Preview: Rebel Galaxy

Do you like Firefly? Do you enjoy the idea of traveling around the galaxy in a beat up ship, pirating your way to fame and fortune? Was Assassin’s Creed IV’s naval battle system alright by you? If you answered yes to these three questions then you should probably check out Rebel Galaxy when it comes out later this year. Made by the guys who founded Runic Games, makers of Torchlight, it mixes smart action, RPG elements and a twangy cowboy soundtrack into one interesting package.

From the opening moments you’ll realize that this isn’t a Mass Effect type world. The world isn’t clean and shiny with people running around wearing armor that looks like sports equipment. No, the world of Rebel Galaxy is one filled with hunk-of-junk ships that look like they’ve seen a fight or two in their lifetime. And, more likely than not, you’ll see these ships battling one another like a non-stop war between Serenity look alikes.

The goal of Rebel Galaxy, or at least this preview build, revolves around getting better materials to upgrade your ship and take on increasingly difficult missions to progress forward. If that sounds a lot like Assassin’s Creed 3 or 4 that’s because there was a heavy influence here. That influence becomes even more apparent as you begin to battle with other behemoth ships.

Using the left stick to move the ship and the right stick to control your broadside guns and turrets, you duke it out in giant battles that feel like beautiful, moving set pieces. Broadside guns fire just like they do in the AC games, firing off the sides of your ship and volleying into the enemy. Turrets, on the other hand, move freely of the ship and can swivel around to be more precise, but less deadly weapons.

Where the interesting bit comes in is the fact that bigger ships get more slots, obviously. What this means is that as you get bigger and better ships, you’ll have more room to customize your ship to your play style, leading to a lot of possibilities and replay value.

Equipment throughout Rebel Galaxy is randomly generated; think of it as a big giant RPG in space and the ship is your character. Aside from new turrets and broadside guns you’ll get upgrades for faster recharge times, stronger shields and better heat management. These upgrades add an additional layer of depth to the gameplay that I found just as fun as Torchlight.

Even in the brief preview I found that tweaking my shields, guns, turrets and ship components could get extremely addictive. I fully expect to see forums filled with the best possible builds as people scour the galaxy trying to find just the right bits and pieces to perfect their ship.

What intrigues me the most about Rebel Galaxy is the amount of role-playing that’s in it. For as many action RPGs as the two founders of Double Damage have worked on, there seems to be much more roleplaying in Rebel Galaxy. Military leaders, pirates and a slew of alien characters are all able to be chatted up, and what you say matters. Saying the wrong thing can cause a big problem while smooth talking your way out of problems is all well and good.

With this level of RPG goodness and the pedigree of the developer's previous games, Rebel Galaxy looks like there could be a lot to like when it comes out. Rebel Galaxy is slated for release this year on the PC and PS4 and I can’t say just how excited I am to check out the full game.