Everspace 2, developed by Rockfish Games, is not a space flight simulator. If you are looking for that, go elsewhere. What it is, is a Space-based shooter/looter action role playing game with an emphasis on dogfighting and ship-to-ship combat. The combat can be tricky and difficult on harder difficulty settings, especially if you encounter higher level enemies, or if the enemies outnumber and overwhelm you. This difficulty can be overcome via the myriad of weapons, ship modifications and enhancements you loot from the enemies you manage to conquer, as well as increasing your own level, and attributes. While your attributes do increase with each level, you can also increase them with mainframe expansions which are created by collecting 3 mainframe components and combining them.
There are also several ways you can encounter enemies to aid you in increasing your level/attributes. You can simply free roam from area to area looking for any ship or groups of enemy ships which appear highlighted red to indicate their hostile status. There are also jobs you can undertake from certain vendors located at space stations or planetary outposts. Random drops can also be acquired from enemies, wrecked ships, or cargo containers called Signal Decoders, which, when used, point the way to a High Risk Area. There are also side quests you can undertake often given by NPCs you will encounter. The final way to increase your level/attributes is completing the linear main quest storyline.
It is worth noting that completing side missions not only offers Renown, credits and experience but sometimes crafting materials, weapons, or ship enhancements too. Renown is not necessary, but has 5 different tiers, each of which offers rewards to improve your ship. It is also worth noting that high risk areas will have waves of enemies attacking you until a threshold is reached where a boss enemy will appear to attack you, completing the waves and killing the boss will usually reward you with better loot than normal enemy encounters. Most enemy encounters will net you any combination of experience, credits, weapons, ship enhancements, crafting materials or Renown. The game is very open as far as letting you choose how or when you advance the storyline.
The main storyline offers 20-30 hours of gameplay which can be extended greatly by completing side missions, high risk areas, random exploration and commodity trading. Yes, you read that last bit right. Commodity trading allows you to buy items from vendors in one planetary system at very low prices, travel to another system (once you unlock that system via main story progression) and check its value to sell it for profit. Why might you want to do that? Well, to purchase different ships to try out of course! There are 3 different classes of ship; light, medium and heavy and each class has 3 variant types, for a total of 9 different ships. All of these can be further customised by choosing different weapon types, ship enhancements and then improving those weapons/enhancements with crafting materials to increase its rarity. Through crafting you can increase an item's level one time, and its rarity can be increased from Common (Grey), through Uncommon (Green) to Rare (Blue), and finally Superior (Pink). There are Legendary (Orange) items but those only drop rarely inside an Ancient Rift or from enemies in Nightmare Difficulty.
With all that said, this game is also rather light on variety. Whether it is the main story or side quest missions, it is always a matter of go here and kill them, or go there and collect that–after killing them. Outside of a series of race events in which you fly solo to achieve the best time there isn't much else content-wise. Don't get me wrong, I had a lot of fun playing this game, so much so I plan on replaying it. I just wish there was a bit more variation in the gameplay. I realise this is me imposing what I want upon a good game that comes from, what is by today's standards, a small development team. So for those reasons I say Kudos Rockfish Games! Everspace 2 is a solid 8/10 in my book.
Everspace 2 is now on Game Pass, or available for £44.99 on the Xbox Store (£35.99 with Game Pass) to own.