Empyrion – Galactic Survival – Review – What No Man’s Sky Should Have Been

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Empyrion – Galactic Survival
Eleon Game Studios

My gaming cohort and I looked out from the rooftop of our burgeoning, steel-framed base, and across the pristine blue of a nearby lake. We’d come a long way from crash landing our one-man escape pods onto the world of Akua. Akua was a temperate world, full of mountains and valleys and various bodies of water, with a breathable atmosphere and plenty of resources to mine. Unfortunately, it also had its share of belligerent local alien life forms, which we had to fend off in our early goings—but we’d survived.

We’d sought out and reaped as many natural resources as we could for our first major endeavor, other than building a base to protect ourselves. We turned and looked down at our carefully crafted spaceship, our first craft of any sort. It wasn’t pretty, with rough angular lines and an exposed generator and fuel tank, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was built for functionality, and that primary mission was to get us off of this rock and into space. Did we know that this first ship would be able to accomplish that goal? No. But, just as with any risky human undertaking, we were prepared to pay whatever price we had to.

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All that we had room for on our ship were two small cockpits. We jumped into them and prepared for launch. After powering up the ship, we reminded each other of any supplies that we may have overlooked. We had affixed our ship with a couple of cargo containers full of basic supplies, as well as a refrigeration unit stocked with foodstuffs, both of which were aft of the cockpits. We had also armed our “little baby” with a couple of gatling cannons, should we run into any hostile elements in our maiden voyage.

Three…two…one…we giggled like a couple of school girls as we blasted off, leaving the firm ground of Akua behind. In moments we were approaching the outer atmosphere and braced ourselves for the incoming impact of space—if there was to be an impact. Moments later we found out that there was none, just a new, expansive view of our new solar system, and the soft purr of our engines. We yelled out things like: “Yeah! We did it!” as well as a few choice expletives.

“Okay, where are we going?” my fellow intrepid astro-travelling companion asked after we had settled down a bit.

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“Uh…I don’t know, how about over there. Is that a planet?” I replied, after spying what looked like a small, nearby planetoid. I wouldn’t notice that we had a 3D map of the solar system until some time later. We aimed our little baby towards the stellar body and hit the thrusters. After some time, we descended into orbit and discovered that it was Akua’s moon. “Oh, here’s the map…yeah, it’s our moon. But look behind us.” To our rear we could see Akua enveloped in voluminous swirling clouds, and drifting around it was a loose ring of asteroids. It was truly a sight to behold.

Even though we’d only found our planet’s moon, that feat alone was incredible: The toiling away for hours while meticulously crafting our space ship, and then climbing into space, it was all well worth it in the end. But in reality it was actually a beginning and we knew that we had only scratched the game’s surface. Eleon Game Studios’ Empyrion – Galactic Survival is full of such moments and achievements. It’s a grand-scale space survival game that allows immense freedom within its vast sandbox environs.

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In Empyrion – Galactic Survival, Earth has been ravaged and used up like a wet food stamp, leaving the remaining lot of humanity’s survivors to take to the stars in a gigantic colony ship. Unfortunately, the ship malfunctioned and fell short of its original destination. Each player steps into the role of a survivor who has been jettisoned from the main colony ship in an small escape pod. From there, you get to choose between crash-landing on one of two planets: Akua, which has conditions comparable to the original Earth, or Omicron, which has a harsher, more dangerous environment. Each planet is completely procedurally generated.

From there, players can decide where they want to plant their starter colony, and then go to work collecting resources. This may seem similar to other games of its ilk, but Empyrion – Galactic Survival diverges from other survival games in its immense scale as well as the sheer amount of things that players have the freedom to do.

For instance, after we landed and collected our meager survival equipment, we plopped down our construction module and crafted a couple of motorbikes. Soon, we was off zig-zagging between herds of lumbering space elephants and dangerous man-eating plants. We began mining iron and magnesium in order to be able to craft weapons and ammunition, as well as to build up a base. While mining, a herd of non-aggressive aliens fell into our mineshaft and we drilled a path for them and their brood to escape out of. Much later, we’d erected a main base as well as an underground satellite base, just for back-up, and created clone chambers in each of them for respawn purposes. After much labor and sweat, we had two spaceships at our disposal. We’d taken both of them to alien worlds at the farthest reaches of known space. Simply put, Empyrion – Galactic Survival’s scale is simply unrivaled.

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Sure, you can journey off to sixty ga-zillion (or whatever) planets in No Man’s Sky, but they are all more or less the same, and you’ll never encounter another human soul in your travels. What’s the fun in that? In Empyrion – Galactic Survival, you can not only encounter other players, but can form alliances or treaties with them, wage war, or even trade goods. We’ve even had interplanetary wars where a group of factions on a neighboring planet went to war with ours. During that time, we experienced not only terrestrial warfare, but ship-to-ship combat as well. I was even able to shoot out an enemy’s generator one time, and his spaceship suddenly froze in space. He leapt out of his cockpit, apparently in a fit of panic, and I destroyed the remainder of his vessel, leaving him to drift in the cold vacuum of space, indefinitely.

Empyrion – Galactic Survival also has a very robust crafting system, more so than what I’ve seen in any other survival games to date. Luckily, in recent updates, the developers streamlined the crafting process so that now it’s much easier (it had been admittedly tedious) to manufacture items and equipment. The terrain is also completely deformable, so for instance when you start drilling a mine, you basically bore deep holes into the ground.

There are also a wide array of alien structures to explore on each planet, from crashed capital ships, to alien drone bases, to ancient mining complexes, and much more. Some of these places contain loot, while we found others to be devoid of anything valuable. Structures such as alien fortresses are heavily fortified and require advanced weaponry to take out, in order to plunder. Others are a walk in the park. The same thing goes with alien flora and fauna—some species are hostile while some are docile and will leave you alone. It’s up to you to discover which is which, and each planet has different sorts of both.

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Empyrion – Galactic Survival’s visual are excellent for its vast scale, and the developers are constantly improving them. Looking at the game’s graphics side-by-side from a year or so ago is like comparing night and day. Eleon Game Studios is also constantly updating the game, and has a very busy dev log indeed. They’re also very responsive to their burgeoning community, and take advice and suggestions very seriously.

In all, I’d say that if you were initially curious and then ultimately disappointed with No Man’s Sky, Empyrion – Galactic Survival might be exactly what you are looking for—a space survival game on a vast scale, lots of multiplayer and co-op opportunities, an overall friendly community, an expansive crafting systems, ship building systems and space travel, and all of the other trappings of survival games, but on a broader scale. In my opinion Empyrion – Galactic Survival is one of the most important games of this generation, so give it a try.

SCORE: 95%

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 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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