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Independence War 2: The Edge of Chaos Review
developer: Particle Systems
PII-400, 64MB RAM, 12MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Aug 21, 01 (released)
|» All About Independence War 2: The Edge of Chaos on ActionTrip|
Dusan "Lynx" Katilovic
A lot of time has passed since the first Independence Wars appeared - some four years to be specific. If my memory serves me well (and it should), this game received quite contradictory criticism from both reviewers and different types of players. A lot of the players bent on instant-fun who think that learning is something they should only use in school (if necessary) were less than delighted by the fact that they had to use their brains in this technically and conceptually superior game. A few players however managed to get the best of this game and really enjoy it in spite of the linear plot and lack of the multiplayer mode.
The Edge of Chaos looks even more spectacular, but it is also even more difficult. Set in the 24th century, about a hundred years after the first part, it gives you the role of the twelve-year-old Cal Johnston. The fascinating ten-minute-long intro will show you how your father gets killed by the evil Caleb Maas, because he owed him money. Caleb wants his debt paid and so he imprisons you for a period of 80 years. But Cal has pirate blood running through his veins and after mere fifteen years of imprisonment he manages to break free and with several friends and decides to wreak his revenge.
With some basic equipment, a lot of enthusiasm, and the mini-computer left to you by your late father (the computer contains the spirit of the dead Jefferson Clay-a, the hero of the first part of the game) you set of on your space quest. The first things you will need are a good joystick and the user manual. The ridiculously difficult physics model and the numerous commands and options will make you instantly forget the possibility to play the game on the keyboard. You will have to use the keyboard, but using a hat joystick - is obligatory because of the menu controls inherited from the first part. The control goes through the HUD interface controlled by an eight-way hat, where pulling the joystick in a certain direction takes you to one of the four menus (engineering, weapons, communications and navigation), where you can issue specific commands. Neat! Getting used to these controls will take you a few hours, and all I can do is encourage you to go through it. Controlling a craft in zero gravity, zero friction conditions is a great challenge and it really takes a lot of practice to get used to the game physics which is I dare say one of the most perfect game physics to date.
Even though you have not more than five completely different ship models at your disposal, they will all stubbornly stick to their realistic physics models, which will give you quite some trouble in dogfights. At first, the dogfights will mostly come down to full-frontal charges, where only the ship with the better armor can win. In time, you will learn how to properly maneuver your craft which will add a tactical element to the combat. Another great feature is the ability to strafe: By turning at 90 degrees while traveling at full speed, you can run your vessel along the sides of larger ships. This both makes you hard to hit and allows you to make maximum damage over the largest possible area. This isn't all you can do... you will learn tricks one by one, which can guarantee days and weeks of playing without the possibility for the game to become monotonous.
One important factor that influences how interesting a game is is its storyline. The plot of this game will develop through some fifty highly complex missions in the sixteen solar systems, crammed with events, possibilities and locations for you to freely explore and enjoy. You will be able to travel and trade, recycle goods, produce goods, become a pirate... The most important thing you should do at first is build up a powerful pirate fleet. The level of freedom you have in the game is comparable to the legendary Elite!
8.1 Very Good
Great sounds and visuals; realistic physics model; good joystick interface; fine storyline;
Too difficult for most players; veeeery long learning curve; a lot of bugs.