Just had a little play around in the beta to get some first impressions for the game. This is what I experienced in the first hour or so with only a couple of tries previously in the dev cycle.
In combat the hud is very busy. There really should be a way to filter all of these target reticules. I could follow my main target most of the time but occasionally it was lost to the sea of red and blue target soup. Couple of ideas here. In an interceptor you’ll generally not be fighting capital vessels so why not have an option to select which class of ship you’re hunting. In an interceptor I only want to kill bombers and other interceptors so I would choose these from a checklist. In order to avoid the larger ships, just have a proximity warning. This will clear up so much room on the screen space.
(I know I’m going to get flak for this one but…) The controls seem overly sluggish. Lots of mouse paddling and looping around in circles. I get this is aiming for more of a simulation but in games like elite, it still feels like a simulation whilst also feeling sharp and responsive. I have no suggestion for how to fix this, only that my gut reaction to the controls was it was a bit of a chore. I wasn’t a leaf on the wind. Also I’ve said this before but the ship still seems to handle in an extremely similar way on planets as it does in space. Surely it should feel dramatically different and give you a very different experience in space and different atmospheres.
This could just be me being a complete newb but when my ship was damaged and I escaped the fight, I couldn’t figure out how to repair. I’m not sure if there is a repair option or not but I went to a friendly station, landed and I still had sparks and fires all over the shop. On the topic of repair, is there any option to repair friendly stations and bases? Surely that should be a thing?
It does seem a little weird that a station blows up without ever firing a single shot at it. Wouldn’t it be better to clear the defending ships and then luke skywalker it like the death star? Either that or take out weak points on the station? You could have a shield which lasts unitl surrounding vessels are destroyed. Once you’ve taken them out you can blow up the station or something?
I’m aware it’ll have a tutorial at some point but this game needs a tutorial. I need to be told what is possible in the game and what isn’t possible.
Talking now about core gameplay. It curdled a little for me because it seems to be a mix of “jump in and play, run, die, respawn shooter” but with a really steep learning curve heavy simulation control method. They don’t seem to gel all that well. In response to that I think it would be really good to have micro missions where you can escort / destroy a convoy to a station. Resupply a station or base to get it up and running again after destruction. Resource collection from previous battlefields or asteroids. Mine clearance in preparation for a battle. These sorts of extra curricular activities could expand on the core gameplay making the whole experience richer and less repetative. Also it would give you something extra to achieve if you tire of respawning and flying to a battle.
Where the game excels is in the graphics. I’ve never seen such large space battles. The dust and debris are excellent. Planets look incredible from space. Flying down onto planets is also a joy but doesn’t really take as central a role as I thought it would. I mean this game could very feasibly exist without planetary bases at all. Even so, arriving at a planet is a real experience and I loved every second of it. I like the warp system. It’s easy to switch between locations and the change in speed / scale is implimented really well.
So overall TL/DR:
Hud feels too busy in large battles
Controls aren’t a joy, they’re more of a chore
Repair systems should be a thing
Destructable bases should need damage to blow up
Extra objectives needed to enrich gameplay
Graphics are wonderful
Warp system is made really well
What does everyone else think?