by: Nicholas Puleo
Lets face it, space flight sims are as hard to come by as the information those Bothan spies tried to steal from the Empire. Console space flight sims? You’ll have better luck finding a dropped engagement ring in the Sarlacc pit. So it kind of goes without saying that DarkStar One: Broken Alliance is the best space flight sim on the consoles right now, because it's basically the only one.
Based on the PC version released in 2006, DarkStar One: Broken Alliance has you in the role of Kayron Jarvis, whose father was killed in what appears to be a conspriacy. Kayron soon finds himself inheriting a ship designed by his father just for him - the DarkStar One - and before he realizes it, he’s all caught up in political drama.
At its core, DarkStar One is an open world game. You’re given a story based mission to accomplish, but to get their you’ll need to earn some credits and complete other tasks. The side missions themselves are a bit repetitive - guard this ship, steal this cargo, listen in on these guys - but thankfully it’s not the only way to earn credits in the game. Each star system in the game has wealth and standing associated with it, and docking at a trade station allows you to buy and sell goods. Buy low and sell high becomes your friend - and if you are brave enough - you can destroy some cargo ships in the vast of space and trade the goods acquired from their destruction.
All of this money is used to upgrade your ship with the latest and greatest features including lasers, missiles, turrets, and defensive upgrades like shields and afterburners. You can also find artifacts hidden throughout the huge galaxy to provide RPG like bonuses to your ship. These items will fuel the space combat of the game which is really what the game is all about.
While all of the above is fairly entertaining, the game has some issues. The graphics show their age a bit and despite that - there’s still some slowdown at times. There’s a weird loading bug when you warp where you see an icon of a disc spinning, and the voice acting - whoa the voice acting - things are a bit too forced. The controls work well enough, but some options seem to be buried too deep for their own good in radial menus that aren’t always as responsive as they should be.
DarkStar One: Broken Alliance is a refreshing game in a world of cookie cutter first person shooters and dime a dozen JRPGs. It’s not perfect by any means, but it satisfies the urge to explore the vast reaches of space on your own terms.