Game Review: The Long Journey Home
Those bastards put her in a cage and left. They asked and we delivered. I wanted, but could not decide otherwise. Helpless and alone with only a glimpse of hope my crew had landed in a hostile galaxy full of strange aliens. The Meorcl, who literally get in your head forcing your decisions, are only one of many aliens in The Long Journey Home.
The game is awesome. I had the opportunity to play it in the closed beta and here is what I think:
This game does not focus on a single super awesome mechanic slowly expanding it as you play. It is all about stories. The story of your crew members, of the aliens and yours. It is quite a challenge to keep your shit together and focus on the one long term goal: Getting home.
At the beginning you choose four crew members out of 10 and every one of them has unique interactions with their colleagues and the artifacts that you can find. The galaxy is generated with a seed you can define at the start and always contains four out of eight major alien races and some smaller alien races. You will find many many quests ranging from small errands to galaxy changing revelations. There is an incredible amount of content. After 50+ hours I had not yet seen all major alien races! Let alone the many quests, alien characters and crew member relations I still have not experienced.
It looks beautiful, has its own style, exceptional writing and an amazing soundtrack.
Oh and there are tons of cool pop-culture/game references to enjoy!
I don't want to describe too much of the gameplay here, because watching a let's play or stream for that is far better.
Basically there are five layers:
The galaxy map (chose your way through the galaxy),
the star system navigation (get to and orbit planets with as little fuel as possible),
the encounters (fight alien ships in space - kinda sid meiers pirates style),
the planets (lunar lander style)
and the conversations/visits (dialog system, which is not based on multiple choice)
All of them work very well within the theme of the game. Space is a dangerous place.
The navigation and landing may seem clunky at first, but they are really not. Once you get the hang of the physics you will soon orbit planets in no time and master most landing missions with minimal damage.
If you expect an easy play-through, because I said it is about stories, you're very wrong. It is really hard to get home to Earth. Your ship is slowly falling apart (nearly every jump damages a ship module) and your crew will suffer injuries. The developers did a great job to prevent instant death. Instead you will slowly get to the point where you can't continue your journey, and it is always because you made too many mistakes along the way.