Empyrion – Galactic Survival
Eleon Game Studios
While the rest of the survival genre is pretty much on fire right now, with games such as Conan: Exiles, Ark – Survival Evolved, and Rust as popular as ever, science fiction survival games have been sorely lacking. 2016 saw a couple of attempts at space-based survival, with No Man’s Sky and Starbound being released, but the former was pretty much a farming simulator and the latter featured a wonky, side-scrolling perspective that had pixilated, retro graphics (not my cup of tea).
However, unbeknownst to many gamers out there, there has been a space survival game in existence since 2015 titled Empyrion – Galactic Survival, by indie development team Eleon Game Studios. The closest game that Empyrion could be compared to is No Man’s Sky (or at least what NMS initially promised).
Granted, as with many Early Access titles, Empyrion was pretty basic when it first debuted. There wasn’t much content beyond the first couple of planets which players began their adventures on. But since 2015, Eleon has been patching and updating their little space survival gem constantly, and you can really tell that they are fully dedicated to not only their game, but also the growing community of people who play and support it.
As in NMS, players begin each game with a few meager survival items and have to scavenge for resources. But whereas in NMS you are surrounded by procedurally generated creatures (and redundant ones at that), there are distinct species that you’ll encounter on Empyrion’s planets. You can still choose from one of two worlds to crash land on, each with totally different ecospheres—one being more Earth-like, and the other being a volcanic planet which contains a much more hostile environment.
After harvesting enough resources using your basic mining and cutting tools, you can locate some prime real estate for your first base and begin building it up. One of the things that I really enjoyed about base building in Empyrion is that not only are there handy (and robust) tutorials that explain all of the game’s building mechanics, but there is so much that you can customize that you’ll never get tired of the possibilities to be had.
There are PVE and PVP servers, as well as some which contain both PVE and PVP areas within the same server. In that regard, if you’re on a PVP server (or area) you really have to be careful of where you throw up your initial base. If you put it out in an area where it can be easily spotted by others, you may get raided early on and lose everything straight away. Therefore, it is recommended that you choose a more clandestine location to build your starter base. Those who burrow tunnels into the sides of hills or mountains, or deep into the ground, usually survive longer since their bases are much harder to discover.
Once you have your first base up and running you can either begin the construction of a land vehicle, or, if you’re really eager to get out into space, your very own starship. Although you can build large capital ships, you’ll most likely choose to build a smaller vessel since your resources will probably be on the skimpier side.
It should be noted, however, that with Empyrion’s most recent update (6.0), wandering AI spaceship patrols can and sometimes will attack you. By that I mean not only can they fire away at your starship while you’re traveling through space, but they can also send drones down from orbit and assault your land base as well.
Luckily, Empyrion features a good selection of base defense weapons such as rail guns and laser cannons, so you’re not entirely defenseless. What’s fun about these massive weapons is that you can remotely control them from a control center located within your base. If enemy players start attacking your base you can do so as well—just pop into your control center and begin blasting away at any incoming player-controlled ships.
Empyrion’s new update also added AI-controlled trading stations that orbit planets. Each of these stations have aliens wandering around within them who are usually non-hostile towards players. These stations add a lot to the game, as now you can simply purchase any resources that you’re lacking instead of having to travel to some distant world in order to harvest them. You can also step through portals within these bases which will teleport you down to their orbited planet’s surface. But be forewarned: Some of these places can be quite hostile and deadly.
There are different types of POI’s (Points of Interest) that you’ll come across on each planet or moon. One aspect I really enjoy about Empyrion’s various POI’s is that you get a real sense of exploration when you intitally encounter each one. For instance, one time some friends and I were exploring a moon, and since each planet and moon has a full day/night cycle, our location suddenly fell into darkness. We spied some lights off in the distance and decided to cautiously investigate them further. Once we got a little closer we disembarked from our ship and approached the lights on foot. Suddenly, lasers began shooting at us from the direction of the eerie lights so we quickly reversed our path and ran back to our trusty ship. After blasting off back into space we discussed what had happened and to this day still have no idea what those lights represented. Could they have been emitted from an AI or player-controlled base? Or perhaps it was a grounded alien vessel of some sort? The point being that there is a real sense of adventure, mystery, and discovery that Empyrion is capable of evoking.
Some AI-controlled bases can be assaulted, and after you breach them you can then fight the aliens within them using whatever handheld weapons you have. If you’re successful in your raid you can plunder whatever resources and items that are buried deep within their recesses. Some of these include rare items or weapons that are highly treasured, so you really have to scour each base thoroughly, lest you skip over something of high value.
Empyrion – Galactic Survival was already a great game, but with the latest update it has gotten even better. Many gamers are saying that Empyrion is everything that No Man’s Sky should have been, and I’ll be the first one to admit that I whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment.
Empyrion: Galactic Survival features graphics that are more than good enough to wow your friends with. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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