After a brief overnight camping trip the wife and I returned home and spent the day vegging out. There clothes to be unpacked, a sink full of dishes to be washed and all manner of laundry to be done; much of this went ignored. Rather, we played video games for most of the day. The misses pressed on through her third (or is it fourth) play through of Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2. I invested a good six hours into Infinite Space.
I’ve discussed my love of Infinite Space briefly in one of the recent Tuesday Top 5’s, but the more I play it the more I realize how shallow at least a portion of its appeal to me is. Not to say it’s a shallow game. It’s actually one of the better DS RPGs released this year actually. The story is pure, wonderful space opera and despite having a J stuck before the RPG bit, it avoids many of the pitfalls of forced quirkiness that subgenre frequently subjects gamers to. In short, the story actually makes sense, the characters are likeable and the more I play the more I want to know.
The gameplay is a bit mixed at times. When I first started playing it, I thought it was a revelation. It was simple but seemed challenging, and it had spaceships! As time has pressed on though and I’ve come to a better grasp on the game, the challenge has given away, the simplicity is no longer so appealing and all I’m really left with is the excitement of watching spaceships blow the hell out of each other time and again.
And somehow that is enough. For it’s flaws, I’ve been glued to my DS all day happily watching as my ships run through nearly identical battle sequences time and again. This might bother other gamers but honestly, that’s what most RPGs are any ways. It’s no worse then grinding my way through Final Fantasy back in the early 90s, and while the game is easy at the moment when the difficulty picks up it can be a really suspenseful game.
And yes, the visuals bring me joy. I loved Star Wars growing up and while the Jedi have basically become the bee’s knees of the franchise, I’ve always loved the epic space battles best. The sort the chips are down, the odds are against the good guys and they seem to win only through sheer force of will. It’s part of what kept drawing me back to Homeworld in high school and it’s what keeps the combat of Infinite Space appealing to me. Sure it can get a bit repetitive but watching my fleet fire off a barrage of lasers and missiles always fascinates me. Building and customizing my fleet fascinates me. Basically anything with space ships earns my approval.
Well, unless they’re from Star Trek. The Enterprise blows.