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Evochron Legends is the latest installment of the series of mercenary space-pilot games from Starwraith 3D Games. Set in a huge immersive gaming universe, the game possesses a sandbox method of gameplay coupled with a loosely structured set of missions.
Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7, the game requires a minimum of 2.0 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM on XP or 1.5 GB on Vista or Windows 7, Evochron Legends also requires a 128 MB DirectX compatible video card and 250 MB of Hard Disk space.
You can visit the official Starwraith 3D Games website to download a free demo of Evochron Legends.
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Your spacecraft in Evochron Legends possesses a considerable array of controls from inertia management to up and down thrusters to various HUD related controls and a variety of onscreen readings and displays. Travel throughout the universe is achieved either by your crafts warp drive and afterburners or by a series of warp gates. Crucially however there is no requirement to stick rigidly to these warp gates, allowing for greater exploration.
All of this makes for a restrictive opening session as you get used to things - missing out on the tutorial if you're new to the Evochron games is not advised: you don't want things to get too huge and open-ended before you know what is going on.
Mining, crafting, fighting and racing are all new elements (or aspects of gameplay that have been enhanced) and they add considerable depth to the game, particularly if you're opting to take your time playing the storyline missions.
Evochron Legends features a massic in-game universe in which every object can be interacted with, planets can be investigated and larger vessels flown around - there's so much to see and do in this game!
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In game voice work is good, particularly the tutorial - many developers miss out on providing good tutorials but the Evochron Legends in game help is considerable.
Sadly the general gaming sound effects are limited and while there is more good voice work in game the lack of decent thruster or laser gun samples is disappointing - there's nothing new in these sound effects that hasn't been done or touched upon in other games.
What is really missing from Evochron Legends however is some sort of space soundtrack - either an aggressive pumping bass-lead track or a traditional piece of space-inspired classical music.
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From the nebulas to the spacecraft design, Evochron Legends features some great graphics. Although not the superb hi res models of some FPS games, the depth and breadth of object design in this game is impressive. Add to this the fact that every celestial body can be interacted with then you've got to appreciate the work that has gone into the look of the game.
However the cockpit itself is disappointing, and given that this is from where almost all of the game takes place, it's a difficult thing to ignore.
Luckily Evochron Legends' adaptability to a myriad of screen resolutions is another aspect in its favour, while different settings can be enabled or disabled to improve the game's responsiveness.
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Immersive Space Game
As is common with space trading and combat games, Evochron Legends requires a good deal of time to get into so you can develop your character and the vessel under your command.
There are obvious similarities with the earlier Evochron Renegades game and Freelancer, however if you're new to space combat games on the PC but have knowledge of some retro titles, probably the closest game out there to Evochron Legends is Elite II: Frontier.
Similarities include the of depth of the gameplay, the complex combination of flight controls and the attempts to make flight as realistic as possible such as the differences experienced maneuvering your craft in space and in planetary atmospheres.
Although the flight controls are initially somewhat daunting, once you've got past this a huge immersive gaming experience awaits...