Games of the Year

Empyrion Galactic Survival

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Empyrion - Galactic Survival is a 3D open world space sandbox survival adventure. Build powerful ships, mighty space stations and vast planetary settlements to explore, conquer or exploit a variety of different planets and discover the mysteries of Empyrion! Fight human, alien and biological hazards and survive in a hostile galaxy full of hidden dangers. Play as a lone wolf or team-up with your friends, build new friendships, create alliances or make war to conquer the solar system. Empyrion uniquely combines elements from space simulations, construction games, survival games and ego-shooters. In Empyrion, you can forge your destiny in a galaxy with infinite possibilities! Space and Planet Exploration: An absolute free-roaming experience awaits you: warp between planets, fly from planet to moons, land on planets and freely walk around to explore your surroundings. Discover the secrets of different alien races and tangle with the native fauna and flora. A sandbox full of different, vivid planets is waiting for you to explore! Solar System and Open World: The solar system is procedurally generated and features several planets and interesting POIs. Each planet has its own characteristics (planet type, gravity, atmosphere, number of moons, terrain, surface, vegetation, climate, and resources).
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I have a story about this game. This is not a copypasta, but a real experience.
At the time of this post, I have 742 hours of gameplay. Most of that has been spent playing cooperatively with 3 close friends.
We'd start new universes on the hardest difficulty, working together to find materials and scratch out rudimentary base defenses before the drones, Zirax, and various indigenous tribes came and tried to make jewelry out of our organs. We had wild adventures in the wilderness on our hoverbikes, fighting off raptors and spiders and zombie aliens. Digging up ancient ruins. Cleansing horrible biological experiments gone wrong. Exploring strange new worlds. Seeking out new life, new civilizations. Stealing their stuff. Committing war crimes against the Zirax Empire. Don't worry, they totally deserved it.
We built elaborate underground bases. Turned mountains into fortresses. Constructed capital ships that were works of art. Space-based ship construction facilities. Giant farms with jump drives. Mining outposts on distant moons. Starfighters, cargo hoppers, unstoppable killing machines. We owned the stars. Especially the stars we took from our mortal enemies, the Zirax Empire. Freaking lizards. Die.
One of these friends was enduring frequent complications from leukemia recovery. He would mine entire asteroids by himself due to being constantly awake from steroids. He loved to call it roid rage, and that joke never got old.
A few months ago, his body finally gave in. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by family. We wore Jedi robes to his funeral. I still have our dedicated server sitting on the box I hosted it from. I keep wanting to fire it up and continue the adventure, but you have no idea how difficult that is now.
Anyway, Eleon has created something truly wonderful here. There have been bugs and development struggles over the years, but no other game like it has captured the essence of cooperative gameplay for me like this one. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you figure out the tech tree and get proficient at slaughtering wildlife, it really opens up. Some of the blueprints in the workshop are absolute works of art. For the more creative types, you can build anything you can imagine, paint it any color you want, strap engines and weapons to it, and even put gaudy flashing signage and obnoxious blinking rave lights all over. The planets are beautiful. The sunsets/sunrises are beautiful. The galaxy is beautiful. You can leave your base behind and frolick about the galaxy, living out all your favorite space pirate fantasies. You can pretty much do anything but build a submarine (for now!) Oh, and there are dinosaurs. Lots of dinosaurs.
Most importantly, you can have a great time with your friends. You never know how long that will last. Make it count.

Review from Steam

This game has really beautiful worlds and so many options. Although I am over 300 hours into this game I feel there is still much for me to learn. I must admit I would be lost in this game if I didn't have the PDA. Learning so many different game functions was difficult for me. My only excuse for that is I am 70 years old. With time and patience I hope to get better. Please convey to your team Great job!

Review from Steam

I never heard of this game until update 1.8, which was when it started appearing in my recommended feed on Steam. I was hesitant to pick the game up at $20 seeing some of the reviews mention glaring issues, however the overall experience I've had has been phenomenal.
A word of caution before I go into more detail: this game is prone to bugs and crashes, make sure you backup your save data regularly.
To start of, the one aspect this game excels at is the sense of exploration. The system for generating structures utilizes a blueprint system wherein both players and Eleon can assign a "POI" to it for the game to have a chance of spawning in. Essentially this creates near infinite replayability as each game you create will always be unique as you explore a vast range of structures. A key point to understand though is certain structures spawning are contingent on the planet type, thus requiring you to explore the galaxy in order to experience every one of them.
Planets are also pseudo random generated in the sense that specific planet types are governed by the type of star system. For example, ocean and ice planets won't spawn in star systems with a high heat output and lava planets won't spawn in low heat systems. The amount of light a planet receives is also affected by the luminosity of the star, so if you set up camp near a neutron star you can expect to receive very little light from it.
Luminosity has little impact on gameplay as the only object affected by it is solar panels. Surprisingly planets do have a day/night cycle caused by the planet itself spinning rather than the approach some games take by having the sun orbit the planets. This means any space station constructed with fixed solar panels will have an infinite source of solar power.
Empyrion utilizes a blocked based building system with two sizes. Hover vessels and small vessels utilize the smaller block set while capital vessels and bases utilize the large block set. Despite the limitations of a block based building system the vast array of block shapes at your disposal and a deco block system means the only limitation is your creativity. It is entirely possible to recreate iconic ships such as the Normandy from Mass Effect or the Tachi from The Expanse, if you have the time and patience to do so.
One final pro to note is the integration of the Steam Workshop into the game. Eleon fully understand that the primary reason behind Empyrion's success is the dedicated community releasing some of the most intricate and power creations on the workshop. This is supported by the ability to outright spawn in blueprints by providing enough resources rather than needing to follow a hologram guide in recreating the design. If you have the time, definitely check out some of the creations from Artemis and Spanj.
Now onto the issues with the game...
As noted in several other reviews Empyrion lacks the necessary polish required for a game in a full release stage. This is evident by the mess that is the PDA system which contains: inventory, quest logs, local map, system map, galaxy map, codex information, blueprints, and the tech tree. The most egregious entry is the quest system as the overall formatting is reminiscent of early 2000s design. In time you'll learn to navigate the PDA effectively, however it's in desperate need of a redesign.
Another issue becomes evident as you advance through missions. The implementation is rather rudimentary as each step in a mission can and will break if you fail to pass the highly constrained trigger. In some instances a mission might completely break or repeat itself regardless of actions taken by the player. Eleon have even acknowledge the missions are an issue by allowing players to debug complete steps so at the very least you can complete a broken mission.
Animations and sound are areas in dire need of an overhaul as well since both lack depth and complexity we'd expect as standard for games in 2022. The sound system especially appears to only be 4 or 5 layers deep with frequent cutting the more densely packed the area you're in is. Animations tend to break often as well or are lazily implemented as you'll soon see when encountering your first NPC.
The overall graphics and models are mediocre at best with both having a mixture of high and low quality. The graphics are of the same quality as games released in the early 2000s with low res textures completely dominating your attention over the few high res textures. Hitbox models also rarely line up with the actual textures meaning you'll frequently hit blocks with your weapons despite have a clear line of sight.
Other issues include the rather simplistic AI, poor weapon integration, inconsistent difficulty, inconsistent rendering (hello random trees), basic multiplayer framework, extremely basic economy, and an unintuitice tutorial.
To sum everything up, Empyrion is a diamond in the rough that is consistently being updated and improved. For an indie game studio Eleon have produced a game that I feel provides a better experience than some AAA titles released in the past year.
Overall I'd recommend fans of the sci-fi genre to definitely pick this game up. While fairly rough at the time of publishing this review its definitely worth adding to your collection and seeing what Eleon is capable of doing.

Review from Steam

This is easily the most developed and fun space exploration game out there.
Space engineers is more technical but gets boring to people who want to do more then build. No Mans Sky is beautiful, but feels childish in comparison. Finding and modding spaceships will never be as engaging and diverse as building them. Elite Dangerous is empty and Star citizen is... well... we may never know.
I play every game like this that pops up; none of them have ever compared to Empyrions origional base game. As other devs throw half assed concepts at us, this game just keeps developing. Throw in an extensively modded professionaly run server like "W.A.G".... and the debate is simply over.
I have loved this game for many many years and it just keeps getting better. My favorite part -as an obsessive builder- is being able to save blueprints of my designs and load them up in any server; never truely losing your hard work. I suggest bypassing comments from people who don't get it. This is the most enjoyable yet advanced space game on the market; miles ahead of the competition and still developing. If you realy want something to sink your teeth in to, join a community driven server and start developong your personalized space epic.

Review from Steam

Mechanically very similar to space engineers, there are however some noticeable differences. While the building in SE is more complex and more satisfying (mostly because you have the conveyers mechanics that simply don't exist in EGS), but that's about it. Everything else, Empyrion is better.
In Empyrion you also have food, farming and recipes. And most important, it actually has gameplay. There's a universe, made out of systems and planets. There are things to do, missions, exploration, abandoned structures, wild life, enemy NPC's. All things that Space Engineers doesn't have and doesn't seem interested in ever having.
So yeah, while I would like to have the building system of Space Engineers in Empyrion, with all it's conveyors, at the end of the day Empyrion is the better game.
Recommended.

Review from Steam

Empyrion is:
1) An inde game put together by a small team running it all by the seat of their pants. It is not polished perfect... but it has a lot of heart and soul.
2) A survival game starting with bare hands and requiring you to manage health, hunger stamina and oxygen levels as well as combat various forms of disease and mutilation you may suffer when you fight
3) A building game where you engineer and build custom vehicles and bases with a block based system after refining materials. With the raw materials, you can also spawn blueprints that have already been created by you or others from the workshop. It can be fun just to go creative and spawn ships you have collected into library to explore them and try them out.
4) A harvesting game where you dig into voxel based planets and asteroids for resources.
5) A procedural game where no two saves create the same universe.
6) An exploration game with lots of points of interest to discover both on the starting planet and in the universe that waits you when you achieve space flight. Lots of different types of suns and planets with different characteristics. Several factions of NPC to interact with. Points of interest spawn randomly all over the universe.
7) A salvaging game where you can rip apart your enemies ships and bases and make them into your own creations... or sell the parts...or scrap them. You will also find derelict ships and buildings.
8) A trading game where you can find various resources or devices and sell them to traders for profit. Or, you can buy things from traders and sell them to other traders for profit. Or you can make things out of your resources and sell them for profit.
9) A first person shooter game where you fight insects, zombies, aliens and military forces in contexts ranging from horror dungeon crawler to military conquest of bases.
10 ) A space ship combat game where you attack bases with your small ship to soften them up... or you go capital ship to capital ship in a massive showdown of missiles and energy weapons.
11) A good single player experience and also a decent looking multi player experience on a server setup.
12) Backed up by an incredibly good mod scenario known as "Reforged Eden" which takes the game to an even higher level of challenges and enjoyment.
13) Still being actively updated as of June 2022.
I have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of this game. The only major thing I wish it had was the ability to walk around on your ship as it is flying (you can only fly while in the pilot seat) and the ability to command a fleet of ships that can do various tasks such as surveying a system, defending the mothership, or mining. Those would make the game pretty much everything I could ask for.
The negative reviews I see are not entirely inaccurate... but this game has so much heart... and it has done so much with so little...that I feel like those complaints are not a deal breaker for me. Some of the complaints require hundreds of hours playing before they become apparent. Most will find a lot of enjoyment before that happens.
I highly recommend this game to anyone who is interested in the features I have described above. I have not come across many games that check so many boxes.

Review from Steam

---{ Graphics }---
☐ You forget what reality is
☐ Beautiful
☑ Good
☐ Decent
☐ Bad
☐ Don‘t look too long at it
☐ MS-DOS
---{ Gameplay }---
☐ Very good
☑ Good
☐ It's just gameplay
☐ Mehh
☐ Watch paint dry instead
☐ Just don't
---{ Audio }---
☐ Eargasm
☐ Very good
☑ Good
☐ Not too bad
☐ Bad
☐ I'm now deaf
---{ Audience }---
☑ Kids
☑ Teens
☑ Adults
☐ Grandma
---{ PC Requirements }---
☐ Check if you can run paint
☐ Potato
☐ Decent
☑ Fast
☐ Rich boi
☐ Ask NASA if they have a spare computer
---{ Difficulty }---
☐ Just press 'W'
☐ Easy
☑ Easy to learn / Hard to master
☐ Significant brain usage
☐ Difficult
☐ Dark Souls
---{ Grind }---
☐ Nothing to grind
☐ Only if u care about leaderboards/ranks
☐ Isn't necessary to progress
☑ Average grind level
☐ Too much grind
☐ You'll need a second life for grinding
---{ Story }---
☐ No Story
☑ Some lore
☐ Average
☐ Good
☐ Lovely
☐ It'll replace your life
---{ Game Time }---
☐ Long enough for a cup of coffee
☐ Short
☐ Average
☐ Long
☑ To infinity and beyond
---{ Price }---
☐ It's free!
☑ Worth the price
☐ If it's on sale
☐ If u have some spare money left
☐ Not recommended
☐ You could also just burn your money
---{ Bugs }---
☐ Never heard of
☑ Minor bugs
☐ Can get annoying
☐ ARK: Survival Evolved
☐ The game itself is a big terrarium for bugs
---{ ? / 10 }---
☐ 1
☐ 2
☐ 3
☐ 4
☐ 5
☐ 6
☐ 7
☑ 8
☐ 9
☐ 10

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