Everspace 2 is a spaceship shooter by Rockfish Games in which you fly, fight, trade, and explore in a handcrafted open-world.
As in most space games, you move your ship with the keyboard or left stick, and point your ship with the mouse or right stick. Combat consists of maneuvering your own ship to avoid damage while shooting enemy ships. You have a boost to help dodge incoming attacks and special abilities on cooldowns to help you survive a fight or deal damage.
A lot of combat depends on how you set up your ship. You might be flying a Sentinel class, a large ship with a lot of weapon slots, and be using energy weapons and shotguns for close-quarters combat, or you might be flying a smaller ship with long-range weapons. Combat is exciting and smooth, especially when you get in close and constantly need to dodge, weave, shoot missiles, and use your special abilities to win.
There’s a main questline of linear missions, as well as side quests, infinite randomly generated jobs, optional randomly generated fights, and locations you can loot and solve puzzles in. You use your jump drive to leave an area, then travel throughout the solar system, picking from locations, whether explored or unexplored.
There’s a lot to do, but a lot of it is repetitive. Outside of the main and side quests, you’re left with the same activities over and over. Technically the puzzles are different at every location, but they amount to the same thing — fly around the environment looking for interactable objects, then interact with them.
There’s also a lot of trading to be done — there are commodities you can buy cheap and sell for a profit, and this is one of the few ways to make a load of cash. Unfortunately, your inventory has a habit of getting crowded by weapons your enemies drop, so you’ll be selling and dismantling items constantly.
Combat stays interesting for the 30 or so hours the campaign takes, but it depends a lot on your level. As you play, you’ll gain experience, which will increase your health and let you equip more powerful weapons dropped from enemies. If your enemies are even a couple of levels above you, it’s almost impossible to win, as you’ll die in a handful of hits.
This is compounded by the main quest, which occasionally jumps its level requirements, meaning you are almost forced to do side content to become more powerful. If you don’t, you might get halfway through the mission, lose some of your armor, and hit a checkpoint, at which point you’re more or less stuck.
The story doesn’t quite pay off. You play as the final clone of Adam Roslin, continuing the story from the first game, and you quickly get pulled into preparation for a heist. There’s a tendency for the story to get stuck on minute details, head off on tangents, and fail to leverage the interesting setups within the plot, but the characters are likable and the core mysteries of the story are intriguing.
The spaceships are fun to look at, and the music complements your exploration well. The voice acting is uniformly good, and the 2D art is a nice way to depict the story outside of your ship.
Despite the frustration of the level system, and the repetitiveness of some of the side content, I had a good time with the combat and flying at the heart of Everspace 2. This feels like a return to an older style of game, and I’d recommend it if you like spaceship games.
Everspace 2 is out now on PC for $49.99 and coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series later this year.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Everspace 2.