Rebel Galaxy Hands-on Preview – Because Deep Space Rogues Need Killin’

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Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer, previously co-founders of Runic Games (i.e. Torchlight and Torchlight 2), have founded another studio called Double Damage and their first endeavor, Rebel Galaxy, is in preview release on Steam. We worked our way through the first galaxy and are now ready to give you a peak into this open world space explorer.

As the commander of an immensely powerful space destroyer, you’ll battle pirates, explore anomalies, befriend aliens, scavenge battle wreckage, mine asteroids, and discover artifacts. Choose your path as a roguish do-gooder, crafty space-trader or power-hungry privateer – or maybe a little of each. Buy larger and more powerful sp[ace ships with your hard-earned credits, and outfit them with a variety of awesome weapons and defenses. Set in a galaxy of fantastic sights, and secrets to be found, Rebel Galaxy is above all a space epic of adventure, exploration, and combat.

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The game opens up as you travel through space in your recently acquired space ship, which your aunt left for you, called the Rasputin. While not much to look at, and clearly not a top-of-the-line vehicle, you must travel in it to a distant space station called Rust City to try and locate her. There you’ll meet up with an interesting character named Orzu who will help you locate here, if you’ll in turn do stuff for him. he’ll reward you with not just information, but other items which will make your ship more useful.

The game plays as an RPG like game, with side missions you’ll have to complete in order to earn credits, which you’ll then use to upgrade your ship, or maybe even buy a better one. Missions at this stage in the game are either ‘deliver X to this place’ or ‘find and defeat X at this place’. There are several space stations spread out through the galaxy and each station has its own set of missions available to you. You can also upgrade and repair your ship at each place, and going into any battles with the Rasputin as-is is not recommended. We would advise you to do as many delivery missions as possible since the ship is not a very good one and is in dire need of Hull and Weapons upgrades.

You'll need these upgrades

You’ll need these upgrades

As you travel from point A to point B through the galaxy you’ll encounter rogue bad guys that will attack you and try to take you out. Your ship has a warp drive, and traveling through space is pretty quick when it’s in use, but these pesky rogues will draw you out of warp and try to force you into a battle. We tried a few times to take these guys on with the beginner ship with no upgrades and found it was in our best interest to run away as best we could. Full speed was just fast enough to leave the rogues behind, and eventually you’ll be able to go back into warp.

The dialogue for the interactions was entertaining with a bit of humor thrown in reminiscent of how Hans Solo talked to folks in this movie series you may have heard of before. Hans was a bit of a trader/space pirate/mercenary and Rebel Galaxy gives you the chance to be one of the three, or maybe even a mix of the three. Each interactive conversation you’ll have gives you choices to direct a conversation in how you want to be perceived by the other party. You can be co-operative, pert, or just downright rude depending on which type of person you are aiming for. We tried a balanced approach, mixing it up as we went so as to be a middle-of-the-road type of character.

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When you are engaged in a space battle, the fighting is very similar to ship battles in Assassin’s Creed III and IV with two main types of weapons for your ship. You have your broadside cannons, which do more damage but are limited in their aiming, and your turret weapon which has better aim-ability but does less damage. Neither weapon is very effective at first, but they do get better with some much needed upgrades and can make the assassination missions a little easier once mastered.

Double Damage’s Rebel Galaxy is still in its preview build, but the game is definitely headed in the right direction. We are looking forward to seeing how this plays on the console, and how long the story will be in the end. From what we’ve seen and played so far, this game is shaping up to be a fun new IP in an area that’s always in need of new IPs.