At long last, the game that I have heavily written and fantasized about in the past is here … sort of. Over the holiday break, Robert Space Industries (RSI) finally released the alpha 3.0 version of their beloved child, “Star Citizen” on December 22.
The download for this update, at least for me, took nearly eight hours, but that may be more of a personal problem concerning wireless speeds.
With this new update comes many of the promises that RSI has made, along with many more in the future. This update, however, is not without its challenges that make me a bit sad.
Let’s start with the positives, shall we?
There are now four moons around the planet Crusader that can be fully explored in game. You can traverse the various terrain of each moon in your ships, ground vehicles or by using your legs to enjoy the sights and sounds of each environment. Be wary however. Along with these moons are dozens of outposts scattered around the surface. Some of these outposts are operated by the local government and others are controlled by more unsavory individuals. The new version offers 20 additional unique missions that vary between legal and illegal activity. Hundreds of random permutations keep each new and exciting.
Derelict ships, stations and outposts have now been scattered throughout space and the accompanying planetary bodies. These wrecks potentially hold items that a player can sell for a profit. Beware, these wrecks don’t always attract the most honest or kind treasure hunters.
More than 10 random encounters have been added and these can occur wherever players are. These encounters happen in different places depending on the whereabouts of the player and what they are doing.
Artificial people have been added to the game as well. They help make space stations, buildings and eventually ships appear more alive and with an actual buzz of activity helping the immersive experience.
The most exciting feature to me is the addition of new tech. You are now able to upgrade your star ships with new quantum jump drives, shields and weapons. The supply depot in the crusader station carries all sorts of different upgrades to help keep you and your trusty ship in “ship shape.”
Now, I did mention some challenges that players will have to ride out. That is, at least until the game’s current state changes.
“Star Citizen” is now unplayable for a vast number of players for the time being. When I booted it up for the first time, I was quite disappointed when the loading screen finally fell away to reveal a beautiful space station, but with a dismal two frames per second world. I entered the game, but sadly could not play it.
I do have hope, however, for the future of “Star Citizen” 3.0.
Robert Space Industries has promised continuous updates and patches to optimize and improve the game they have been working so hard on. Until the day comes where players including myself are not affected by these awful optimization issues, we will have to bide our time and slake our “Star Citizen” thirst by watching YouTube videos.