Dangerous: Tons of Combat, Lots of Quests, Goodly Amounts of Fun
The one (and pretty much only) downside to running this blog is how behind I get in my game queue. I have games on my list from late 2011 for chrissakes waiting to be covered. The reason for this — and I’m sorry devs — is trying to strike a balance between covering new games in as timely a manner as I can while still getting to my queue while still trying to maintain a balance everywhere else. :)
Take Dangerous here. I was contacted by the game’s developer back in December, 2011! Since then he — and I’m sure others — have been patiently waiting for me to cover the game. Fear not developers, while I might be behind, I WILL cover your game. ;) So why am I covering Dangerous right now, out of the order of the queue? Mostly to help separate it from the recently hullaballoed Elite: Dangerous, but to also to reward the dev’s patience. ;) With that said, let’s dive into the danger-filled universe of Dangerous and see what awaits (as if the title didn’t give it away, but humor me…). ;)
The game starts off in the far future, where you’ve been convicted of a horrible crime wherein millions of folks died. The powers that be change your name to “Dangerous” so you’ll be known and feared throughout the cosmos, and then send you to prison. A century later, you’re awoken from cryosleep to a new threat by people you don’t know and thrust out into the galaxy with an old ship armed with a couple of turrets and missile launchers.
Initially, I found Dangerous to be a bit confusing, honestly. The game has a good number of controls, and they’re kind of thrown at you in small text boxes. This could be my fault as reading, HAH, ain’t nobody got time for that! ;) Seriously though, due to either not enough info or impatience on my part, I kind of flailed around for a spell in the early part of the game. I was successful enough at combat, but it was only later I saw that I was doing it wrong. ;)
Eventually I made it far enough in the game wherein the person who awoke me made off for parts unknown, leaving me to my own self. At the point, the game gives you a choice of which perks to proceed with. You can be:
- A Rocketeer – Warp distances and limits don’t matter to you (And I was SO hoping it was from the movie…)
- A Trade Genius – You’re given a freighter to command remotely, on which to send trade runs…
- Explorer – Can use remote sensor probes to scan for derelict ships or new wormholes (I took this one)…
- Or the Generalist – No extra perks, though you can use experience to eventually learn the skills of the other three.
This choice gives you a slight boon toward your specific play style. Since I love exploring and finding stuff, the Explorer was just right for me. When I got to my first station, using the map in my quarters, I scanned around until I found two derelict ships, one an actual derelict I could salvage, and the other a Leviathan, which can apparently only be gawked at (I couldn’t find a way to interact with the things once the coast was clear). I left the station and plugged in a warp destination for it.
Since my stance on ships in an open space game is MUST HAVE ALL OF THEM, I was excited to find a new ship to try out. This led to some frustration as I flailed around hopefully at combat until I figured it out. I didn’t realize you had to lock on to a target first by clicking the little crosshairs next to its icon on the target list, THEN hit space to fire all your weapons. HERPADERP. Once I did that, I got a better handle on things, but it was still something of an uphill climb.
Now I have to be honest, as much as I do love this game — and I really am loving it, I’ve kept playing long after I put together the materials for this review — it has a problem with its learning curve on the PC I believe. It was initially made for tablets, so while the large buttons and radial interfaces make sense for that device, but felt less intuitive on a PC with a mouse. It also took me a while to determine which keys did which, as their descriptions didn’t — in my head at least — fully line up with what the buttons did on screen. Thankfully controlling the ship itself with the mouse is pretty intuitive. Once it began to click though — which didn’t take too long — things really, REALLY began to take off.
Like other games of its ilk, Dangerous has both a story-based campaign as well as a plethora of side-missions you can do. Sadly, I don’t even think the word “plethora” touches the enormity of the things to do in this game. Now, I’m a sucker for missions in games like these. TOTALLY love ’em. Other folks can do the trade run thing — and apparently this game allows you to set up trade runs and make money that way, but I didn’t dabble in that too much — or the mining thing, but I love missions. Therefore, imagine my delight when I saw that there are multiple levels of missions, each with multiple types within them. To explain, you have:
- Storyline Missions – Apparently there are eighteen of these, but they don’t happen right after another. For example after an early mission, I was given a task that would take quite a bit of time — I’ve not even done it yet — to move onto the next one. This gives you time to do other things, like…
- Freelance Missions – These are the types of missions you can get in the bar of any space station, and can include courier, escort, bounty hunting and other types of missions. These can not only pay handsomely, but improve your standing with the games multitude of factions (more on that in a bit).
- Dynamic Missions – These are missions generated on the fly based on what’s happening in the system, and usually involve someone asking for help, either from pirates or to fix their ship.
This means you’re never out of things to do. These varied missions, along with random encounters and probing for derelicts and such, kept me on a never-ending quest for more money, more XP and more stuff. It’s truly a busy, involved game.
It’s also a fully open, seemingly living universe. Even while you’re sitting in the hangar, you’ll see messages that people are taking off or landing. You’ll see different factions doing their thing, and they’ll react to you accordingly based on your standing with them. You’ll see people requesting help from pirate attacks. Then, leaving the station can see a random pirate attack ensue (and even with other ships around, they always seem to attack ME…but then again…I AM Dangerous…), and the game rewards you for tooling around on missions, trading, exploring and the like through experience points, which you use to boost skills such as piloting, specializing in specific ship types, faster lock-on times and so on. It’s like a constant stream of rewards just for doing what you’d normally do in a game like this, and it works brilliantly, in my opinion.
So once I got used to the interface — which isn’t that bad ultimately — and the combat, I’ve been having a GLORIOUS time with Dangerous. Sure, there a little oddities, like text being cut off in some screens, confusing equipment names (So my turret is a lgturret0 but I found ammo for an lgturret1 that I can’t use? Why not, game?), lacking explanations for certain commands (what the heck is the “Send Home” function in my faction screen, and where does it send my ships to?) whereas others have helpful question-marked help popups and in some cases, a lack of communication (what CAN I do with Leviathans, game?). Thankfully, these are small trifles and are overcome by the sheer fun and amount of stuff to DO in this game.
In regards to its presentation, it’s a mixed bag. Since this was made for tablets primarly (it seems, anyway), the graphics are a bit on the crude side, but serviceable and colorful. While this doesn’t bother an old-timer like me, if you’re a graphics-whore, you might be put off. The music, however, is simply a joy. The soundtrack was composed by Sean Beeson, and it ranges from epic to operatic to playful and everything in between. Each screen in a space station has its own music while the music can change dynamically in flight, and overall it fits the mood perfectly.
In conclusion, while the game has some slight oddities, and the learning curve is a bit hinky, once I got past that, I had — and am still having — a blast with Dangerous. It’s fun, intense, expansive and never running out of things to do. If you’re into open-world space trading/exploring/combat games, and don’t mind learning a slightly funky interface or not having cutting age graphics, Dangerous will likely keep you coming back to it over and over again.
Speaking of which, I was told that the developer has a MASSIVE update coming out in February which adds planetary landing and flight, new graphics for planetary rings and other objects, ship ejecting and third person boarding actions. Dang, sounds like it’s all gonna get a lot more dangerous out there…;).
Anyway, I encourage you to check out the demo of the game, as it’s a ton of fun. I also invite you to view the gallery of all the screenshots I took below. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!