If you wish to save the universe, please stay on the line.
There are times in everyone's life when bearded men hand you legendary spaceships built by your recently deceased father that you have to use to..sorry, let me start again.
The theme of avenging a dead family member who was done in by some slimy so and so is, as we all know, not even a remotely new theme in the world of fiction. I'm sure you can think up your own examples but I'm only going to talk about one particular game today.The game is Darkstar One, a spaceflight sim, brought to the gaming community by the work of the publisher CDV Entertainment and the developer Ascaron Entertainment.The plot follows itself along these lines: at the start of the game Kayron completes his training as an escort pilot and then hearing that his now deceased father left him an inheritance: the Darkstar One. It is a ship of which there is no other like in the galaxyand it will serve as Kayron's tool of revenge and redemption for the young man whose father did not die of natural causes, but met his end at the hands at a murderer.
Most of the game revolves itself around the unique feature of the Darkstar One. The ship has a unique ability to grow and alter upon the collection of a variety of artifacts that are scattered among the numerous planetary systems that you will explore. These artifacts are marked on the map with a green diamond, but they are not always easy to get. You will find that out four yourself in time.
Each system has a different planet(of course), with a variety of trade ships and fighters that cruise around as you enter the system along with a mixed up bag of other space debris.There are also planetary trade stations which you can dock with in order to take on new jobs, buy goods to sell in other systems, and purchase equipment for the various systems of the Darkstar One.
In between becoming a hero and a galactic legend you must get out there and work. Work hard. You take jobs where they are, and you can choose whether you wish to be a sleazy slave trader or the more humble ore runner. That's one of the focal points of thegame..you can make choices in the game to alter your character's own personal moralityand that will reflect your in game status.
Your journey through the game is also marked by events in the galaxy around you. There are a lot of alien races and one, the Thul, is giving everyone massive headaches. Reportson the activities of the Thul are given to you via news broadcasts that you can view which does a good job of fleshing out the realism of the galaxy you inhabit.
As you harvest each artifact for the Darkstar One, the points are stored and used to change the appearance of the ship itself. With careful planning you can turn the shipinto a lumbering powerhouse that can take as much damage as it can dish out or into a swift and nimble fighter that can dodge all the heavy ammunition that the opponents you face will send your way. And believe me, there will be a lot of them..
And now the moment you've all been waiting for..the scores!
Gameplay-8=The gameplay in Darkstar One depends largely on your control interface, be it keyboard or joystick, but I with my Logitech Exteme 3D Pro found it to be sensibleand easy to handle. You can control acceleration, rotation on the x and y axis, and ofcourse your weapons. What does take some getting used to, at least for me, were the keyboard commands of which there were a great deal. But with time they can be learned; it just takes a while to remember them all. Mission specific commands, like attaching a docking clamp to a cargo container, can be activated either by pressing the corresponding key on the keyboard or by pressing the space bar and using the mouse to click on the icon hat appears on the right hand corner of the screen. What was a nice touch, though, is how when you moved the ship the control sticks in the cockpit would mimic the movement of the ship.
Graphics-9=Lovely job here. The fizzling of the shields as your lasers make contact with him, the lights of the engines as you pursue the enemy ahead of you, the bright streams of light flying all over the place, not to mention the individual beauty of each planet system you enter, make this a very pretty game to see indeed. Of course there are some limits..inside the trade station there is only a backdrop for your screen against which humans and aliens move about doing things unknown to you, but this is a small point. The real adventure takes place out in space.
Audio-9=They had a really nice audio system in place here. The voices of the NPCs come through clear and without interference, unless put their on purpose for plot reasons and each have a little box that will display the face of the NPC you are talking to. This doesn't occur in battle, of course, but the music, the sounds of the weapons hitting the shields, and the threats from your adversaries make it a worthwhile and exciting experience.
Value=Darkstar One retails for $40.00 dollars and I've have to say it is a good one. In addition to the shocking amounts of planets that you can visit in the course of the game, the freedom to make a character you want and a ship you want, and modding tools(provided by the developer, Ascaron) that you can use to make your own missions once you beat the game thus ensuring a lengthened period of replayability, I would say that anyone who likes the space flight sim genre should get this game. The game, though, is quite involved and will take much time and work to get through, so it may turn off the casual gamer.
Curve-7=This was even tougher score to give then it usually is. The breadth of the world in DarkStar One which is part of what makes it such a great game can also be adownside as well. It just depends on what you like and what to do. If you like a game where you can fly around at will, take missions as you go, and take the game at your ownpace then this is the game for you. For those who like a more linear style of play you might encounter problems, but speaking for myself I think that Ascaron struck a good balance between giving us not enough options and giving us too many.