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Empyrion Online – A tale of two and a half games

At first glance, Empyrion Online is designed for survivalists that are geared towards engineering. (Yes, that pun was intentional). You land on a planet with the basic materials to help you live through the first couple of hours. And then you explore and scavenge. A lot. You break up rocks, tear down buildings, pick plants, and kill what you can kill, all in the name of survival and making it through the night.

Once you’ve established a base of operations, it’s more survival. Drones will attack, animals will attack, some of the plants will even attack. You scour the planet for supplies and ingredients, until suddenly, you realize that you have a regular, self-sustaining base and a decent supply of weapons. That’s when the second game kicks in.

Each planet is populated by alien outposts and bases, and to get the really good weapons and loot, you have to take out those structures. First by destroying the outside guns, then by clearing out the structure – level by level. As with the planet, everything in the base is trying to kill you. Once you clean out a planet, it’s on to the next one.

The half game I mentioned? It’s the design portion. Empyrion Online relies on building bases, hovercraft, and flying ships, either from components (if you want to be creative), or from blueprints that other players have designed. Want a death star? X wing fighter? WWII bi-plane? No problem, just gather the necessary components, populate the factory, and presto. Instant base, ship, or craft. Or go crazy and design your own in the creative mode. (See some samples below)

How does this play out for multiplayer? Glad you asked – I think it’s one of the better games for casual last-minute game nights. The multiplayer system is persistent, and anyone in your faction can contribute to your base, use your supplies, and raid alien bases with you. Best of all, the server can be set to private, so no unwanted PvP if you so desire. Once the bases are established, it’s simply a matter of logging in, piling into one player’s craft, and storming the bases.

The folks at Eleon have done a great job of adding new content. They listen to the players and adjust accordingly. The game has matured nicely, and hasn’t really deviated from the original concept. While it’s not a game you would normally play for hours every day, it holds enough to have kept my interest for over 18 months – no small feat! This isn’t a tutorial – there are enough of those online. Just the opinion of one gamer that’s been around the block a few times. Let me know if you are interested in playing, or a tour.

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