Okay, can I just say?
I spent the evening playing The Long Journey Home, and.......
I hate it with a burning passion.
They have an excellent game under there, somehow buried underneath MILES AND MILES of the absolute worst, shit design decisions I've ever seen. Ever.
Every MOMENT where you think you might actually enjoy the next five minutes, they make it a point to slap you down with terrible systems, awful menus, insane controls and a general lack of respect for the players time.
There is not one SCRAP of salvage to keep that game afloat.
And I just couldn't help but think -
If they would have JUST MADE IT CONTROL LIKE STAR CONTROL, I would have had a blast.
If they would JUST MAKE the controls normal!!! Instead of the utter detritus they decided to include, it'd be a favorite.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun described it as a mashup of FTL and Star Control, which obviously got my juices flowing....
And in a lot of ways? It is!
Randomized like FTL but the same breakup as starcon2
But the biggest lesson? DONT FUCKING CHANGE STUFF THAT'S NOT BROKEN. God, I'm so mad!!
So, solar system view?
You don't see your ship, you just see an arrow. But they don't even let you fly around like normal - you guide your arrow's trajectory rather than actually piloting the ship. Maybe that's like real space, but guess what? I don't care. I don't WANT to guide trajectories. I just want to fly, and I want to control the ship directly. This trajectory nonsense, and the way they make your trajectory interact with spatial bodies and gravity wells is the LEAST fun I've practically ever had flying around a solar system.
Not to mention it takes an AGE to do something like turn around, because you can just flip it and gun it in the other direction... Instead you have to guide your trajectory so it looks back around in front of you, and it's so incredibly boring and frustrating they almost lost me on that screen.
Just let me fly.
Just let me fly where I damn well please.
Then, you get to the encounter screen? And they switch up the controls completely. It's no longer trajectory based, but a very slow-turning top down view of your ship. But do they let you just turn in the direction you feel like turning?!?!
They make it this iceberg-slow sort of broadside ship control, where you aim the mouse or control stick in the direction you want your ship to turn, and it will eventually get there, aiming in the direction you're pointing at, but like I said... Icebergs move quicker. And the momentum of your ship is so heavy, and the zoom is so fallably CLOSE UP, you're slamming into asteroids that were off screen when you started and have since popped up in your path, while you're helpless to avoid them because you're still trying to turn around.
Again: I want to control my damned ship!
Not this debauchery.
And don't even get me started on the combat. It's broadside combat, which I loved in Rebel Galaxy, but hated ever since it ruined SPAZ 2.
And which, by the way, MAKES NO SENSE IN SPACE. This isn't the 1600's on the high seas and your ship's not made of wood and your artillery isn't limited to a cannon and you don't just have one plane of movement (the ocean in the 1600's).
God forbid in the vast emptiness of space, with infinite axes, someone attacks from "below" you or "above" you or diagonal from you!
We figured out a warp drive (sort of), but didn't figure out how to make a gun with free rotation that can hit attackers coming from the front of your ship!
Second to last, you finally land on a planet....... And I thought, good God at least they can't fuck this part up. Drive around the planet and slorp up resources! Fun!
Very very dead wrong.
It's basically Lunar Lander, which to me, was never fun for even one minute, with slightly improved graphics and much worsened controls.
You land in one or two spots on the planet and drill to get a resource or two.
Problem is - they send you barreling down to the planet surface at such a high speed that even if you gun the thrust as hard as you can from the first second, you still slam into the surface.
Who thought Lunar Lander was an amazing game??? Anyone?? Ever??
It's important to note:
I am not, and would never, complain about difficulty. Difficult games are fun.
But needlessly, idiotically difficult gameplay where everything is a chore for no other reason than poor design decisions is DECIDEDLY NOT FUN.
Lastly, the aliens you meet.
They're a hodgepodge of Earth stereotypes so far. And all humanoid with two arms and two legs, so far, sitting in earthlike chairs.
You have the knights and squires who want to fight for Honor.
You have the cowboy exploring-the-plains, relaxed, friendly guys.
There's just... Not a single new idea in the whole lot of em. So far.
And when you get into a conversation?
It's MORROWIND all over again! With a list of words and subcategories!
Ask > Self or Ask > Humans and they'll give you some canned dialogue about what they think of humans or give you info about themselves, just like the townspeople in Morrowind.
Ask > Gossip and they'll give you some random rumor.
I'm pissed off that they wasted my night.
I encourage everyone here to try it.
Including, and especially @Frogboy
And use steam's refund policy before two hours is up.
Because EVERY SINGLE SYSTEM IN THE GAME should be a lesson to leave Star Controls gameplay mechanics as untouched as possible.
They'd have a kick ass game had they just kept close to their obvious inspiration.
And Star Control IS their inspiration. Why? Because they choose a random seed to be your mission codename...
And the word they assigned me on my very first playthrough was: MELNORME
If that's not an obvious callout, I don't know what is...