Published on February 24th, 2013 | by Jordan Bluer1
I enjoy my Sci-Fi action. Give me a spaceship, some futuristic weapons, enemies to destroy, and a galaxy to explore and I’m going to enjoy myself. Zigfrak, a space-based shoot-and-loot action RPG by Entheogen studios, should offer exactly that, right? Well… kind of.
Here’s the story, It’s the future, and humanity has discovered a belligerent alien race. In response, human society was thrust into an era of martial law. Security took precedence at the cost of individual liberty. The growing oppression forced many to leave their home worlds in search of freedom. Those who fled became known as the Freerunners. When Enforcers from the home worlds pursued them in a military effort, the Freerunners were forced to defend themselves. And thus began the great civil war which continues to this day, and this is where the game takes place. You’re a pilot for the Freerunners; it’s your duty to defend your settlements against threats, both human and alien.
It’s a story that doesn’t stem too far from the Sci-Fi tried and true, yet the game simply fails in its delivery. Although I am a fan of reading, the game continuously bombards you with plain blocks of text, regarding missions and story. There’s no voice over to keep you engaged, and so I found myself simply bypassing the text blocks, ignoring the story, and moving from mission to mission unsure of the narrative. I didn’t care why I was shooting who I was shooting, and any big reveals in the story were lost on me.
However, the story is not the game’s focus. Much like the Diablo games, your fun and interest aren’t found within a remarkable plot, but within the collection of loot. Every enemy destroyed dispenses loot, which you collect and use to upgrade your ship. Most of the loot found is trash, but you push on at premise that your next foe could drop something of interest, maybe, or a more powerful canon or shield.
It’s a concept that revolves around combat. Combat has to be fun so players can enjoy grinding for loot, and in this instance the game is a success. Weapons are varied and enemies are numerous, which leads to some spectacular space battles. Just watch the trailer (at the bottom of this post) and you’ll agree, there are bright and colourful weaponry, daunting mother ships, and plenty of explosions. It’s great fun to look at and it’s great fun to be involved in, especially when the sound track kicks in. Expect dubstep to be the music behind the destruction, and it fits the game well. In addition, the backdrops to these battles are always interesting to look at. The varied environments boast black holes, red stars, and other Sci-Fi phenomena that nicely splash negating colours against the black canvas of space.
But I do have gripes, and they centre on the sound effects and your ship. When I’m flying around in a futuristic spaceship, I want to feel powerful—guns should feel and sound like they could rip apart hulls and cause devastation. But in Zigfrak they don’t, my rockets are virtually silent, and my main canon sounds like a peashooter. Although my enemies are dying I don’t feel like I’m causing any damage, until they actually explode.
Also, the thrusters on my ship should sound like they’re propelling me at a ridiculous speed. But again, they don’t. The sound they produce makes me feel like I’m gliding, rather than flying through space. Jets are supposed to be agile, and in space, without gravity, I would expect them to be even more so. However, you don’t have the ability to boost, backflip, or barrel roll. When being fired upon, there’s no dodging, I just had to accept the damage, and when an enemy bypassed me I had to laboriously do a 180-degree turn, and then give chase at the exact same boring speed. These three Bs should have been incorporated in the game.
And be warned, Zigfrak is slow to start. It’s a large game, just look at the map at the beginning I’m sure you’ll agree. So don’t expect to have a great starship, great weapons, or be involved in any large space battles until you’re at least a few hours into the game. The first missions revolve around collecting, destroying an X number of enemies, and introducing you to the story. I found these boring—but hang tight as the enjoyment is found later on in the game, when you have a badass spaceship and face insurmountable odds.
To summarise, although I didn’t care much for the story, the game is a success in what it focuses on. Collecting loot and upgrading my starship is fun, and the combat, though it has its downfalls, is enjoyable. I had fun while playing this game, which is all you can ask from a product that is built to entertain. So if you enjoy looting games like Diablo, and would like the same concept in outer space, then purchase Zigfrak. The game currently costs $14.
See the trailer for Zigfrak here:
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Go here for the Zigfrak website.
You can get Zigfrak on Desura, here.
Vote for Zigfrak on Steam Greenlight, here.