If there were a dictionary of game terms, the phrase “early access” would not describe the state of Interstellar Marines – a more appropriate term would be “severely unfinished and questionably ready for the public.” When you look at what’s available on Steam right now and compare it to the lofty goals and expectations of the developers, it’s almost like two completely different experiences. While I have hope and faith that the talented developers at ZeroPoint Software have every intention and capability to pull off their vision, I’m not so sure that showing the game in this form is the greatest idea.
When I booted up the currently available early access version of the game on Steam, I could choose between jumping into some basic team deathmatch multiplayer or checking out a “sandbox” mode, which actually boiled down to me roaming empty maps with the ability to adjust things like lighting and other environmental factors. Naturally, I decided to hop into the multiplayer first. I had one map to choose from with an active game at the time I played and dove in to start killing people, just like any good space marine would do.
In this build of the game, features like shooting, sprinting, aiming down the sights, a laser pointer and flashlight are implemented. Overall, the physics of gameplay and general mechanics are tight and feel good – but that’s all there is to the game at this point. I understand that the game is still in “early access” form, but at $15 you’re still asking a consumer to put down cash to get access to what is even less finished than a basic multiplayer beta. Locking in on the game now guarantees access up until and after launch, including updates, but it’s not making a very good argument for why it’s worth playing right now.
To put things into perspective if you still haven’t watched the video above, the “final” game is almost like a distant dream in comparison to what’s available at the moment. Things like “Tactical Co-Op”, “Progressive Role-Playing”, “Nonlinear Game Design” and “Interactive Storyline” are advertised as parts of their final vision. The game is billed as “Half-Life meets System Shock, giving birth to Rainbow Six in space!” with “a cinematic narrative centered around first contact with another sentient species, where your choices and actions will have consequences.” These things sound incredible, revolutionary even, but games (even early access versions) need to be judged on what’s available, not what’s promised.
When you think of elements that describe a first-person shooter, things like the first-person perspective, the ability to move and guns are necessities, but that can’t be all there is to the experience. As stated, Interstellar Marines is currently in “early access” and I totally get that, but it doesn’t feel like paying any money at all (even if it guarantees the full game later) is justified at this point. Nothing about this early access version reflects any portion of their final vision other than the fact that it’s an FPS with marines that is supposedly interstellar.
This is not a review and this is not final judgment, but I would recommend waiting until more information on the game is readily available before making any decisions. Hopefully everything comes to fruition and they blow the lid off this thing, but right now, that lid is still tightly sealed.
Check out the game’s website here, the developers are encouraging feedback and community engagement in the development process – which is always a good thing.