by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
When it comes to space combat games, it is hard to beat the old classic, Tie Fighter. The game had everything, wonderful visuals (for its time), a great story and, most importantly, was an enjoyable combat experience that made the game so much fun. Being a Star Wars themed game just topped it off. So when Galaxy on Fire 2 showed up, I thought I’d take a look at it to see how space combat has changed since the heady days of Tie Fighter.
Galaxy on Fire 2 has you playing as Keith T Maxwell, the protagonist from the first game in the series. It begins with the unfortunate Keith accidently entering some sort of wormhole that unbeknownst to him, teleports Keith 35 years into the future and to a faraway star system. He is discovered floating around the system by an ore trader named Gunant Breh and is loaned a spacecraft to use to mine ore for him.
After completing a number of missions for Gunant, you are free to do whatever you like. Mining ore from local asteroids can be a productive business, as can accepting missions to prevent pirates from doing what they do best. After all, prior to your unexpected time trip, you were a renowned fighter pilot.
At the Mos Eisley Cantina
Whilst in town, (well, in the local spaceport) there are a number of things you can do. Firstly, you will be able to trade your collected ore and various space junk – much of it pilfered from pirates – with the local trader at the hanger. It is here also that you can buy better ships, upgrade your current ship by adding new or better components or purchase weapons for life as a fighter pilot. You can also visit the local spaceport bar, where the somewhat seedy characters will offer you some varied side missions where you can gain much needed cash for ship improvements. Some of the characters in the bar will even offer spaceship components, usually as a reduced price to the local hangar.
You will also be pointed in the direction of the main story path as well, having to complete set missions by the games main characters before you are given information to help you on your way. Much of the storyline involves the dreaded Void race and the need to prevent them from using their wormholes to conquer the star systems. They are prevalent in using the wormholes to perform snatch-and-grab raids on transport ships, causing all sorts of problems for the Terran Fleet.
The main mission quests bring me to my major issue with the game. Travelling to various main quest locations requires significant travelling across the galaxy. The use of Jumpgates means that you don’t need to fly directly across the entire span of the galaxy to get from one place to another. Unfortunately, the system is set out in a node style. Jumpgates only take you to the next node in the system, so rather than using the Jumpgate to travel directly to a known location, you are forced to travel one step at a time, even if you have travelled through them before. It can become quite monotonous. And it is not just having to travel through the nodes, but the fact that you need to fly around the star system you have just jumped to, to find the Jumpgate in that system. A system where you could fly simply from one system to another would be so much better, especially if you had already flown through that system.
Stunning visuals, full voice acting and enjoyable space combat
Travelling between star systems is mundane.