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End Space Review: Flying Through The Stars

by David Jagneaux • September 28th, 2017
Platforms: PSVR (Reviewed) and Gear VR
Positives

- Good amount of content
- Solid flight controls
- Fun missions

Negatives

- Lackluster presentation
- Still feels like a mobile VR game
- Combat lacks some intensity

End Space is one of the most ambitious games I’ve seen in the VR space thus far. What started out as a proof-of-concept on Google Cardboard under a different name and eventually became a best-selling Gear VR title, is now released on PSVR and improved enough to take advantage of the console-powered VR headset. Not bad for a game studio that was literally built from the ground up using pizza boxes.

The premise with End Space is simple. You’re a skilled pilot in the United Trade Consortium and must fend off relentless attacks from the Tartarus Liberation Front’s insurgents on a series of dangerous missions. Whereas games like EVE: Valkyrie focus on providing competitive multiplayer dogfighting thrills, End Space is a strictly single player adventure.

Missions are separated by a main hub in which you choose which to embark on. Upon completion you’ll unlock new missions, earn credits, and try to earn a better score on previous missions. It’s an addictive loop of challenging yourself to be more efficient as you come back to old missions after upgrading your ship later in the game.

There are handful of upgrades you can unlock by spending credits, such as changing your default lasers and missile loadouts. Most weapons in the game are fired using an energy reserve that you’ve got to lay off of for a while to recharge. At first it can feel pretty slow until you get the hang of combat. In most cases you don’t wane to hold down R2 while firing because that will drain your energy too quickly, so getting good at chasing enemies, burst-firing, and mixing up your approach is important.

For a game like this there’s a good amount of content, especially if you go back to replay completed missions to get more credits. It won’t last many people dozens of hours or anything but the levels are well-designed ad fun to play. Controls while flying feel great, if a bit slow compared to other space flight games. I found myself missing the adrenaline-fueled intensity of flight in games like EVE: Valkyrie. Some of the weapons lack the punch found in the likes of the Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission. But alas, End Space is not a Frankenstein’s monster of my ideal space combat game.

End Space isn’t the most polished space combat game you’ll find either. Every now and then I was reminded that it got its start as a mobile VR title with some noticeably flat textures and a lack of need to utilize the PSVR’s positional tracking. One of the best features though is that, by default, your main laser guns are shot with R2 and aimed using your head movement. Similar to the lock-on missiles from EVE: Valkyrie, but this time it’s for literally anything you shoot. That really helps keep the game more active than it might be otherwise.

Final Score: 7/10 – Good

End Space isn’t the best VR space combat game I’ve played. It lacks the polish of similar games like House of the Dying Sun and doesn’t have multiplayer dogfights like EVE: Valkyrie, but what it lacks in professional touch it more than makes up for with ambition and a strong core design principle. Fans of space combat that are yearning for a single player affair on PSVR (or Gear VR) should definitely check this one out.

End Space is now available for download on the PSN Store for PSVR for $19.99. Read our Game Review Guidelines for more information on how we arrived at this score.

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  • Bundy

    Despite Elite’s issues, I still find it by far the best space game for VR.

    • Gonzalo Novoa

      I’ll have to buy it one day but the lack of single player mode stops me from doing it. I want to try End Space, I’m not into multiplayer and this looks quite interesting. I was never into space games but ever since I tried the Jackal Assault demo it’s become one of my main interests and one of the genres I’m more looking forward to in VR.

      • Bundy

        Elite has a single player mode. You do need to be online still. But you won’t ever see another human playing the game. Really only an issue if you don’t have internet.

        • Gonzalo Novoa

          I know it has a single player mode but from what I’ve heard and read it is only a few very short missions with no story. I think I will buy it when it’s cheaper because I’d really like to try it but I’d like a real single player mode that took a few hours to complete. I have no interest in multiplayer. Being online is not a problem but you don’t need to have a plus account in order to play it, right?

          • Bundy

            The game has no rpg type story. And it never will. So if that’s your hold out, then there’s no point in waiting, just drop it from your list.

            I have it on PC. I’m not sure what the Xbox and ps4 online restrictions for it are.

          • Gonzalo Novoa

            How long does the single mode last? if the missions are good I still want to play it, I’m not expecting Mass Effect, I would like a story but I can live without it, I tried the demo and I loved it but I dont want to pay 40 bucks for 30 minutes of game considering I’m never going to play the multiplayer part. Would you still recommend it only for the single player part?

          • Bundy

            Its a sandbox, it lasts as long as you want it to. There’s no story, no overarching quest that “ends” the game.

            The solo and mp modes are exactly the same. Except you don’t see other people playing in solo. Just you and a billion npcs

          • Gonzalo Novoa

            Oh sorry for Christ’s sake, I’m a fucking fool, I was talking about Eve Valkyrie, not Elite Dangerous, sorry, mate; yeah, Elite is really a game I want to play, it looks amazing but until I buy Oculus in a few months I’ll have to wait for it, I am only interested in the VR mode and PS4, as far as I know, doesn’t have it so PC is the way to go.

          • No sweat man. EVE:Valkyrie is pretty good, but it’s pretty much purely made for multiplayer –though it does have a few solo modes in it, they’re … a bit small, and not hard to get past.

            I picked EVE up back when it launched on PSVR, and while I’ve gotten long since bored of it overall, it’s still a good game for the occasional bash session on a Saturday, when the highest number of players are online. It also helps that they’ve added a more content since launch, though I haven’t taken the opportunity to play in recent weeks, since the launch of their newest mode that brings in non-VR users along with more content. I’ll have to give that a spin this weekend… if I can find time, anyway… lately, I’ve been tied up with rebuilding my data center.

          • I only play ED in single player (solo) mode, and if I were to try to estimate the number of hours of play this game has… I’d put around 2.3 million years worth… about the amount of time it would take someone to explore 1/10th of the game. It literally has over 400 Billion star systems, countless planets (which you can land on several of), and it’s got missions galore.

            The thing I’m finding with ED is that I need to backtrack to the systems where I got my start and keep working up my rep. The problem I’ve run into is that now I’ve got a really badass ship and gotten out and explored some of the more distant systems, I’m finding that I need to go back to where I built up my rep so that I can get better paying missions. Basically, it seems like I’ve gotten so far out there that my rep back in the systems where I built it up isn’t doing anything for me because I’m vastly too far away. A good example: In the 200 or so star systems immediately around the Gateway System, I’ve built up a stellar rep as a courier & space-trucker, and because of that, I’ve made a lot of money to get where I am in currently. The problem came in when I took off for the Maya System, out in the Pleiades cluster. I got there, and the area was tough as hell, but I had no local rep built up, so every mission I found out there was so low paying that it was like I was back at square-one (beginning of the game). I’m thinking that before I head out that way again, I’m going to build up at least a 5 million credit cash reserve.. but I don’t know man… there’s so much out to explore that I’m considering going in the opposite direction.

          • (Out in Maya)

            Of course, it probably didn’t help that I dropped out of cruise right on top of what appeared to be a classified military facility. I didn’t even really have time to reorient myself facing away from the facility to bail out of there before it seemed like every gun on the station opened up on me and shredded me in seconds. Lesson learned, I suppose. 😉

          • Gonzalo Novoa

            Wow man, that sounds impressive, I’m sort of afraid of playing it for fear of not wanting to play anything else, it sounds like I could be playing for years and not touch anything else. My Rift arrived today and also my new PC so in the next few weeks after I’ve tried other games, demos and other stuff I’ll get a hold of Elite. Thanks a lot for your impressions.

          • I could see it. I was that way for a long time about the game “Freelancer”, where it was basically all I’d play, mostly cruising around uncharted star systems, searching for wormholes. So far, I haven’t found any naturally occurring wormholes in Elite, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they exist in the game.

            Yeah… that’s a good idea… put it off until you’ve gotten the initial purchase rush out of your system. I’m thinking of doing the same thing when I pick up a PCVR rig; I don’t mind buying a 2nd copy of Elite, either, because I figure it won’t be long after I pick that system up that either my wife, my kid or our roommate (old friend, like a brother to me) might pick up and play on the old copy. My roommate does great with VR, like myself, but the wife and kid have mixed results –he does OK, but still can’t seem to play VR for more than 30mins before breaking into a pouring sweat, while his mom ran to go hurl after 30 seconds inside RE7 (set with smooth turning set to the max, the way I play it). I figure Elite would be probably pretty easy on the stomach in VR though… the cockpit framework would help with that –even more so with a HOTAS controller.

            Anyway, hope you enjoy Elite. On PS4, there’s a really good community tied to the game, and I figure there’s probably one for the PC version too. The community has been really good because a lot of us share what we find with the other players, along with screenshots. Some of the shots that have come out of there have been good enough that I would have loved to have had them as wall-sized posters.

  • I picked this game up last Monday, and must say that I’ve had a blast with it.
    I’ll totally agree that its not the greatest space-combat game for VR, but its certainly not all bad either. Last night, I picked back up where I’d left off 2 nights earlier, and bashed through another couple of missions –the last of which had me going up against a destroyer class cruiser that was guarding a jump-gate; the first time I tried getting past it, I got killed, so I came back at it from a different angle with a different strategy and took the destroyer down hard, sweeping up the remaining fighter craft before bailing out of the system.

    One thing I noticed with this game is that the tracking is done a lot like Battlezone’s tracking, where you’re best off playing the game in the dark, with all lights down really low. This allows the perspective to center-up more accurately when each stage loads, and keeps down the instances of needing to re-calibrate. Also, the A.I. at the level I’ve been playing hasn’t been the most challenging, but it hasn’t been altogether bad either… sort of about what I’d expected.

    Elite *is* by far the best space game on PS4 right now, though sadly that version doesn’t have PSVR support, but I plan to re-buy it for the PC when I upgrade my systems and pick up a PC-VR kit of some sort (though, I’m waiting until after holiday-season 2017… possibly until 2nd-Q-2018, so that I can nail down hardware that is more in line with what I’m wanting in terms of specs). In the meantime though, Elite Dangerous is the one ‘non-VR’ game on PS4 that I can’t get enough of. I was a huge fan of Freelancer (PC) for many, many years, so I figure it’s just a matter of course before I get the gear together to play E:D in VR.

    But anyway, anyone looking at End Space with interest *should* go ahead and pick it up. It may not be the best space game, but it’s not bad by any means and if enough of us pick it up, perhaps the developer will add some more content (a DLC, perhaps?). Even as is though, it’s worth the price of admission at the current sales-price of $17.99 for plus members and I don’t think I would have felt ripped off at all if I’d paid the full $20. It could have been better, but it also could have been a whole lot worse, and I appreciate a good space game that doesn’t feel *totally* retro.

    • Gonzalo Novoa

      Thanks a lot for your opinion, you’ve convinced me to go and get it, whenever it hits the EU store.

      • Hope you enjoy it at least as much as I did. Have they posted a date for the EU release yet?