Evochron Mercenary Review
5.2our score

It’s not often that a game completely disappoints, but unfortunately for me, Evochron Mercenary is such a game. I fondly remember spending hours upon hours playing Freelancer back in the day, and even though it is now a bit dated, it still looks great and plays even better. The story was great, the open ending was good, it was easy to understand and play and it’s still fun to play even today. When I was first introduced to Evochron I expected the same quality, if not better, but sadly I just didn’t get on with its overcomplicated HUD system or the massive amount hotkeys you need to remember. The controls were generally poor and not particularly intuitive.

To quote the official site:

“Trading commodities while sneaking past hostile forces, racing the best pilots in the area, mining for diamonds, negotiating for survival, spying for a curious energy company, cleaning dirty solar arrays, transporting an impatient passenger… and that’s just on a Monday. The life of an independent mercenary is rarely without excitement. At times, you may choose to work under contract, while at others, you may want to take matters into your own hands in a quest to build your reputation and fortune. Your spacecraft awaits. Your adventure begins in the Sapphire solar system.”

After reading that I was looking forward to the game; killing pirates, mining ore, making loads of money trading items… the usual space fare! The game describes itself as a “Freeform Space Combat / Trader and Exploration simulator”, so I thought I would give it a go and get stuck in.

First Run:

Evechron Mercenary - Keyboard Layout

Evochron Mercenary – Keyboard Layout

When I loaded the game for the first time, I noticed it looked a little dated, but I wasn’t expecting the best graphics. After all, the game wasn’t developed by a big international company. I created my account, logged in and started with the tutorial so I could get to grips with the game before doing some mining or killing pirates. The tutorial is spoken out to you in a good, clear voice with concise snippets of information, so it was nice and easy to listen to.

As I started to learn the basics of flight I thought, “This isn’t too bad – I can do this!” The, however, the tutorial started going into all the other things you either need to do or should know without much of a chance to get used to the basics. Some of the things covered in the tutorial are: pitch, thrusters, afterburners, autopilot, inertial dampener system, targeting, shields, weapons, sub systems, map, target information, warp, plotting courses, landing and taking off from surface stations, entering the atmosphere correctly, docking and undocking, inventory, 3 different types of HUD, crew and crew management, jobs, combat exercise… Phew! As you can imagine, I found this all very overwhelming for a first try and immediately forgot a lot of it once the tutorial had finished.

Some things were mentioned but not actually explained in detail, such as crew and crew management. It was mentioned that you need to look after your crew and pay them, but it never actually showed you how, nor what the consequences would be if you don’t. There was also not much of a mention of the professions or the advantages and disadvantages of going down a certain profession route – or even if there are NPCs to talk to about it. I did, however, like the idea of having to enter a planet’s atmosphere at a certain speed and trajectory so as not to blow up your ship on entry.

Evechron Mercenary - Planet Landing

Evochron Mercenary – Planet Landing

Graphics and UI:

As mentioned earlier, I was not expecting top notch DirectX 11 graphics, but the graphics are actually nice. I like the feel of them: space looks like space, planets look very much like planets and it all fits in very nicely. What I was not keen on was the cockpit view; it actually limited my view of space. I know this is a simulator and a real pilot would be able to only see what I can see from the cockpit, but some other camera angles would have been nice. There may be some, but I didn’t easily find any apart from the cinematic view. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as far as blowing anything up, so I’m not sure what the effects for that are like. I did manage to re-enter and exit a planet’s atmosphere and that was definitely visually pleasing, as well as being fun.

Controls:

As seen from the keyboard layout above, there are a lot of controls to remember in this game. I felt some of the keys could have been truncated or replaced by a better method. The speed, for instance, goes from 10% – 100%, with keys 1-0 increasing the speed by 10% per key. Then you have Speed Down and Speed Up, on the – and = keys, respectively. I would have been quite happy sticking with the Speed Up and Speed Down and replacing the 1-0 keys with more useful hotkeys. Granted, there is a key for almost everything in the game, so if you have a good memory you get shortcuts for almost everything but personally I found it a bit much, especially as it creates a very steep learning curve. It reminded me of years ago when I was first playing games and I would print out the keymap and have it stuck to the wall next to me, or have it pinned in front of my keyboard so I could easily reference it.

Gameplay:

I feel that this section will void the whole point of a review, as I didn’t explore much of the actual gameplay, as I simply couldn’t get on with the controls or limited information available to me for long enough to get anything done. I did manage the following:

  • Plotting a few courses on the map and playing with the jump drive.
  • Entering a planet’s atmosphere and docking with a base on the surface.
  • Docking with a station by following a flight pattern and going through the station’s shields.

The docking procedure was enjoyable but once I was in the station I had no idea what to do.  Other than those things, I was not sure of what else to do or where to go, and I could not find any sort of global chat system or help channel to find out.

Evechron Mercenary - Cockpit View

Evochron Mercenary – Cockpit View

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, this is going to be the first game I will give a bad review. Don’t get me wrong, I love these types of games, and sci-fi in general, but I just felt this game was too complicated to pick up and play. It really requires too much long term playing and dedication to get to grips with even the basics. I also felt that the lack of global chat and help channel was a big turn off. Maybe I am just spoiled by all the other online games I have played, but it is normally easy to ask people for help and advice when you first start and more often than not there is always someone in the chat willing to help you out and give you points, so this was really missing in this game.

The price tag on Evochron Mercenary is $29.95 and all major cards are accepted through a 3rd party vendor, or Paypal direct on the site. I personally don’t feel the game is worth $29.95 – I’d have expected a price tag more around the $12.95 mark. I hope improvements are made and things are simplified a little as Evochron does have the potential to be a really good game – it is just not an easy game to pick up and play.

There seems to be a community there; although I barely saw anyone when I logged in and played, their forums have an impressive 32,000 posts in their main forum alone and another 10,000 posts in the General Discussion board. If one was willing to put in the time investment necessary to play Evochron Mercenary, they would surely find some help there, but it wasn’t helpful to me. All in all, the game could be much better and easier to play than it currently is, and only time will tell if it will be worth a second try or not.

the author

Author at ManaPool. Working in the IT industry but with a strong passion for gaming, Gary resides near Brighton, England. He has tactical superiority of RTS games but likes to dabble in turn-based to provide entertainment for the founder of Manapool Peter. Known for hopping from MMO to MMO Gary has a wide array of experience playing MMO's but is hard to impress after playing the likes of Ultima Online and Anarchy Online. Also known for bad typing and rambling.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    I’ve played this as well and I have to agree with LFFPicard. I wrote the review we posted on X3 and generally LOVE this genre but Evochron was a disappointment all-round. It has some brilliant ideas, but the execution is extremely unpolished and the control scheme is nothing short of irritating. (You will frequently enter hyperspace by pressing the wrong button when you are in the middle of a careful manoeuvre, which is extremely frustrating)

    The market (buying/selling items) is similarly frustrating. I ended up accidentally selling most of the weapons and components on my ship. Sorry but that shouldn’t even be possible, such an interface needs to be simple, easy to use and blatantly obvious. It’s all counter-intuitive and poorly designed in terms of UI and usability. If you expect something to work a certain way, it will almost surely work a different way in Evochron.

    There are simply far, far better choices on the market within this genre so I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone without first trying a demo extensively and knowing for absolutely sure that you are going to like it.

  • Fred

    all evechron titles are made by 1 person. what did you expect?

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    For a full retail price (and that’s being asked for the game) I think one is perfectly justified to expect more polish and a more intuitive interface. It’s all about setting expectations at an appropriate level.

    This game has a ton of potential if it undergoes some serious usability and polish treatment :)

  • JMP

    Wow. You must’ve put in like two hours on this game. Kind of harsh to review a game without even scratching the surface of it. Doesn’t even sound like you got past the initial learning curve. Not too impressed with this review.

  • Succellus

    Pathetic review.
    Expecting something as simple as a 10 year old game is sad.
    If you don t even have a joystick what are you expecting ? Of course its playable on keyboard but expecting so is sad.
    Also the game is made by one person….
    Full price? since when 30 bucks is full price ?
    I m really impressed on what the author is able to do. I think what he ask is normal. Of course if it goes with some big company he will have room for improvement.
    But lets face it, companies are actually only retardly looking at copy pasting EVE, insert brighter color and here we go same shit again, diferent package.
    For those that have enought willpower to learn it and enought money to invest in a joystick with throttle control (20 bucks) this game is very decent. Considering its indie, and that it try to not treat the player as a complete moron and insert a lot of recent tech (track ir, multiple USB controler, not keyboard 3rd person game, newton fisics, not present in any game i know so far) this game is awesome.
    It doesn t worth 60 or 50 (nor does COD shit as many other big publisher games) but really worth 30.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    @Succellus – actually 30 bucks is pretty darned expensive for an indie game that looks and feels so unpolished and has such a poor user interface. (I am not the reviewer but I have played the game as well)

    As a long-term X-fan (X3: Terran Conflict is in particularly worth comparing to this), I expected a LOT more from this game. The space stations are outright pathetic, both from a range of choice and visual point of view. We have several members in our team who could design a nicer looking space station within an hour.

    Your joystick comments are also null and void. If you HAVE to purchase a joystick to enjoy the game, it becomes even less appealing for the majority of gamers – as it increases the base costs of playing the game. X3 plays absolutely fine with keyboard/mouse, so there is no reason why Evochron wouldn’t be able to perform the same feat.

    Whether or not the game is enjoyable, is a different matter. That’s really down to personal preference. As it stands now, I feel a 6/10 for Audio and Graphics is even a little on the generous side.

  • JeffCorwin

    Agreed. The UI is nasty to the core! And then you must memorize about 72 key commands. Basically it’s like “ok, what am I supposed to do now?”. It’s definately Mickey Mouse next to X3.

    One developer? Get some friggin help and simplify the UI. Just WAY too messed up.

  • Gordon Freeman

    Personally, I would be embarrassed to post a review of a game that I had not actually played. This is the first time I’ve visited this website, and it will also certainly be the last.

    For future reference, you could probably save yourself even more time by doing reviews based solely upon your impressions of the game’s box-art.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    @Gordon – I tried the game again recently and I have to say I agree with LFFPicard (the author) – sorry but it’s just not as good as other games in the genre. Or even close to it.

  • diginess

    I just bought an account after trying out the tutorial for Evochron (and playing the tutorial a lot longer than a person normally would – basically ignoring the instructions and playing it as I would the game). So by the time I got into the game, I was more or less at ease with the controls. Here is what I think of the game:
    First off, I’d like to say that the way the ships handle, the ship customization features, and the overall way the engine works are pretty much what I’m looking for in a space game. The collision control feels a little non-realistic, as when you get close to a station, you kind of get bumped away, either by the station itself, or some kind of safety feature in your inertial flight control. I didn’t like that. Also, objects seem to have a collision area that is larger than they are by quite a bit. That could be toned up a little in the code, if it doesn’t affect performance too much.
    A lot of the controls are unnecessary, as in I don’t use them. For instance, I use my mouse for steering and firing both particle/lasers and missiles. I use A, S, W, D for strafing (up, down, left, right). I had to change some of the key config for that, but it makes more sense than the default. I left the main F keys in place: F1-F4, as they are the main function shortcuts you’ll use – in order – map, jump, trade, and ship-trade. For targetting I use R for nearest ship, and O/P for targetting hostiles.
    Other than that, there’s 1-0 for engine power setting (1 is low, 0 is full power) and backspace to shut the engine off. Then there’s B for tractor/mining beam, C for dropping countermeasure flares/chaff (whatever it is) to confuse missiles. Those are all the most important controls – you can ignore the others pretty much until you need to do something really specific and then you can look at the control config (like controlling a flight of wingmen or building stations).
    I find the nav screen to be a little non-intuitive – I’d like to be able to zoom in and out with the mouse slider, and you can zoom out that way, but when you zoom in it just goes to zoom in wherever your ship is. If it would zoom in on the cursor, or at least where you have your nav point set, it’d be a little more intuitive. The best you can do without that is right clicking on a section and it goes to the closest zoom on that, which is ok.
    It took me a little while to realize what all the symbols on the nav map meant – like battleships and some stations share the same symbol – a light blue colored object (battleships jump from place to place). Purple spots are jumpgates to another quadrant. You can zoom out with the mouse slider to see all the planets in the quadrant you are currently in, then right click and hover the mouse over it to see the name of any particular one. That’s pretty much it for nav map functionality that you need to know.
    Some of the design decisions seem a little arbitrary to me – while the controls seem to favor some complexity – you can’t target objects other than ships in game as the developers felt there was no need for it. Asteroids do show up with a box around them and distance in one of the hud modes (default one, I don’t change it, but you can with H). Because of this, when you use your tractor beam on salvage, it feels kind of wrong – the beam sort of hops around until it finds it as you get closer.
    Mining asteroids was fairly simple – you just have to be within about 120-150 meters or so (slow down as you approach or you will blow yourself up against the asteroid), then press B for the tractor beam. You can also buy a bunch of cargo bays and press ALT-B to leave the beam on, continually mining until they are full, then press ALT-B again to turn it off.
    One thing I noticed when I was first playing was that the cost of fuel was killing me. Some of the missions require a LOT of fuel – like destroying the 20 asteroids around a station. After completing the mission, refueling basically took the entire reward for the mission. I wouldn’t want the cost of fuel removed, and I think that the way the change in direction takes fuel is done perfectly. Maybe the reward for that mission should be adjusted higher from 20k to 30 or 40k.
    The dogfights in the game are definitely very dangerous, and you shouldn’t attempt them (you can try and die a lot) until you upgrade your shields and weapons a bit. I still can’t complete a full blown combat mission where you take on 3-4 enemy craft at once, but with my current upgrades on my Talon (which is as far as I can go with that frame), I can comfortably take down 1-2 ships at once with little risk. I’ll normally use a class 3 missile on the enemy craft, then close in and use particle and laser weapons. During that time, I have to watch carefullly for incoming missiles as I close to 1.5k, and when I get the warning, I’ll jerk to the side 90 degrees, hit the afterburner, and drop countermeasures (C). After dropping each countermeasure I’ll jerk 90 degrees again and hit afterburner for a few seconds. That always works. If you get too close without letting the enemy craft fire missiles at you, it’s likely to fire one down your throat, and it’s game over and reload a save.
    I thought the planet atmosphere entry was really cool, but the surface of the planets could use some work, especially the cities. These consist of a few boxy buildings and a landing pad. On takeoff, I usually find myself starting to fall, so I probably need to hit full power (0) right away. I’ve pretty much stopped going down to planetside cities for now, as it takes so much fuel getting back out of the atmosphere (I think 50-60 fuel units out of my present tank of 400, when fuel costs about 75 per unit).
    So far, in game communication has been fairly easy – I tried the multiplayer, got on a server, and you hit enter to chat in global (typing). Voice chat works in the sector you are in by pressing the default numpad ‘.’ (I reconfigured it to pressing the mousepad slider down – mouse button 3). If you chat in global first, there’ll be a window that you can see to the left. Pressing alt will let you select with the mouse instead of steering the ship, and you can hover over the icon at the bottom of that window and change the mode to clan chat for voice once you join a clan.
    Something that surprised me is that station force fields don’t protect your ship from enemies at all. You can be destroyed sitting in them. A server admin told me the developers made that decision because they didn’t want people sitting in the stations too long. However, you can buy a station license for a particular station if you want the force field to protect you (it’s about 1.2 million credits) – a mining run if you have the max of 5 cargo bays and fill them up, ejecting any metal you pick up and concentrate on diamonds and platinum will net you about 150k credits and take about 5-10 minutes. You can expect about 1 ship engagement during that time (you can also use the asteroid for cover from the initial attack if you use strafe, forcing the enemy to waste a missile).
    I thought the way enemies spawn at random seemed a bit artificial. On the multiplayer server, it seemed like the server admin can set up special behavior for the enemies. For instance, if you’re near a station at the server I logged into, reds pretty much immediately start to congregate, giving you about 2 minutes of safe station trading time. It seems to me that if stations were under constant threat of actual enemies of an empire that close to the home quadrant, they’d have turrets and patrols actively engaging the invasion. Player vs player, or faction vs player combat near a station without interference is a little more believable – but for a faction to be red should take a bit of effort on the player’s part (ie piracy, etc). Games normally have a progression of risk as you go outward – that feels more realistic. Either that, or galaxies/quadrants could be intersperced with different political environments which leads to different security situations. As it is, the Evochron universe seems a bit squashed. I like how the jumpgates are spaced apart with a limited number per quadrant and you’re not limited to areas around just the planets, stations, and gates like in Eve (a major stumbling block of that game). However, the universe could be a lot bigger. If some of it was randomly generated per player and just saved to that person’s hard disk when playing single player, it’d make the universe feel much more unconstrained and boxed in.
    Overall, I really like the game’s atmosphere and engine mechanics. I think that the detail level of the universe as far as types of objects and ability to create what you trade could go up quite a bit. That would attract the crafter types of gamers, which tend to stick with a game a long time. A little work on the nav interface and collision detection/inertial interference around stations, and game universe would help.
    The game was worth the $30 paid for it.

  • diginess

    Oh, for the guys that are saying the control scheme is irritating, that’s not even a valid complaint – all keys are customizable, just like the X3 series. You can see some of the customization I did on my controls above in my review. Also, the review I did is about what I’d expect/be looking for from a serious review of a game. It tells me things that were noticed, quarks of the game, general satisfaction level (after actually getting past the learning curve – if you can’t do that, don’t review the game).

  • Empire

    I logged many hours in this game and played both SP and MP.

    Gameplay is pretty fun in SP, trading, fighting, change system reputation, mining, I done it all with succes.
    Combat is easy once you know the AI’s limitations and I can beat many many foes by myself without any problems what so ever.
    One of the features I find impressive is the civil shipyard where you can build, modify and shape your ship to your personal desire, I spend several hours in the shipyard tinkering with the frames and sliders and have created some beautiful ships if I might be so bold.

    However the fundimental problem with this game is MP.

    First of all there is only 1 available server but this is not the big issue since the online community is tiny, about 12 – 16 core players with several new players joining but pretty much all of them leave within a few weeks due to the limitations MP force on the players.

    In MP there is very little free sandbox style for new independant pilots due to clan activities.
    One would think that clans bring interesting scenario’s but they don’t, all the clans are friends to each other, no struggle, no wars, no nothing, all they do is maintain their controlled systems and stuff em full of stations while running contracts to maintain system control and get paid for it.
    This is the core problem because ALL known systems are claimed by the clans and many systems adjacent to the known systems as well.
    They then stuff all of em full of stations until the maximum station cap is reached.
    This means that independant pilots cannot build anything for themselves, unless they wander off into unkown territory far far away from the “action” and warpgates where all these clans opperate.
    So the only choice for new players in MP is either join a clan and work to maintain system control or take a walk about into the boonies and play the game by yourself with the only link to the other players is the chatbox.
    This is pretty much the same as playing SP and have chatbox open to chat with your friends at the same time.
    So MP get’s repetitive and boring very rapidly since you cannot enjoy everything the game has to offer and that’s why the MP community is so tiny, just a bunch of people who enjoy doing the same thing over and over to maintain their systems and chat a bit with other clans who are doing the same thing.
    Some attempt to spice up the MP and have some clan wars have failed on an epic scale and this resulted into more players leaving MP behind them and moved on to other games or SP mode.

    The server opperator, the game creator and the tiny core community are unwilling to help in making MP interesting, this is the reason I quit playing MP and moved back to SP while I am on the lookout for a more interesting game to migrate towards.

    All in all I do enjoy the game, the combat is entertaining enough if you seek out new challenges to better your skills and building some trade networks to make large amounts of credits by upgrading systems with substation to enlarge the economy is fun.
    Although there are some weird flaws in the economy system, at least online where you can make millions within minutes by ferrying weapons from a default station to a player station in the same system that is just a few sectors away, this seems a bit odd to me.

    From my point of view you should at least travel to other systems to make a profit out of weapons or commodities but this is a bit broken in MP.

  • BlueWolf

    Well … I’ve Freelanced my head off and decided to look for an upgrade…found this… downloaded the demo and was undecided… the learning curve was pretty steep and I’d only just managed to find a planet and blow up during re-entry. I decided to bite the bullet and pay the $30 for the full game (pretty cheap really when many new games are $50-$100 retail)….spent a whole lot more time with the learning curve…still having trouble working out the nav map…bloody brilliant game…seriously it takes a while to learn a whole new universe…I give it at least 8.5 out of 10 (could be more intutitive and have difficulty settings)…graphics are great and gameplay is also great … the catch is you have to put in a little time and effort which most people seem incapable of in the ‘instant grat 21st C”….buy it…play it…learn it and it’s more than worth it!!!

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    Did it get an upgrade recently? The graphics were pretty terrible when I played it. Especially the space stations, they reminded me of objects first encountered in the fps Terminal Velocity, which isn’t a compliment.

  • Milk

    Personally this is my favorite game in the genre i played since Freelancer. I never could get into the X games, (which i find soulless and which have a seriously boring way of laying out systems), and even less into Darkstar one and Spaceforce: Rogue universe (even more soulless).

    The fact that you can fly in this game without ever going through a warp gate is amazing. Like people pointed out, your revew is lame and frankly, if you can’t log more than two or three hours in a game, you’re not allowed to write a review. It’s like watching 30 mins of a film and reviewing it. It was also pointed out that anyone who has problems with the interface, you can reconfigure th ehwole of it, and ti’s not like it’s an hidden option either! Didn’t you try the main menu, or just pressing escape during the game? It’s right there. Configure controls…. Honestly i’d read a lot about how this game was complex and intimidating and I thought i’d struggle to learn but i don’t know what peple are complaining about, it might not be as simple as freelancer but it IS pretty damn simple to figure out. Where there’s more depth is the combat which requires you to learn a few tricks and also to manage your shields vs weapons power efficiently. Still, i would hardly call this game not user friendly. Maybe only for those who have never played any space sim, other than that, I find this game rather intuitive. I play with a gamepad (xbox 360) and keyboard and after first configuring the controls i’ve had no trouble and I don’t even consider myself a particularly seasoned space sim veteran. (I have been playing some since Wing COmmander but the only games of the genre i’ve ever spent serious time on were the first two WC, Wing Commander Privateer, X-wing and Freelancer…)

    I WILL say though that…i think the lone person making the game, while he deserves credit for actually knowing with is needed in a good freeform space sim, could bear to have some collaborators. Maybe a better texturer for one… I mean, i can understand wanting to have control over every aspect but i think enlarging his team to maybe 3 or 4 people could help the final product….

  • josemaloco

    I´m with Gordon Freeman.

    I was searching for info on this game, without actually being able to play yet. And here all I could read is that the game steep learning curve throw you back so you wouldn´t play much more.

    Why are you giving a full rating then? It just doesn´t make sense.

  • RedRover

    Why would you review a game that you barely went past the tutorial in? Reviews by the commentators are way better than this guys review.

  • weez

    an honest comparison wouldn’t be x3, but you could compare this game to Privateer released under the Wingcommander franchise 20 years ago on 3.5 inch floppy… I’d still rather fly around shooting bowling balls at pirates than suffer through another missile spam encounter of this game.

  • Andrew

    @weez, sorry but this isn’t 1980 anymore. It’s competition isn’t Privateer, its competition is X3, and its getting a sound beating by the looks of it.

    OK the Newtonian Physics sounds great, the graphics have been updated and reentry sounds really cool, but the corps system sounds like a proven idea from EVE but just doesn’t work in MP as the really committed community is too small and fuel costs really make the thought of fighting a big corp financially impossible when they have station control over all sectors, but if they wanted to hit realism on the head, how is it your inertia system can push away stations but not missiles?

    An honest comparison would be X3, or EVE, becasue this game was made in 2011, not 1993 and 18 years is a hell of a long time to not make any decent advancements within a game… other than the obvious 3D arena.

    To be frank, I’m waiting for Infinity: Quest for Earth and X4. This looks a little like Infinity, but the tech demos already have better controls.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    X: Rebirth looks pretty promising.

  • md

    Ridiculous, i gave it a nine and it saved it as a 3! Great game, and no not any child can pick it up and play it………… bah!

  • Galdis

    The fact that you, a “video game reviewer”, could not learn the controls or put the time in to play the tutorials is more telling about you than the game.

    You should be ashamed of such an awful review.

  • http://www.chaos8.com danskmacabre

    I must say I was very disappointed with this review. You went to all the trouble of writing it and then never really played it and said yourself the worth of the review is voided as you gave up.

    If I were you, once I realised I couldn’t be bothered actually playing it a bit I would have not bothered reviewing it.

  • Milk

    @ Andrew

    Except Infinity will never happen. At least I don’t believe in it. I’ve been following this “game”/vaporware for like 5 years and I’ve kinda lost hope, it IS too bad cause the tech demos make me salivate.

    As i mentioned, personally i tried the X games and couldn’t get into it at all. I hated the way systems were set up for one. I could never get immersed, could never get a sense of the huge vast loneliness of space. I have to say i’m more interested in being a pilot than building an empire. I don’t think it’s even necessarily fair to compare these games though because their ultimate goal isn’t the same.

    And comparing it to privateer is silly if only because Freelancer is basically the unofficial sequel to Privateer (same game designer, Chris Roberts, though he left before FL was finished), so it should be compared to Freelancer if nothing else. To me, Freelancer is the standard. Or was anyway. I’m not sure anymore between it and EM. Freelancer does things that i wish EM did, but the opposite is also true. The perfect space game is probably somewhere between FL, EM and the X series. I found FL most immersive, EM the best in terms of control and combat, and X, well, has the best realisation and also strategy game elements for people who are interested in this sort of thing (which i am not really that much but i suppose it’ always good to have that option)

    Oh and just to be anal, Privateer is 1993, not the 80′s.

  • Maarschalk

    This Review is bogus and totally unfair and biased. I’m very upset and angry at the reviewer! Yes, you have the right to your opinion but to base it on 2-3 hours of game play is absurd! Does the reviewer really expect to jump in a complicated spacecraft and expect to do and know everything in 2 to 3 hours while ignoring the manual and instructions?
    While it takes an Astronaut or a Pilot years to decades to become one? This is a Space Simulation Game bordering on the realistic physics side and with a good balance of learning curve and discovery of how things work! You need training and instructions like any good Flight SimuIator! For example you would not be able to fly an F-16 like in the Falcon Allied Force realistic Flight Simulator without reading the instructions and doing the training! I have been playing these games for 3 years and still discover new things!….I give this game Evochron Mercenary 10 stars over and beyond that of 5!

  • deMangler

    Luckily I read this review after buying the game. It doesn’t take much to put me off spending what little money I have and I would have missed out on this great game.
    I am a veteran of Space Sims, I bought the original Elite for the BBC and have tried almost every one since. Of course they have all been disappointing to some degree, and all for different reasons.
    If I had to say Evochron Mercenary disappoints in any way at all, it would be in simply still not being the perfect space sim I want. But it does come the closest yet. Closer than Eve, X3, Frontier, Privateer, Vega-Strike, Orbiter-sim, erm… memory fails me…
    It is almost perfect.
    Certainly worth the time taken to learn it and the money spent on buying it.
    From what I have read on the forums, the specific little details that interfere with it’s perfection for me are also on the to-do list for updates, like more convincing living world stuff (economy, other NPC ship activity) and the scaling of planets being noticeably small and not orbiting. But this is just really nit-picky stuff, personal to me, to be honest, the existing gameplay is so enjoyable and immersive it almost makes up for it.
    There is nothing at all wrong with the game as it stands, and this review, as another poster pointed out. Is Bogus.

    tl;dr – This review is NOT actually worth the electricity it takes to display the pixels.

  • Mr Q

    I downloaded the game for the 90 Min demo, fist looks:

    Nice GUI!
    Nice controls Q,W,E,A,S,D Duh!
    And the size of it all, wow! i mean it takes like 20 min to go to a planet you can see, i never seen this before.
    Tweaks in the controlls setting and done! game works great. Keyboard and mouse.
    did sale my first stuff :( but after a look in the controlls setting i found the controlls for the items i got :)

    Still 30 min left on the demo, but
    Overal tutorial is verry nice miss that in most games.
    GUI nice!
    Toke me some time to learn the controls but happy i can work with them now, ready miss then if i don’t got them.
    Great planets enz., the way the gravity works is Ready cool, still crashed my ship first try :P

    overal for demo I rate is a 8,6!

    not 10.0::
    No mouse tips in gui’s
    not in depth tutorial about the small thinks.
    not mp demo :(
    still got some issues with sound.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong with this revieuw of the game.

  • Christopher

    - I’ve been playing games for over 20 years. Sims are not my thing, but Freelancer rocked so much, I wanted to get the same feeling again.
    - I read about the game and was ready for a steep learning curve.
    - I spent 2,5 hours reading the html manual, BEFORE launching the game for the first time .
    - I went through half of the tutorial, until I figured out that it was basically a copy/paste of the manual, with a voice over.
    - I finally thought I’d give it a go. So here goes:

    Flying around was not so tough, even had a bit of fun turning off the inertial damper a few times. No problems there.

    Finding out where to go though? Oh, My God! The game features the worst map interface I have ever seen in any game, ever!

    I thought I’d visit a space station to get my first mission. I knew that red rectangles coming at you as you approach are no good, but there was no clear indication as to where the green rectangles should be, so I cruised around until the color changed. Didn’t make much sense to me, but whatever.

    While in the station, I mistakenly sold some secondary equipment I had, because I happened to click on it… Once… Yes, I remember reading about it in the manual, but I didn’t believe it at the time. I mean, come on, single click selling? Who the hell would ever break such a basic user interface convention? Well, he did. And that was not the only one.

    The point of no return for me, was what happened after I got my first mission. There was a way point I was supposed to go to and retrieve an undisclosed item from ‘somewhere around that area’. Presumably, I would need to take it back to the same station. Unfortunately, I never got to discover what that item was. When I got to that nav point, all I could see around me was three ships. I opened the stupid map again, hoping I’d get some kind of clue. I thought I saw something interested there and stupidly jumped to that location. That was it. I lost my previous nav point and reading through the mission did not help me find it again.

    To the person who said that flying spaceships is not supposed to be easy: Playing games is not supposed to be this hard. It’s supposed to be fun.
    Sorry guys, I’m sure you like all the openness and stuff. As for myself, I’ll try to find and install Freelancer again.

  • Milk

    @ Christopher

    If you’d got nearer to the waypoint you’d have at some point noticed a pink thing in you radar which would have been the object you were tasked of finding. As for the waypoint disappearing, it hadn’t. There would have been a small square on the map where the missions nav point was. The one click sell is an annoyance though really you only make that mistake the first time, which i did too… (worse is the jettison cargo right below the news console but that’s going to be fixed). And yes the map is clunky and i would say the main weakness of the game. BUT the developper is working on a big expansion right now and the map will be completely overhauled, you should be able to grab and drag and such, so maybe try the game again after the expansion is out at least.

    Definitely i do not get why this game has a reputation for steep learning curve. it might take some time to be perfect at it but certainly there’s nothing after one session of a couple of hours that you won’t know how to do and pretty much evrything seemed intuitive to me (except maybe the map).

  • D3AthD3AL3R

    Evil Tactician Review is spot-on! Good game. Just takes too dam long to get into. o great game for someone who wants to spend 24-7 on. But i have to work! in REAL LIFE. don’t have the time nor patience to sit on a pc n play games all day like most of you by the sounds. Get off ya pcs n get a JOB!! u lazy lot. Evil Tactician= GOOD on reviews. each to their own. if you don’t like your tough shit. so STfu u dicks n get a JOB!

  • Andrew Ihegbu

    D3AthD3AL3R

    The paper round is not a job, and when you grow old enough to join the ranks of the mature you might earn as much as I do… or more likely not.

    Either way, see you on CoD with the rest of the 10 year old braindead-instant-gratification-needing-coddled-’special’ children.

    And that wonder why I’m 19 with 3 jobs and don’t like kids.

  • Spook

    Brilliant game when you get past the first uncomfortable 2-3 hours of learning how to do the basics but boy is it worth it. Reminds me of Elite 2 alot and for anyone with an attention span greater than a 12 year old it is well recommended. Bad review by the way. The least you could do is attempt to learn the game before slating it. Games like this are not pick up and play but should not be criticised just because of that. A little effort goes a long way.

  • Zim

    Firstly my friends and I are long time freelancer players so we were super excited upon picking this title up, learning curve ultimately means nothing to us so long as the game is good. Also I ran a dedicated server for MP. so far we have clocked about 20 hours together and have found all that we think the game has to offer
    Pros:
    -massive expanse of space drives your explorers nerve
    -combat and physics are excellent
    -Mining!
    -seamless atmospheric flight
    -runs well for the level of graphics
    -ability to build your own stations

    Cons:
    -the universe is empty, nothing ever happening
    -pitiful amount of ships to purchase
    -little or no end game or story to give reason for progression at all
    -too few components and recourses and no significant reason to do decent trade routes like in FL
    -virtually non existent information on the game
    -developer dropped what seems to be a half finished game and shows no sign of going anywhere with it
    -insufficient modding community

    Conclusion:
    We thought this game was the answer to our prays as we had exhausted our fully modded free lancer server and in the beginning it was, it had all the realism and difficulty we could have hoped for in a space combat simulator, the graphics were good not that that matters (minecraft) and partly because of the lack of information on the game there was an air of mystery surrounding it which really excited us, we pushed through the difficulties in the interface and gritted our teeth for hours until we were able to survive a dogfight, we mined and explored and we built stations and times were good, but where that should have been just the begging, its actually the end, sure there are hidden gates and the odd secret here and there but what is in these hidden systems, nothing useful so in the end theres no reason to explore and no reason to improve your ship because you will fight basically the same 4-5 ships for ever, do the same 4-5 mission types for ever and this gets boring in an empty universe very quick. The game has been patched to be bug free and smooth for many months and has had no development since, modders brought some visual upgrade (better textures, flaura on planets, planet rings etc) but nothing to fill the universe or give any reason for progression.

    now I never played SP so I cant say if its different but to be honest for me and my friends there no point playing anything but MP.

    Its half an awesome game but not all is lost all rejoice and check out star citizen and you wont worry about this game any more

  • Commandelicious

    When you are playing this without a joystick you are doing it wrong.
    When you are playing this without trackIR or facetrackNoIR you are doing it wrong too.

    Too complicated? It’s actually a bit hard to learn for the first one or two hours but then it becomes amazing, especially if you are a real fan of the genre and furthermore equipped.
    But yeah, the jump button is really not that great placed but then, I use my mouse and you can actually rebind the controls.