Review: 3030 Deathwar Redux

Deathwar! (Because I like to whisper-yell “Deathwar!” in a gravelly voice) 3030 Deathwar Redux is an engaging, open world, often humorous, adventure in space – that has been ten years in the making! Even though there is a story-line, you choose to play that part only if and when you decide that you are ready to progress it along. You are basically free to do what you please.

Although there will easily be many opportunities for me to spoil different parts of the game for you, I will take great care not to do that. However, since the following happens at the very beginning of the game, I can at least tell you how you start out: You are John Falcon and awaken with few memories of how you got into your predicament and surroundings. Hoping to obtain all of your answers, you start on a space station and prepare to traverse your way along through the stars. All you really know is that you are here as a result of a missing freighter with a shipment of gold. Some guy sells you a spaceship – which you quickly find out, from the authorities, mind you – that is stolen. Guess how far you get into your journey while using a stolen spacecraft? Do you think the ‘law’ will allow you to leave the station in a hot ship? Naturally then, this is where your voyage begins.

Where nobody knows your name...yet.
Where nobody knows your name…yet.

There are two main parts to 3030 Deathwar Redux: The stations and the flying. The first is a side-to-side scroll and stroll through each of the stations that you find. Here you will find goods for trading, job opportunities, news, wanted pirates, and ship parts and upgrades. Additionally, there are a  myriad of characters that you will talk with and listen to, while trying to figure out exactly what is going on with your life. The inside of the stations ‘feel’ alive as well – with things moving around and a background, intercom-ey voice like you would hear at an airport or bus terminal.

There are a lot of goods for you to buy, haul around, and sell. Fortunately, as well as quite appreciatively, all of the products’ (from Aluminum, and Delavian Chocolate, to Trixian Bumblejuice and Ulonium) values are marked, along with a comparison, color-coded button of high and low prices! If you have ever played any type of game that trades goods that does not have this feature, you know the pain in the droid’s butt of trying to keep track of materials’ costs from port to port.

Buy low, sell high.
Buy low, sell high.

Whether side missions that are offered or official missions from the Job Console, there are tons (pun intended) of ways to make money in 3030 Deathwar Redux. There are a slew of undertaking types – for me to spoil, which I will not. Let’s only say that some are of the delivery variety. One of my favorites, though, are the junk missions. Some timed, while others are not, these opportunities let you fly around and destroy a certain number of pieces of garbage out there in the vacuum (not the Hoover kind, you knew what I meant). Even while you are simply going from point A to B, each bit of trash that you shoot nets you $250. Then, for junk missions, you still get that amount plus the fee for the contract! It is quick and relatively easy money (watch out for pirates though!). All I will say about the side quests is that you need to keep track of them.

3030 Deathwar upgrade providing extra information.
Info provided by an upgrade.

Since I have alluded to pirates a couple of times, as well as a pirate wanted list, not only are they formidable, especially early, but they also have gang affiliation. As with everyone else, you can deal with them how you see fit. Realize again, that your equipment is key. Make sure that you have a decent ship before you go off a-bounty huntin’. Initially though, you do not want to arr-gue with them. To add just one more little piece about the first part of the game: like the pirates, avoid the nebulas as well. That is all I will reveal about those.

Arr, bounties o' plenty!
Arr, bounties o’ plenty!

Flying your ship is the other part of 3030 Deathwar Redux – the actual being out in space itself. It is 2D, completely open, and at times, can get pretty fast. You are out there to go from station to station, and eventually system to system, along with their their stations. You are in the cosmos to trade, complete jobs, deal with pirates, and maybe even shoot some junk, if you are so inclined. Space itself is interesting as well. There are all manner and sizes of other ships cruising around, doing their own thing as well, while generally leaving you alone. Obviously, there are more vehicles around the posts, but in between them is never boring or idle either. In fact, all types of travel are interesting and never felt like a chore to undertake, especially with surprises along the way.

Ooh, opportunities here!
Ooh, opportunities here!

As with the rest of 3030 Deathwar Redux, the interstellar happenings increase alongside your ship and its equipment. There is a huge array of weapons and parts that become available. All of those drastically increase, as well as the types and amount of new people that become available to talk to! I have always thought of myself as a completionist, so I want to talk to everyone about everything. Fortuitously, and deliberately designed, this has paid off in more than one occasion.

Also a great decision: there are  hotkeys for most activities involved within the game. Once these become second-nature, as they quickly will, the things that you want to do become automatic. However, until that time, everything is very easily accessible with the mouse. There are only two things that I would really like to see. First, is the ability to sort the different columns of goods at the trade station. They are neither shown as alphabetically nor by price. Then, I would like an option to make the conversations click-to-progress only, as sometimes I am taking notes and what they are saying goes by too quickly (for my old, maybe-piratey, but not patched eyes and my neither-one’s-a-hook hands).

It's never lonely, for sure.
It’s never lonely, for sure.

3030 Deathwar Redux is very compelling to play. It makes you always want to know what you will come across next. Where will the next mission take you? What is in that system, over there? How about the one that is close to it? Who are you going to meet here, or at the next stop? What kinds of weapons or upgrades will you find next? Then, something that is very near and dear to me is the fact that a lot of the pieces of the game are randomly generated. Scripted and static games are not the type that I enjoy. So, having procedurally-generated aspects makes this truly  and infinitely replayable. Now though, I must eagerly return to my current playthrough. There is someone, not saying who, that I have been desperately needing to deal with, ye ole matey.

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