Rebel Galaxy Review

Rebel Galaxy, a swashbuckling space adventure, is the first game from Double Damage Games. Rebel Galaxy was created by two of the industry’s greatest veterans in the Action-RPG genre; Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer. This pair have a history or delivering iconic games such as Diablo, Diablo II, Fate, Torchlight and Torchlight II. Rebel Galaxy was released on the Xbox One 13th January, 2016 and is also available for the PlayStation 4 and on Steam (PC/Mac/Steam Play).

The PC platform has been graced by many space simulators and combat games over the years where as console owners could only look on with envy. It’s great to see more developers dipping their toes into the genre and recently I’ve been itching for something along the lines of Freelancer; Rebel Galaxy seems to tick all the boxes but how does it play?

Rebel Galaxy is a swashbuckling space adventure, with action-packed combat, exploration, discovery, trade, and “negotiation” with the outlandish denizens at the edge of the known universe.

As the commander of an immensely powerful star destroyer, you’ll battle pirates, explore anomalies, befriend aliens, scavenge battle wreckage, mine asteroids, and discover artifacts. Choose your path as a roguish do-gooder, crafty space-trader or power-hungry privateer – or maybe a little of each! Buy larger and more powerful craft with your hard-earned credits, and outfit them with a variety of wicked weapons and defenses. Set in a galaxy of fantastic sights, and secrets to be found, Rebel Galaxy is above all a space epic of adventure, exploration, and combat.

The edge of the universe is a pretty dangerous place, so watch your back.

The intro informs you that six days ago you received a cryptic message from the family black sheep, aunt Juno, who you haven’t had contact with in over a decade. The message provided you with access codes for the “Rasputin” spacecraft, a relic, and coordinates to Rust City. The message has a sense of urgency and the game starts you off just outside of docking range at Rust City.

The first few missions introduce you to the core game mechanics and some interesting characters who would like you to complete tasks in exchange for information about your aunt and the relic.

As you progress through the story you will learn more about your aunt, the nature of the relic, and an impending threat…

You of course have the option to ignore the story and start a lucrative freelance career in both legit and questionable enterprises such as mining, trading, piracy, bounty hunting, and more.

The galaxies and encounters are randomly generated, simulating a lively and colorful universe where there’s always something going on and always something to do.

When you’re not docked at a station you’ll pilot a huge capital ship with many customizable features such as weapons, armor, and components. Depending on your chosen weapon load-out and prejudice towards encounters, you’ll also have to restock ordnance and repair your ships damage. Once you’ve gathered enough money, you’ll also be able to upgrade to one of the larger, more expensive and capable ships from the ship yard. As the ships get larger, there’s generally a penalty to speed and maneuverability but are improved in every other aspect, enabling more broadside ports, turrets, secondary ports, component banks, increased hold size, and hull class.

While objects and other ships are capable of occupying space three-dimensionally, your ship is restricted and maneuvers on a two-dimensional plane – there’s no pitch or roll control.

The speed of your ship is controlled in stages of +/- 25% thrust. There’s an additional booster with a limited burn duration that recharges over time but for those longer journeys, you have warp speed that can only be interrupted by a stellar mass or hostile presence.

The battles can get quite hectic, with a whole array of different sized ships to contend with at once. To aid and improve your chances of victory, you’re able to independently assign A.I behavior to the turrets by selecting specific target acquisitions such as; any craft, targeted only, locked only, fighters only, capital only, and turrets only. You also have the option to set turrets to “manual only” if that’s more your style. Regardless of what you choose, you can aim down sights (ADS) for more accurate shots. There’s an emphasis on using broadside weapons to attack and destroy enemy ships as they do massive amounts of damage.

Almost everything you do effects your standing with various factions which offer benefits, but if your standing drops into the red, ships of that faction will become hostile towards you.

This is the game I’ve been waiting for! Rebel Galaxy is highly polished and beautifully rendered, I was impressed by the level of detail in every aspect of the game but I shouldn’t have expected any less from Double Damage Games. Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer have created not only a great addition to the genre but have also managed to scale down the complexities of large scale combat, making the game more accessible to a broader audience, while retaining the tension and fun.

There’s really only two possible negatives worth mentioning which are; the lack of a cockpit view where I would sit with my boots upon the dash, idly tapping away to the music during warps and the other being that the custom soundtrack feature wasn’t implemented on console versions. To be honest though, the soundtrack is part of the charm of Rebel Galaxy, the “southern rock” vibe helps it set and define the mood of the game. Having said that, there’s nothing stopping you from muting the music and banging out some select tunes on a separate device.

Rebel Galaxy is engaging and vast; if you fancy large scale battles at the helm of a capital sized ship then Rebel Galaxy is for you.

So whether you intend to play through the story or just freelance, whichever way your moral compass points, you’ll have a wicked good time.

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