Every couple of years a PC game comes along and claims that it is going to be the next Freelancer. The promise of an open world, immersive space game where the player chooses their own path instead of being forced down a predefined route is always promising. The problem is that the things that made Freelancer so good are often overlooked in favor of the bigger picture, and trying to make the universe to explore, trade, and fight in bigger. So that leaves it on Rebel Galaxy Outlaw to prove if it can compete.
The first mistake that the game makes is that there is a steep learning curve. The first real mission is to go to a waypoint, scan an item, and then fight off whoever shows up. The problem is that the AI for this section seems to be almost entirely randomly aggressive– it can be mildly passive, and allow the player to complete the objective without issue or cause several resets. You also aren’t paid for that mission, and all damages to the ship have to be paid out of whatever funds the player started with. The next mission also requires the purchase of an item that is roughly twice the starting amount of cash.
That brings up the second issue; in Freelancer the player could play through the main story almost directly without having to explore any of the additional side content, it was just there. Rebel Galaxy Outlaw all but expects the player to start farming low level jobs to up their standing in the world as soon as they have control. This might not have been an issue if it was implied, in any way, or if those jobs didn’t require almost a dozen to be completed to have enough to progress to the next story mission.
You can watch our stream of the opening segment here:
The story missions are the next issue with the game, as every character that has a speaking role is kind of a terrible person/alien. It is hard to care about what is happening in a game, or even progress when I kind of want everyone involved in it to have a horrible accident and simply die so I don’t have to ever talk to them again. Even if the people talking aren’t Always Sunny levels of organic filth they find ways to make every interaction feel overly long and simply unneeded.
Sadly, the most fun to be had in the game is the side missions, when grinding for gear or a new ship to meet some kind of set requirement. The mindless wandering between planets, or the simple fetch/defend/scan, missions are so much more enjoyable than anything else in the game that it is almost shocking. Maybe that says something.
Probably the most telling aspect of the game is the entire lack of ships that are able to be flown, as there are only 6, one of which is the flying disappointment cube that the player starts the game with. It just feels like the game is lacking in places that there should have been more, but in other sections –like the amount of solar systems to jump too– there is just a sea of wealth that it never even tries to explain. Not to mention that trying to navigate, manually, from one system to another feels nearly impossible.
For almost everyone interested, you won’t find what you are looking for with Rebel Galaxy Outlaw. What has been done here has been done better in other games, mainly the title done by the same team before this one. There is no need to try waiting for a sale or a demo, you can just feel safe to skip this without losing any sleep.