Rebel Galaxy Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Rebel Galaxy. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
I had the greatest party the other night. Han Solo and Captain Starbuck were there and they were drinking with Captain Mal from Firefly. We all shared stories of dangerous missions and cargo runs in deep space and the creatures they've met along the way. Then I realized, they were just cardboard standees and I all of these stories weren't quite as real as I thought they were. This is essence, is what it feels like to play Double Damage In's Rebel Galaxy. It's got all the charm and style to invoke your favorite memories of the best space cowboys out there but it lacks the content and depth to create an identity all it's own. I still had fun with Rebel Galaxy but I felt like I was doing so despite myself and couldn't help but feeling like there was something missing.
The idea behind Rebel Galaxy is a simple one, pilot your hunk of junk spaceship throughout the galaxy to earn credits to beef up your ship and your reputation. You're free to play through the game's main story, which has you searching throughout the galaxy for your missing aunt (no, really) or go off on a completely different path and earn your own reputation as a smuggler, trader or bounty hunter. The main story is admittedly lacking and it's almost as if the game wants you to completely ignore it in favor of exploring it's open, procedurally generated world. In fact, even when I was trying to focus on the game's main story it never felt like it was the main focus of what I should be doing.
The fact that the galaxy is so densely populated with characters and distress beacons is a major reason why I never felt like I was making progress on the main story. The world of Rebel Galaxy is a large one and there's always a distress beacon to answer or an enemy faction looking for my head on a platter to defend myself against. The game is filled with different systems linked together by worm-hole type gates. Most of these systems look and behave similar to the last one so it's not like No Man's Sky where you'll be going through as a tourist but I still couldn't help but scratch the “what's behind the next gate” itch nearly every time.
You are free to play Rebel Galaxy in nearly any way that you want, but no way will earn you as many credits as simply blowing up other ships. The 2D space battles are satisfying enough to begin with but get even better once you're able to add more powerful weapons and defense systems to your ship. Every time I watched my opponent's ship blow up in a fiery display it was just as satisfying as the last time but the system is not without it's issues. It's always tough to tell just how much of a threat a ship poses until it's close enough to do major damage. There is a threat indicator in the game but it only tells you how much danger you're in, and not where's coming from. The game also doesn't do the greatest job letting you know how much damage you've taken since it's not displayed numerically it's always a gamble if you should stay in a fight or try to escape even though the game frequently gives you the option.
Be it mining for resources, assassinating targets or intercepting trade shipments, Rebel Galaxy does a great job giving you things to do and occupying your time. It was a lot of fun to see how my actions changed the direction of the entire galaxy. Intercepting cargo shipments drove up prices and demand for items, which meant that I was going to be paid even more for the items in said shipment. I did notice that it doesn't always have the same impact, which could be a more realistic approach but it was disappointing to go through a mission and see it only have a little bit of an impact. Similarly the game has characters give you tips on sellers and buyers who could impact your missions or are willing to pay more but it wasn't always true.
In all of the greatest Space Westerns, the main character and story are made better by the supporting cast around them. What would Star Wars be without Jabba or Firefly without the Reavers? Sadly, Rebel Galaxy lacks not only a big bad that you'll care about, but much personality in general. Faction leaders have talking head segments that are interesting enough to watch but theres a distinct lack of personality throughout the game. Most factions attack in the same matter despite their goals being different and you'll be hard pressed to understand or remember just why you're fighting half of the time. The same goes with nearly every character in the game, be it bounty hunter or bar tender, they all act like the one right before them. Rebel Galaxy may give you a lot of things to do but it doesn't give you a lot of reasons to do them.
Rebel Galaxy does it's best impersonation of the greatest science fiction stories ever told but it never feels like it goes far enough in creating it's own story or identity. It's filled with stuff to do and you're bound to have a lot of fun with the space battles in your customized ship though and Rebel Galaxy is more than worth the price of admission, especially if you're a fan of the source material it tries so hard to emulate.
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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