Ship to ship combat, pirate attacks, an alien menace, and a healthy dose of FPS action. That is a solid formula for any space adventure game. Add in a pinch multiplayer and a dash of crew management and you have From Other Suns from Gunfire Games.
We talked a little about the games pending release back in October after the games successful open beta weekend generated a good deal of hype. Well, we managed to get our hands on a retail copy and thought we would share what we experienced.
A Long Way from Home
Upon entering the game, you find yourself captain of an experimental spaceship. After successfully testing a new type of warp drive, you and your crew are tasked with returning the new tech to Earth. Unfortunately, your little jaunt into uncharted space did not go unnoticed by an unknown alien threat.
With a ton of hyper jumps lying between you and Earth and an alien armada on your tail, you set out on your way. Each jump brings with it a new procedurally generated outcome. It could be space pirates, it could be a station overrun with crazy robot guards. Whatever the case, you have a fight behind you and a fight in front. So, let’s take a look at how you can handle all this space jazz.
Jump to Jump Life
With the outcome of each jump being fairly random, you want to make sure you have your affairs in order. Let’s take a look at your ship first. You will always want to keep an eye on your ordnance, fuel, and crew. All of these can be attained through trading with random travelers or visiting space stations that are not overrun with mad bots. The currency of choice is basically space junk you acquire from the various fights you’ll get into.
Needless to say, running out of fuel is bad but you will have a distress beacon you can activate that will summon a fuel trader. Just make sure you have something to trade because nothing is free. If you find yourself stranded, it’s game over. If you run out of ammo for your ships weapons, you will be hard pressed to win space battles. So, don’t run out of ammo.
Crew members are a little harder to come by but think of them as your lives. Each time you die, you will resurrect as another one of your crew. Run out of crew and its game over. During space battles, you can also use your crew to help repair your ships systems. Systems you will need to win battles.
On your ship you have various systems you can upgrade and will need to maintain. Shields, tactical, medical, teleport, oxygen, and engines can all be individually targeted during a fight so having a crew around to help keep them tip top is a priority. You will also encounter hull breach damage that you will need to repair yourself to keep your precious air inside your ship.
You, or your friends if playing multiplayer, can also repair the various systems thanks to your handy repair tool. On your left wrist you will have a map of the ship that will help guide you to any damaged areas. The only damage you can’t repair, and will need to have repaired at a station, is your ship’s overall integrity. If that falls to zero, it’s game over.
During ship to ship combat you or your enemy can board the other ship and try and take it out from within. This is done by using your ships teleport. Imagine that! You will also find yourself teleporting onto various space stations for any number of reasons. Okay, it’s usually pirates or rabid robots.
This is where the FPS aspect of the game kicks in. Guns, stem packs, and hacking tools are your tools for this area of the game. Starting off with a few items, you will come across a fairly diverse number of guns on your romp through space. You will also come across a handy energy shield that takes a few hits before needing a recharge. Your inventory can hold a good number of items but for everything else, you get to store it in your ships armory.
Just remember to reload your weapons ammo before you set out. You can do this by placing the weapon on a refilling station found on the wall of your armory, as well as ones found on enemy ships.
Motion in From Other Suns is done through free movement or the game’s version of teleport. The teleport option basically shows your character move from a third person perspective and then snaps back to first once the location is reached. Personally, I found free movement to work best for my needs.
All the other controls felt perfectly natural. You use your finger to select commands at your ships terminal, use your grip to bring up your guns, and pull triggers to shoot. Good stuff! The inventory system is cross hand, meaning that you press the corresponding button on the left hand and remove or place the item with your right. It takes a little getting used to but after a bit, it feels natural and is quick to use during a fight.
Space is Pretty Basic
Graphically, From Other Suns is just okay. It doesn’t look bad by any means, but everything is reused and eventually feels whitewashed. From enemies to weapons and ships, after an hour of gameplay you have basically seen all of the assets involved. Space itself isn’t very interesting in this game so you probably won’t be spending much time looking out of your ships windows.
The audio in the game works for the setting. Space blaster sounds and lots of beeps and boops. Your ship even has a nifty tune playing in the background that I rather liked. The voice acting is good and a hell of a lot better than reading all those transmissions. But, again you will notice the same ones being reused over and over after about thirty minutes of gameplay.
Is it Fun?
First, let me congratulate you for reading through all of that information. This game actually has a lot to it. There’s really no other way to get it across other than spewing it out. Now that it’s out of the way, let me just say that the game is pretty fun. While beating the game is fairly easy, the replay value is through the roof, as long as you bring a friend.
Yes, you will need to socialize if you really want to enjoy this game. With a group of three players running around, or working the various systems on the ship, this game shines. Each player can man a terminal during space battles or just teleport out and lay waste in some good old FPS combat.
It took me about forty minutes to beat the game solo. Honestly, I was disappointed and underwhelmed. Then I joined a game with some random players and the hours flew by. We jumped around fighting pirates and flew directly into the alien armada and kicked some tail. It all culminated in a game of free for all PVP on the ship.
In the Bitter End
From Other Suns will be available November 14th for the Oculus Rift. Right now, you can preorder it for a small discount, but the game itself is $39.99. I won’t sugar coat it, with the current amount of content in the game I can’t see it holding my interest long enough to justify the price. While I had a ton of fun in the multiplayer mode, doing the same thing over and over in procedurally generated ways is not going to hold my interest.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking the game and I would recommend it, just not at that price. The game has a lot of different game elements that are fun, just not enough diverse content to enjoy it in.
Title: From Other Suns
Publisher: Gunfire Games
Release Date: Nov 14, 2017