Space Rangers 2 contains an extremely open universe in which you're given the opportunity to create your own path. You fill the space boots of a space ranger and it's your job to carry out various missions, or on the other hand, live the life of a space pirate in this game that spans multiple genres.
But before going to to review the game properly let's have a little history lesson shall we? ….or is that future lesson?
Space Rangers 2 begins in the year 3300, 200 years after the events of the the original. The galaxy is now being threatened by a mysterious enemy known as The Dominator's. These powerful robots are taking over worlds and destroying ships and ultimately it's up to you to help stop them. If you choose to...
You begin the game by customising your character – Fighter, Merchant and Pirate are among the classes you can choose from. You also need to choose one of five different races – one is human, the others are alien. Your choices will determine how others throughout the galaxy perceive you to begin with.
Once you've passed basic training and you're in your ship it's entirely your choice what to do. You decide where you want to go and what missions to take. Missions are generally found by speaking to representatives at a planet's government building. The quests are varied, for example you could be entrusted to transport certain cargo to another planet before a certain date. Or you'll need to escort certain ships from one place to another. You can even choose combat missions which involve dealing with enemies at a certain location. Sounds a lot like an RPG doesn't it? And indeed Space Rangers is largely a role playing game (in space, don't forget that) but there are also other aspects that feature prominently.
So you've agreed to wipe out an enemy base on the ground have you? It'll be some Real Time Strategy for you then ranger. You'll be beamed down to the planet surface and it's your responsibility to take control of units in a real time 3D environment. The RTS element isn't particularly taxing but it's fun none the less and adds some extra variety to the game. Like everything in Space Rangers, this mode is completely optional, so if you'd rather not do it then you don't have to.
Another genre that's featured in Space Rangers is the old school text adventure. You can end up in certain situations where it's like being in one of those books. You make your choices and have to deal with the consequences. (Which can involve horrible deaths by the way, so be careful!) These text adventures are usually optional, however sometimes you are dragged into them.
For example, I was travelling between systems and was ordered to land on a planet by enemies where I was then thrown in prison. The aim of the game was to then make it through the prison sentence safely. Of course if it hadn't been for the small fleet of enemy craft I wouldn't have gone anyway – and this is where one problem comes in – combat.
Combat can become extremely difficult, even impossible, if you're not strong enough. You could end up flying through a certain area of space and without warning you'll get attacked by a small army. I ended up getting my ship blown up on a number of occasions just because I didn't have the power to take them on...or indeed lacked the speed to get away. This can be frustrating. The best thing in this situation is to just remember where the enemy fleets are and avoid that area until you've levelled up and have the equipment – or a fleet of your own – to deal with it. The only other minor negative I came across was that some of text has been lost in translation, but this doesn't really detract from the experience.
The game itself Is pleasing to look at. It may be mainly in 2D but the colours make it very easy on the eye. A nice touch is that the planets and space stations move as they orbit stars. The in game music is good too.
Overall, Space Rangers 2 is a pleasing gaming experience. It's great how the developers, Elemental Games, have given the player so much choice. It's possible to get addicted to this just through the exploration alone, while the universe changes around you.. This game is certainly recommended for anyone who enjoys RPG's but wants to play one that's a bit different – and that's in a good way. The reboot expansion pack adds even more variety to the experience. So gather your things Ranger, your galaxy needs you!
(Originally written for and published on Game-Debate on May 31 2009)