Starbound Early Access Impressions: A Grand Adventure With No Direction
If you didn't know by now, there's a little something-something on Steam's Early Access by Chucklefish called Starbound, also known as “Terraria in space”. The game has already moved more than a million units the first month out on release, and it's gathered up tons of support from the modding community very early into its life on the digital market.
I've been putting in some time with the game every once in a free-moment from all that lovely, lovely, Xbox One news, and I can definitely say that Starbound has a ton of potential and lot going for it.
As if the headline and first paragraph don't give away enough: the game is in Early Access. It's still being developed, it's still being iterated, it's still growing, evolving and advancing.
I turned off auto-updates as I've been playing the game so I wouldn't have to worry about losing any progress, character data, ship data or world data.
Anyway, the vanilla game seemed all right but I wanted one of those big-arse, worth-writing-about adventures, so I went and grabbed that highly talked about Mass Effect mod, some weapon mods ('cause I'm 'Murican and I love guns), and some visual enhancement mods ('cause I'm a PC gamer and graphics are obviously the only thing I care about). After decking the game out from from bytes to megs with the sort of mods that would make Garry's Mod look like child's play, it was time to start the game.
I decided to make a character from one of the custom races I downloaded; a Nephilim was the prime choice. The story setup was pretty epic: my dude got trapped in space after fighting off those who operated the space church, but before my character could do anything one of the church members dumped all the fuel. Bent on revenge and on a quest to gather and reap souls, my Nephilim dude is tasked with scavenging the galaxy for souls while seeking revenge against those trying to remove the Nephilim from every corner of the universe. Pretty epic setup, eh?
Majority of the gameplay doesn't really fit in line with that Darksiders sub-plot, but the motivation from the in-game codex lore helped keep my sights set on getting off the newb planet and making good on soul-reaping.
I built up the obligatory multi-story wooden house, made all the basic crap and then explored the planet further. I gathered up plenty of coal, for fuel. Made some rudimentary weapons and then came across a Floran village. They had some great stuff in their chests and bookshelves. Learned some more lore. Upgraded to a better sword. Slept in someone's bed that didn't belong to me and then built a distress beacon.
I placed the beacon atop one of their houses and let the UFO destroy their little village. I used the dying civilians as a cover to battle and destroy the UFO that came to pillage and ravage. Took the goods; packed up my stuff; abandoned my multi-story high house; fueled up the ship with coal and stored all the important stuff in the ship's locker.
From there my adventures took me to random planets across the alpha sector. I eventually gathered enough gear to craft Guts' auto-crossbow from the anime Beserk – this made the process of gathering food easy and convenient.
Crafted some N7 armor and put on a dark cowl and cape so my dude looked like an evil Sith.
Darth Maul would approve.
I finally came across a planet with some race known as the Glitch. These mofos didn't want me looking around their crib. I went back to my ship, crafted a big claymore and came back to unleash more vengeance on them than Rambo did in First Blood: Part II. Found some good items and an upgrade to get to the beta sector.
I finally gathered enough money and resources to start filling out my crew with science engineers and weapon smiths. Scavenged some more planets; acquired books to help me navigate the solar systems to find various planets of different species. Ended up on a Planet of the Apes-style rock where the monkeys were quite smart. They had some good gear and some smart people, so I used my brain extractor to take their brains and my sword to reap their souls.
Darth Sidious would be proud.
I now have a snazzy crew, a sexy ship, some cool weapons and a quest I don't really know how to fulfill. I didn't play-test any of the multiplayer yet, and as of right now you don't have a lot of quest structure beyond the basic tutorial for getting off the newb planet. From there it's kind of up to players to make of the universe what they will. A grand adventure with no direction.
Starbound is available right now on Steam's Early Access. You can learn more by visiting the official website.
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