This review could start with an introduction to video games with toys included. Remember how disastrous was Disney Infinity, Activision has discontinued the annual part of the Skylanders because of the lack of interest from the audience. But in Russia and the CIS to talk about it makes no sense — Ubisoft does not plan to officially sell in our region toys for Starlink. Perhaps this is for the best — customers do not have to spend money on these dust collectors, with which the company is frankly late.
Small big world
Where it is more appropriate to compare Starlink with No Man’s Sky, which she recalls from the first minutes. Only instead of hundreds of thousands of millions of star systems here are only seven planets. Nothing seems procedurally generated, and all locations differ from each other in flora and fauna. So when you land on land you see cute and pretty creatures, not strange and creepy creatures that the system somehow sculpted from parts of the bodies of different animals.
Unlike No Man’s Sky, where you’re just thrown out on a random planet and offered to have fun on your own, Starlink has a full-fledged linear story. Originality and quality it is no different: when the star system is called “Atlas”, a team of good guys — “Alliance”, and a group of enemies — “Forgotten Legion”, there is a feeling that the imagination of the writers have serious problems. And then nothing changes, everything is as banal and clichéed as possible: the captain of the ship is kidnapped, we as one of his assistants go with the team to gather an army, and then comes the happy end. But the videos are beautiful-like watching an animated series.
The screen holds only the gameplay-something good, and in some ways leaving much to be desired. Once in the open space, you can fly freely in any direction, and then without any loading screens to land on any of the available planets. It should be noted at once that the pilot does not leave the ship under any circumstances: the study of planets, communication with other forms of life and the collection of resources occur exclusively during flights. And it’s convenient — there’s no need to run to your vehicle after a long flight.
Each planet is a large region with traditional Ubisoft content for many games. Then someone’s base needs to be protected, it is necessary to extract encrypted data, fighting off enemies in parallel. By and large, everywhere all the same, this problem is observed in the story missions. Fly there, defeat that, carry that, pay for it-orders are monotonous and routine. Soon after the start, the player will be allowed to build on the site of the destroyed hives “Legion” facilities: in the presence of the Observatory will disappear “fog of war” on the map of the planet, and the weapons warehouse will protect the place from attack enemies — they can try to recapture the territory until you are near.
But the game is still fun for several reasons. First, Starlink is very stylish-in some places it resembles No Man’s Sky, but you can see that all these bases, huge trees and outposts with scurrying robots are drawn and arranged with taste by hand, not randomly. When the player frees the area from the” Legion”, it is completely transformed, and the atmosphere becomes more cheerful. Creatures try to stay in groups and often stroll near the water. And what wonderful plants here sometimes come across!
Secondly, the combat system is done well, and even though it tried to tie the stupid toys. Your ship has two guns-it is assumed that you attach two pieces of plastic to the gamepad and, if necessary, change them to others, but you can play without it. The pause menu to change weapons, it can be done directly during the battle. By pressing L2 you activate the left gun, pressing R2 — right. After some time they overheat, but cool down quickly. The ship also has a supply of energy, which is spent either on acceleration or activation of the shield, not just to save my boat from the hail of enemy shells.
The system with switching guns is interesting in that it can be used to combine different elements and achieve a variety of results in battles with opponents. There are ice-covered monsters that can’t hurt the ice the same gun, but the fiery projectiles inflict significant damage. If someone still manages to freeze, then you can throw missiles at him. There is a gun that creates a large purple field, sucked into himself and the player’s ship, and all the monsters standing nearby. And this field is allowed to “mix” with fire or cold to cause damage to several enemies.
Management is very convenient: the ship responds quickly to pressing, and shooting does not bother. Over time, you will earn experience for both the ship and for each individual gun, so you will be able to install modifications — without a small RPG-component here could not do. These mods fall out at every step, they are handed over for every minor action: whether you have cleaned up the base, whether you have completed a side task, even just opened a accidentally found box. Some modifications increase the rate of fire, some speed up the recovery of the shield or faster cool weapons. All of them are divided into several categories, and mods with the same degree of rarity can be combined to create more powerful variations.
Types of enemies are not so much, but the meeting with each new enemy becomes an event. After reading what your opponent’s weakness, you put the appropriate gun, choose the appropriate modifications, fight with the surrounding trifle, and then switch to the main goal: jump up, do “barrels”, hiding to restore the shield — it’s always fun. Particularly good battle with Primary — special creatures of large size, fighting which are generally divided into several stages.
And most importantly-the game has space battles! During the flight from one planet to another, you can not only crash into a couple of asteroids, but also stumble upon traps — walls with several holes. If you successfully fly through, nothing will happen, but caught in the network waiting for a meeting with space pirates, half a dozen of which instantly try to destroy a lonely ship. But with two guns to defeat these crooks easily. The same pirates, by the way, terrorize the inhabitants of the whole system: destroying their ships, you will know the location of the refuge of interplanetary filibusters, which is supposed to sweep the reward.
But at some point you have to go back to the story and do the dreary tasks. If you think that the last Assassin’s Creed forced to deal with “side effects” too often, here with it all the trouble. In Starlink secondary quests are generated randomly — you just click on one of the buttons on the controller and listen to how someone needs to bring something from somewhere. At some point, I was asked to find five materials that are used not only for the construction of buildings, but also to buy new skills. If it had been warned in advance, I wouldn’t have had to travel all over the planet looking for bases to be liberated.
In addition, the level of story missions does not always correspond to the level of the character. This is never stated, but it is advisable to explore and free from “Legion” and pirates everything that comes his way. Otherwise, you will arrive at the next job unprepared, and your ship will be instantly blown to pieces. A few hours later, when I was level 10, I came to the dreadnought (the so-called ships “Legion”, which become weaker after the murder of the Primes) and the plot had to destroy it, but I have met the enemy ships are level 15. Survive in such a situation is almost impossible, and after death, I was reborn so far that to return and try again was too lazy — it is better to go to train “on cats”.
In many ways, your impressions of Starlink will depend on how you feel about games with a beautiful open world, where the process becomes monotonous quite quickly. Yes, to fight with the enemies and switch between different guns do not get bored even after a dozen hours, and fly over the surface of the planet, scan funny animals and look for quality modifications for your ship is very exciting, but the plot is sure to disappoint, the main task is also not impressive. Starlink can be considered a good “time killer” , where instead of listening to stupid dialogues is better to turn on the music and just travel through the star system, not caring about the collection of resources and acid rain, as in the other similar game