Everspace 2 PS5 review. When I reviewed the original Everspace on PS4 all the way back in May 2018, it’s fair to say that while its space bound, roguelike beats captivated me to an extent, a distinct lack of polish tarnished the whole affair and arguably prevented that game from fulfilling its commendably lofty ambitions. Fast forward more than five years and Everspace 2 is now with us, simultaneously not only providing players with a sequel that is superior in absolutely every single way, but one which cements itself as one of the finest space shooters ever made.
Everspace 2 PS5 Review
A Tremendous Sequel That Elevates The Arcade Space Shooter To New Heights
First things first, allow me to put your mind at ease. Even in its pre-release form, Everspace 2 is light years beyond the first Everspace game when it comes to polish and technical presentation. With more than fifty hours put into Everspace 2, I had not experienced a single crash during that time – a stark comparison to the three crashes I had in three hours in the original game – a fact which very much underscores the fact that Everspace 2 (perhaps as the result of its extended early access period on PC) feels much more robust and rigid than its predecessor ever did.
Likewise, Everspace 2 makes ample use of the PS5’s still impressive technical grunt to craft an opulent and performant offering which the strokes the retinas with loving attention. With its epic interstellar action absolutely screaming along at a near locked 60 FPS with some tremendous cosmic sights such as asteroids, planets, nebula and much more besides, Everspace 2 absolutely looks the part. Easy on the eyes too are the various ships that you’ll come across. From smaller and sleeker attack ships, to cargo freighters, massive frigates and gargantuan interstellar ship husks, Everspace 2 is a solid contender for one of the best looking space shooters ever made. Notably, Everspace 2 loads extremely quickly too – with a cold load into a saved game able to occur in just over ten seconds or so.
It’s unusual to see a genre effort quite as polished as this – not least because titles of this scale, which usually are multiplatform endeavours as this one is, often tend to suffer when ported to consoles after being on PC first – even after enjoying such a lengthy period of early access. As such, developer Rockfish Games should be congratulated for what it has wrought here with Everspace 2, as this is no mean feat indeed. Speaking of feats, perhaps the greatest of these that Rockfish Games has pulled off is the eschewing of the roguelike mechanics that so well defined the first Everspace. With that dynamic no longer embedded in its design bedrock, Everspace 2 instead embraces a much more open approach where handcrafted missions, encounters and other such events are the order of the day, instead of the procedurally generated beats of the original game.
Wrapped around all of this of course is a sprawling single player campaign – clocking at close to a hundred hours in length if you want to see and do everything – that puts players in the intergalactic shoes of a clone pilot who must trade, blast and create alliances throughout the DMZ and surrounding areas of Cluster 34 in order to secure their freedom. In truth, it’s not the most riveting narrative I’ve seen, thanks in no small part to a largely forgettable cast of characters and a humdrum plot, but it adequately serves the absolutely incredible open world (or should that be galaxy?), interstellar looter shooter shenanigans that arguably define the heady calibre of Everspace 2 more than any other aspect of its design.
Beginning with a light class ship that is decent for dogfights but not much else, Everspace 2 has wannabe space aces starting their career in earnest and it’s here that Everspace 2’s looter shooter bonafides come into play. While the progression of the campaign’s narrative can be moved along via story missions, so too are there are an array a side missions and activities that provide ample opportunities for accumulating money, commodities, minerals, new equipment for your ship and so much more besides. A robust crafting system also lets you use blueprints and a range of components and ores to fashion your own ship parts, weapons and more, ensuring that there is always a way to get your hands on some shiny new gear.
This is something that Everspace 2 absolutely nails – there is no shortage of higher quality equipment and ships that can be bought and upgraded, so as such the incentive to go off the beaten path to investigate each and every opportunity proves to be irresistible and arguably serves as core appeal of the whole affair. Pleasingly I can happily report that there is a whole lot of variety that has been baked in to these extracurricular activities too, from rescuing cargo freighters beset by pirates, to defusing mines around a stranded ship, powering up a mining laser to destroy an ore-laced asteroid (so that you might scoop up its valuable contents) and using your trusty tractor beam to remove debris to access secret areas and loot, there is no shortage stuff to do and all of it is compelling.
Equally, these different ventures all unfold across a variety of different canvases. In one situation I found myself boosting down to the surface of a planet so that I might scour the wreckage of a gargantuan frigate – the remnants of its bulbous husk spread over a great distance – for whatever wayward and long lost loot I could find. In another, I had to clear out an infestation of a parasitic alien creature that had taken root inside of a massive asteroid so that I can plumb its depths for the expensive ore that lay within.
More than anything, Everspace 2 has an irresistible hook – it weaponises our natural curiosity to explore the stars – and while it’s not a sandbox in the traditional sense like No Man’s Sky, it is a hugely accomplished space looter shooter that focuses on providing a lean, yet sophisticated take on space combat, not to mention one that continually tempts the player to wander from the beaten path to secure additional goodies. It’s almost criminally difficult to put down. Speaking of wandering the galaxy, such activities are done with ease thanks to a warp drive that essentially allows you to get anywhere on your intergalactic map extremely quickly.
On a basic level, combat in Everspace 2 is hugely fun too. Thanks in no small part to the smooth framerate, combat is a hugely responsive affair with all manner of agile manoeuvres such as banks, rolls and boosts able to be pulled off with ease, while all manner of primary cannons, missiles, mines and more serve to spice up the dogfighting duly. Put simply, flying your craft in Everspace 2 and attempting to stop others from doing the same is an eminently enjoyable endeavour to say the least.
In this vocation, Everspace 2 also provides an impressive amount of creative latitude for wannabe starfighters to customise and adjust their ship according to their liking. Tying directly into the loot and equipment system with coloured quality system (akin to something you might see in Diablo IV, for example), different modules, parts and synthesisers can be combined together to accentuate certain attributes, such as damage, evasion speed, storage and more according to your preference. Progression systems abound elsewhere too, as you can unlock perks which provide permanent bonuses for various stats depending on whether or not you have fulfilled a number of pre-requisites.
All of this progression has a point beyond just seeing the credits complete their roll on the story campaign, too. Endgame content in Everspace 2 manifests itself as Ancient Rifts, a highly challenging series of encounters where you’re given the opportunity to get your hands on super potent legendary items, weapons and other such equipment by destroying some extremely tough foes. As such, it should go without saying that you’ll already need to have a super powerful ship (and the perks to boot) to even think about taking on one of these Ancient Rifts.
It speaks to the level of ambition on display here – not to mention a tolerance for risk – that Everspace 2 essentially jettisons the roguelike mechanics of the first game in favour of a much more open and looter focused shooter and is all the better for it. A superior sequel in every way, Everspace 2 delivers on the premise hinted at in its predecessor with aplomb, even if the story campaign that anchors its super looter shooter beats seems to be little more than window dressing for the other impeccable aspects of its design.
Everspace 2 releases for PS5 on August 14, 2023.
Review code kindly provided by PR.