+ Satisfying, rewarding combat.
+ Solid sci-fi soundtrack.
+ Great sense of exploration.
- The storytelling can make the cast feel distant.
- The UI can feel cluttered in the heat of battle.
- Traversing large distances can feel very stop-start.
- Seems more than happy to hand you loot beyond your level.
Everspace 2 is a fairly polished experience that really feeds the compulsion to find more loot. Space combat is fluid and easy to comprehend, although potentially disorientating. I do find the storytelling can make the characters feel distant from one another but the overall plot had me intrigued. The grand expanse from space has been somewhat segmented but the scale on display is still admirable and there's a cool sci-fi vibe to all of it.

About Mike

Mike gets all the racing games because he understands that stuff even though he doesn't drive.

Leave a comment

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

One thought on “Everspace 2 – PS5 Review