PC Game Preview of Darkstar One

Brought to the world by Ascaron Entertainment (UK), Darkstar One promises to be one of the most popular “Space Action-Adventure” game since Freelancer. Those fans of Microsoft’s Freelancer release will be dying to get thier hands on this Ascaron Entertainment release. Darkstar One offers some of best graphics I’ve seen on a PC. The lighting effects and particle system rival that of Id Software’s Doom 3. Since, like most space simulation games, the designers have very few objects models to render compared to non-space based games, the ships and planets are stunningly detailed.

The storyline starts out simple- you’ve just finished space fighter training to become an “escort pilot.” You recieve the ship Darkstar One and the ball gets rolling from there. Even in the Demo there are plot-twists and some interesting turns in the storyline. The full version is supported with nearly an hour of in-game cinimatics that reveal some of these twists and turns in the plot.

The Gameplay in Darkstar One is extremly flexible. Every command can be custom mapped for each individual users preferance, but I found that the default layout was very logical and easy to learn and use. In addition Darkstar One, like Freelancer, allows the pilot to fly his/her ship using nothing but mouse and keyboard controls very effectivly (Surely to be a hit for laptop gamers). Users can also use a Joystick to command thier vehicles. The biggest drawback to the gameplay that I can see is that Ascaron Entertainment has declared that Darkstar One will have NO multiplayer capabilities. Being a single-player only experience will cause some to not buy the game, which is unfortunate. Ascaron has been somewhat skirt-tailing around the issue of modding as well. When asked “Will Darkstar One support mod-ability?” Ascaron answered “Yes and no. More details to follow in the future.”

Ascaron has however given Darkstar one a “do whatever you want” feel to the gameplay. You can litterally do anything you want in the game-piracy, smuggling, bounty hunting, mercinary work, legal merchant trading, or even unabridged bloodthirsty destruction of random ships you pass! Be forewarned however, all of your actions have consequences. Some governments have a centralized network that will make you hostile whenever you enter thier system if you are an important enough criminal to them. Most governments will hire bounty-hunters to come after you eventually if you anger them enough. As a bounty hunter you will be trading off being the hunter and hunted, since criminals obviously wont like you, you can bet they will send thier own after you.

One of my personal favorite features is the “Evolutionary” (litteraly) design of the ship. It litterally evolves into a better ship as you play through the game. This eliminates having to buy new ships, but limits the freedom of being able to fly more than just the “Darkstar One” prototype.

Stunning lighting and partical systems and great level of detail on the ships and stations.

Great ambient ship sounds and alarms.

Dissapointingly no multiplayer, but everything else is phenominal.

Although you have some specific missions you must complete to progress, the open-ended feel to the game makes it nice.

I would reccomend this game to anyone that likes Space simulation action-adventure games. Both hardcore and casual players alike.

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