During our hands-on play with Jumpgate Evolution at Codemasters’ Gamers Day 2009, I thought to myself how much I enjoyed playing Colony Wars on the PlayStation. How simple it was to journey through space and engage in dog-fights (not the illegal kind) with enemy ships, the sense of achievement felt when completing a mission. A lot of that nostalgia came back to me when playing Jumpgate Evolution.
When we sat down with Jumpgate, we picked our pilot and chose from the one ship available to us. From then on we were offered missions to tackle, which were divided by rank. After picking our very first mission we approached Jumpgate in traditional MMO fashion, one hand on the WASD keys on the keyboard and the other hand on the mouse. Surprisingly, steering your ship was controlled entirely by the mouse and pressing the shift key to travel faster. Locking onto enemy ships is mapped to the left click on the mouse and shooting is mapped to the right. Once locked onto an enemy ship, you can easily aim with the mouse and gun down that bastard. It all happened really slowly since only a standard turret was available on our ship (a missile or two would’ve helped), but it was nonetheless satisfying to destroy other ships.
After gunning down six enemy ships, we advanced to rank 2. Most missions consisted of destroying enemy ships, but as simple as that sounds, it is probably the most intense aspect of the game. Dog-fights (take those illegal thoughts out of your mind!) are handled with ease. When an enemy speeds across the screen and out of your line of view, an arrow indicator appears to show you in what direction you should point your ship. Getting close enough and engaging is good fun, but gaining the experience to climb the ranks and get more access to better ships is incentive enough to keep accepting missions.
Unfortunately, our hands on was purely Player vs Environment as everyone around us was enjoying the game for themselves or just plain scared to face my ship. Jumpgate promises to deliver epic Player vs Player battles, but sadly we didn’t experience any of that. The prospect of teaming up with a guild to take down a huge star destroyer like ship has us gritting our teeth.
Feb 20, 2009