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Developer: Provox Games
Minimum requirements: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or faster processor; 768 MB RAM; 3 GB hard drive space; DirectX 9.0c or higher; DirectX 9 compatible video card; 16-bit sound card; Windows 2000/XP/Vista
Genre: Space combat simulation
Release date: Available now
Review by: Zac Grantham
Constantly rumored to be extinct, space combat sims are a rare breed these days. Yet, Space Force: Rogue Universe aims to change the fortune of recent games that were over-hyped and delivered less than promised. Boasting a wide variety of ships, weapons and races, as well as an incredible graphics engine, the entire galaxy is your playground as you choose what to do, from creating a formidable trade empire, to becoming an intergalactic diplomat, to turning your laser cannons against everyone as a widely hated space pirate.
Space Force 2 can be played in either of two modes– Story mode or Free mode. In Story mode, you follow Jim Anderson, an EMD pilot trying to find his lost sister. You watch as Jim’s father is killed in space while Jim and his sister are still children. Fast forward a number of years, and the siblings have grown apart. When Jim hears troubling news concerning his sister, he knows he must do whatever it takes to find her and make her safe. However, you can follow the story arc at your leisure while dabbling in any of the other elements the game offers. Free mode is exactly as it sounds: you are free to simply explore the galaxy, trading goods, fighting battles and accepting side quests while making both friends and enemies. This open-ended nature allows you to enjoy Space Force 2 however you see fit.
If you decide to forgo the story and play in Free mode, you start by choosing to be a combination of the game’s 10 different races and nine professions. This is the only way to get to play as a race other than the EMD, such as the insects known as the Collective. The choice of your race affects your starting ship and standing among the other races. The profession you choose will either help with your initial ship and cargo or give small bonuses throughout the life of your character.
Much of the fun of space sim games is, of course, the illusion of being in space. The thrill of seeing huge glowing stars, rotating space stations and other vessels is usually at the core of any decent space game. The graphics engine of Space Force 2 renders all of these cosmic wonders in real-time and with an impressive number of frames per second, even on modest hardware. The colors are vibrant and the lighting of the stars is spot on. The attention to detail goes all the way down to the smallest asteroids which bounce off your ship as you travel. Additionally, an elaborate physics engine makes all aspects of this outer space world seem realistic. As an example, when a ship explodes, it produces a noticeable blast wave that will throw your ship for a loop if you’re caught in its path.
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