I had the chance to have a demo of star citizen, so I thought I would regale you with my impressions of the game.
A demo is a good idea, because while you can register an account at https://robertsspaceindustries.com/, you cant actually download the game without buying a “pack”.
Very clever marketing has enabled Chris Roberts, the visionary who came up with the game, to crowd source over 100 million US Dollars in order to develop this game, which is touted as a living, breathing science fiction universe with unparalleled immersion. By getting people to buy into the vision and pre-purchase ships they have been able to get the game off the ground and it is quite amazing.
Once you do the initial 20GB download for the Alpha (they expect that once it goes beta it is going to be something like 100GB), you get to login and begin trying to figure out your way around the game.
The first thing I noticed was how beautiful the graphics are, and they are stunning. They are also resource hungry. Most games I can play on my set up in “high” (some even in movie mode), but this I ended up running in Low. I could get around in high settings but it was a bit jerky, which was ok while just wandering around but not usable when trying to do something like flying.
So you might notice the odd screenshot here is a little lower in quality, but they were taken while trying to do something requiring low settings, but even then, the graphics are still awesome. If you go to the webpage, what you see there is pretty much what you see in game.
So, you get a few options of things you can do, go to the Universe, electronic access, hangar, set options and exit. Universe gets you into the combat zones, only one of which is working. Electronic access is the packs you purchased, in this case there was 2 space flight combats (at least I think it was 2 flight), only one was working so I am not sure what the second was. Iwas unable to figure out what I was supposed to be doing in the few hours I had to play, so I gave up. I did have a bit of a run around the corridors and halls though, added some journal entries and got the odd task to do but I could never find where I was supposed to go to do them. I couldn’t find a map to tell me where I was or in what direction I should be heading. The area is huge and I got lost. I did at one point go out through an airlock into space and float about a bit.
The vista was amazing, with stars, suns, a big revolving disk, which I suspect is supposed to create gravity or something. Again, I didn’t really know, nor could I find out what I was supposed to be doing there so I quit out and decided that probably what I was missing was doing a demo. Yup, if all else fails, RTFM. Do you think I could find one though? No. By this point I am beginning to question my ability to game, and my sanity (mostly my sanity). So I retreated to the safety of my hangar, where I could at least look at the ships that had been bought (2 ships cost USD$550 – glad it wasn’t my money).
I decided to look once more at the electronic access section an where I found a demo on how to fly one of the ships. At this point I was about 45 mins to an hour into the tour, admittedly some of that time was spent googling for answers and setting graphics up and so forth.
I got into the hangar and was greeted by some helpful instructions and a gentleman with a blue arrow on his head. Woo hoo I thought, finally something I can do. So I engaged with him in some helpful conversation and entered a nearby ship, the view from which was stunning.
Amazing. Unfortunately it all went downhill from there. I was told to watch what the instructor did. It was about the third time through I realised he was in a ship behind me, and I had to left ALT, and look around to watch him. He then tells me that I need to do what he did, and that the blast doors would open automatically and let me leave.
Well. After about 30 mins and some irritated googling, I discovered how to decouple from the dock and move around. However, I didn’t seem to be able to get myself in the right spot to make the doors open. 1.5 hours later, I decided I had seen enough and quit.
Star Citizen is epic. I think it is going to be a huge time soak, and probably hugely expensive, in fact, I won’t be paying anything to play it. I think that because of its size and scope, you need to be able to get into it and have a play around, and decide whether you want to invest the time and money. At this stage, I’d say it’s not possible. The lack of guides and help throughout seem prohibitive as well. I know it is only alpha, but I believe that once you are taking money from people, these things should already be in place.
There are 2 different keyboard maps, one for non flight and one for flight, and they too are very complicated. The flight keyboard map uses nearly every single key including the number pad and ALT+ and CNTRL+ options. If you have the time to invest in learning everything, I think this game will be epic. If you don’t have a lot of time to get over that initial learning curve, then I think you will just be frustrated and wish you had not spent the money.