John Falcon is not your typical hero, he dresses weird, tends to talk big, and really loves money. He kind of reminds me of Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China.(Btw GREAT movie) Bad luck and bad decisions just seem to go hand in hand with this guy. Due to some crazy prophecy dealing with bird names and a ship loaded to the ceiling with gold, all scavengers get a bullseye on their heads. This is where our story begins and things get even more crazy, with interesting characters, factions, and of course space travel.
3030 Death War Redux is an open space simulator, now the “Redux” part means that this is a revitalization. It’s important to note because I didn’t play the game back in its original heyday. I have only played this new version of the game. So keep in mind this won’t be a comparison of the two but more of analyzation of what is in the game now. From what I understand, the graphics, story, side quests, balancing and a whole plethora of things are getting the overhaul from the previous iteration.
Usually, when I play these types of games, I find them to be almost exactly like space itself, a dark vacuum of nothing and where everything takes forever to do. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of content and missions but more importantly, the universe felt alive. Boarding any station, greeted me every time with a slew of strange aliens, alien interiors, and quirky conversations. It was like the Star Wars cantina scene and I honestly couldn’t get enough. This is one of the areas the game absolutely shines as you go about from station to station, collecting missions, making contacts, and trying to stay alive. Even arriving at a station was a dazzling display of holographic ad ships, and other kinds of ships buzzing in and out.
Over all, the mechanics are very reminiscent of the genre. You start with nothing and build yourself up. You can trade, escort, pick up cargo, bounty hunt, and perform many other tasks to build up your cash and eventually get a bigger, badder ship. One thing that I found unique to 3030 was the ability to scavenge derelict space ships for supplies, cargo, etc. The few times I did manage to find a destroyed vessel, my pulse would begin to race, wondering what I might find. You can’t see very far and only have a small scanning droid to assist you locate items of importance. This is one area I definitely would love for them to expand on. Turn up the horror aspect and add some procedural design and scavenging can be practically its own game, if done right.
Another area that absolutely blew my mind was the games soundtrack. I don’t say this very often but 3030 has one of the best and most well integrated soundtracks. The music has this awesome techno synth thing going that seems shot out of the 80’s. You might think that doesn’t work with this type of game but it really, really does. There are also some other instrumental pieces and alternative choices as some of the songs are licensed, and may cause an issue for streamers/youtubers.
Keep in mind that 3030 is in Early Access, so there is still things that need polish and attention. The game crashed a few times on me randomly. Also the UI isn’t the most user friendly, I seriously wish there was a way to zoom in. If you play the game you will feel as if you are unnaturally far away from the action. I don’t know if this is intended or something that is going to be addressed. The graphics/art style themselves are rather appealing to the eye. Consoles are rusted or dirty, other parts of the station show inhabitants going about their daily lives. Screens flicker with news and bartenders stroll back and forth. The galaxy itself looks great, with nebulas, stars, and everything in between. I just wish I could see it a bit better.
One of the biggest gripes I came away with was the combat in 3030. Combat is a bit of a mess and I still didn’t quite understand the finer points after about six hours of playing. You have missiles and lasers and more or less just ending up shooting each other in the face and hope you have more hit-points. This is going back to the camera just being placed so far away that pin pointing shots is downright exasperating at times. Taking on more then one enemy is a logistical nightmare and sadly, enemies tend to attack in large groups. I tried using the different movement modes and found the same results. While I am not sure how to fix the combat, I can tell you it wasn’t my favorite aspect for sure.
Thankfully combat isn’t the most important aspect to the game, but it is obviously vital. I personally would recommend avoiding combat like the plague, but your mileage may vary. Plus there are more than enough other activities that can earn you tons of cash.
When you look at space simulators, they are a very ambitious type of game. You have almost as much work as someone would do for an MMORPG but for a single player game. Not only do you have to fine tune your basic mechanics of combat, but you have to micro manage dozens of systems such as factions, economy, and any story you may want to have. It’s no small task and not an easy one, so obviously I will reserve judgement for final release. That being said the most important part for me, in these types of games, is an aspect that 3030 Deathwar Redux already has in oodles. It has personality, charm, and the universe feels alive.
Plus any game that throws in Crow T. Robot as a bartender has got my vote. So keep an eye on this one folks!