Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw Review
Developer: Double Damage Games
Publisher: Double Damage Games
Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw is available directly from Epic Games. It will be released to Steam next year. PS4 and Switch versions launch December 31st.
In this prequel to the original Rebel Galaxy, step into the shoes of Juno Markev as she chases down one of the most dangerous criminals in the galaxy. Down on her luck with a dead husband and no ship, she will have to kick and scratch her way back and get some bloody vengeance along the way. That’s the premise of what can almost be described as a love letter to if not a remake of Origins 1989 Space Rogue and 1993 Wing Commander Privateer. The “privateer” genre has been around since at least Space Rogue. In recent years, it has resurfaced with Elite Dangerous and No Man’s Sky.
The original Rebel Galaxy is worth a look if you are into this sort of game, but I can honestly say your quality of life won’t suffer if you skip it. With this in mind apparently the developers listened to the criticism and really hit it out of the park. So let’s dive right in and see what this old gamer is on about.
In Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, there is a story, but you can choose how it plays out to a degree. Whether you want to be a pirate (obligatory Yarrrrrrrr matey) or the most feared bounty hunter, (sadly there is little to no carbonite) the choice is yours. If finance and schedules are your things you can be a merchant, it’s up to you how to reach the ultimate goal by bringing down the bad guy.
Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw takes place before the events of the first Rebel Galaxy. In Outlaw, we step into the shoes of Juno Markev, who is the aunt of the main character in the first game. This is a prequel, telling the story of Juno and how she makes a name for herself in the galaxy. It is up to the players to not only advance the plot but live a life among the stars. Juno was on the wrong end of a fight with a criminal she went after. Her ship destroyed, and with very little cash, it is up to the player to help her rise back up and finish the job.
Outlaw is cockpit-based, so expect dogfights, taunts over the radio and a sore backside. When not in space there are other things to do. Chat up the bartender for information, play some pool or casino games, trade commodities, or check the want ads for your next gig. Basically you end up in the familiar Han Solo story mode, hauling, fighting or running. My favorite touch was the radio stations you can listen to that include a bunch of country/blues-rock music and silly commercials. While the story is decent, you spend a lot of time outside of it trying to upgrade your ship or buy a better one. There are Merchant and Mercenary Guilds to join, bounties to hunt, and other odd jobs. Heck, if you have some money to get a start, I made most of my money trading commodities. You may also paint your ship, which is a lot more satisfying than it sounds. You can purchase a real 3D-printed model of your ship should your status as alpha nerd be in danger.
I started out taking bounties and mercenary jobs, but when I got some real money, I switched to being a merchant, running cargo and trading. The controls are straightforward, and combat is a lot of fun but as can be expected get a bit repetitive. There is a lot of variation in the enemies you find from place to place, and some neighborhoods are worse than others. Much like Privateer you can communicate with other ships, you can choose the blue option to give up your cargo or to ask for a cease-fire while red options are for talking trash. It’s really cool when you scare someone off simply because you are so scary over the radio.
Like I hinted at a bit ago, it gets a bit repetitive. There is only so much variety to build into missions; you have to kill someone, deliver something or go to point A, the only things that vary are the numbers and the window dressing. I am forgiving of this as it’s a staple of this sort of game. You grind your way up instead of starting at the top. This is to be expected, but it gets a bit old.
Excellent overall design and execution.
Great Combat game-play.
Surprisingly good if familiar story-line.
No character customization