Image: Incursion scenario – 9th of 9 scenarios in Alpha 1.1 release
So far, it rocks!
It looks beautiful, with a quite stunning attention to detail for an Alpha release. I mean, have you ever seen a more beautiful instrument display in a space-sim!
Buying, downloading and installing from Frontier via the zaonce online store was straightforward and painless.
I actually bought the Premium Beta, which does not come online until May 30th, but includes the Alpha 1.1 combat scenarios to practice on and play with (and an expansion pass, which pays for all future expansions to the game).
It will take complete novices to this type of game a little time to get to grips with the controls, as there are quite a few. Previous experience with other spaceship games and/or flight-sims will probably be useful, but I think most people can learn to control their ship reasonably well, even if it takes few hours to slowly absorb the fundamentals.
I have to admit, at first I was quite challenged by the flying skills necessary to get through the combat scenarios, but after a week I’ve completed the first 7 of 9 and can feel my abilities improving. I have a feeling, however, that I’m going to need to be quite law abiding and careful for a while when I first enter the game proper, or I’m going to get smoked pretty quick.
There’s many good videos of the combat scenarios, and you could do worse than start with this video from Cmdr Speedy.
After taking a while to even be able to target stuff due to my initial uncontrolled flying style, I learned to actually hit things. I’m using an X-box controller, which works on the default game-pad settings. Most advice on forums seems to point to the superiority of good quality joysticks and/or a separate throttle controller, but many are happy with keyboard or, like me, want to give their game-pad a go. I think the main differences are a lack of control of speed of direction change due to both a habit of simply whacking the joysticks on game-pads to full left, right, up, or down, and perhaps also a less sophisticated ratio of change from the movement range of the joysticks on game-pads. In any case, I feel that if I persist I can probably perform about as well as joystick pilots, whilst having the convenience of a game-pad.
The major break-through I had, after learning the basic flight controls, was how to use the toggling on/off of flight-assist to get my guns back onto the enemy when making tight turns. This, I’m pretty sure, will be a key skill for any pilot who actually wants to fight stuff, and especially if you want to fight other human players! See this post for more about toggling flight assist on/off.