Monday, June 13, 2011

Black Prophecy - Flash Impressions

Before I left for the weekend I signed up for the Black Prophecy open beta and downloaded the game.  I have to say I wasn't encouraged by the download, as it consisted of 5 separate files and some simple, if odd, instructions.  It's been a LONG time since I've downloaded a beta that didn't simply consist of an installer.  Still, it installed fine, and I was able to log in on my first try without any trouble.  I did not get to play that day though, as I needed to leave for the weekend.

Last night I finally managed to give the game a little time.  Not enough to really call it a "first impressions", more like a brief flash of gameplay that left a few pertinent memories.  Overall, I came out of my brief experience with relatively positive feelings.

First things first - I'd swear I read somewhere that this was a browser based game, and being a Gamigo published F2P that seemed reasonable (if unfortunate).  I'm happy to report that's just misinformation (or bad memory) on my part, as the game runs full screen from an executable like any normal game.  The graphics are pretty darn nice.  Not jaw-droppingly cutting edge, but very solid and appealing.  The characters you can create in avatar creation are reminiscent of what EVE recently added, though you have fewer options overall.

The gameplay is action-y space-sim fare, controlling acceleration with the WASD keys and direction with the mouse.  Targets are selected with "T", there is a lead indicator showing you where to shoot, and gunfire tends to be fast and furious.  The game has a nice feel to it -- if I had to pin it down I'd say there's a strong Freespace 2 influence.  It's definitely far more visceral than EVE Online which is a plus.  As much as I like EVE, the combat itself is terribly dull.

I went through the start of the Prologue, which was heavy on cut-scenes and light on gameplay, but you get your feet wet in the relatively safety of a turret on a colony ship, before shifting over to piloting a basic fighter. I think it's a smart way to do it because it lets the player sit in the middle of the action (the colony ship is under attack of course) and learn the basics of targeting and weapons fire without having to deal with movement or getting blown out of the sky.

My character is now sitting in a space station waiting to get some missions and figure out how the game works.  I still don't know much about the game, I don't know if you're always stuck in little fighters or if you can someday move up to something bigger (like EVE), but either way it seems like a fun diversion.  As a F2P, there's really no risk in trying it out.


  1. On the question of bigger ships: You will switch from your Sapiens ship to either a Tyi or a Genide ship when you finished the prologue. (Which at the same time is the tutorial. )

    Those ships are the "final" ship you get, although the question arises: is your ship still the same ship after you replaced all parts of it? For you will be able to install new cockpit, wings, engine and weapons to your ship, and you'll do so every few levels.

    Those items also have different looks, so while the rough shape of the ship stays the same, you'll almost never find two ships which are really all the same even if you only check the appearance, even before taking properties of the installed parts into account.

    On the other hand, some small warning: content after the prologue is limited. Within the prologue you are guided and taken care for, this changes a lot afterwards. More content is promised to be released within June still but it has to be seen how much and how good it will actually be.

  2. Thanks for the info Sylow. So it sounds like it has some similarities with Darkstar then, in that you upgrade your ship and essentially transform it into something new, but don't actually every change ships like in EVE. That's ok, I don't mind that.

    Considering the rather glacial pace at which I'm likely to consume content (too many games, too little time) the Black Prophecy devs will have plenty of time to create more content . . .