By outdoors I mean IN SPACE. Less trees and wildlife, more gravity hazards.
For the longest time, I’ve been looking for a free-roam spaceship-type game. The second I finished Evochron Mercenary’s thorough, well-done (slightly wordy) tutorial, I promptly activated my fulcrum jump drives and rammed myself right into an asteroid. I was quite dead. That’s not a ploy to turn you against the game, oh no. The point to be made from that little incident is that the learning curve is rather high due to the multitude of game mechanics and plentiful controls. I’ll do my best to give you the short version, but…
First order of business, I might as well tell you what activities are up and available to you from the get-go. Evochron Mercenary is a game with no end; plot is defined by player-set goals, most of which will be some means of making money. You can take up contracts with trading station, trade goods to anyone with credits on them, mine asteroids or planets, explore nebulae, engage pirates or enemies in space dogfights, or die terribly. I absolutely recommend avoiding the last one.
Contracts consist of gathering goods, finding items, delivering goods to warships, cleaning solar arrays, taking part in space races, and destroying asteroids. As far as I know, these are all civilian contracts. I’m not very far into the game, so the military contracts have yet to appear. I assume those are all about protecting convoys and blowing up enemy ships, and that they all pay much more.
Equipment comes next. Your initial Talon frame ship begins with three equipment slots and three cargo slots. Most ships have room for a beam weapon and a particle cannon, and loads of room for secondary weapons. I’ve only seen missiles for secondary weapons thus far, but there may be more.
Standard equipment slots begin with a slow shield generator, a short-range warp drive, and a tractor/mining beam. They can be replaced with hull auto-repair mechanisms, cargo scanners, weapon charge boosters, and other assorted goodies, so be thorough when checking the shops. You’d never want to miss a discounted upgrade.
Since that’s all I’ve really been up to, as this game is a long-term commitment, I’ll give you some tips on stuff I’ve come across.
Tip one: Don’t be afraid of bumping into solar panels or asteroids if you’re already close to them. Your shields will prevent you hull from taking damage. Even so, I wouldn’t approach an asteroid with set velocity anywhere over 200.
Tip two: When flying planetary, go as fast as you want until your ship notifies you of the gravity field. At that point, drop your set velocity to 1100 or under, and then 800 or under if you want to fly around inside the atmosphere.
Tip three: Buy upgraded cargo bays as quickly as possible. Do this by entering a trading station, selecting the option to leave your ship, selecting the option to modify your ship, then hit the cargo button and upgrade it from there. Should be relatively cheap, but bring at least 50,000 credits with you in case you want to upgrade something else.
Tip four: Travel extensively. You’ll run into lots of fun stuff.
Nathaniel Velliquette of TruePCGaming slaps a big old “mediocre but fun” on Evochron Mercenary, and lack the free-roam space game expertise to recant or concur that label. I can agree that it’s rather slow paced and mellow, thus not a perfect choice for absolutely everyone. Personally, I adore it because of how relaxing and aesthetic its environments are. Don’t tell anyone, but I love hiding out in nebulae and watching the ion storms. Here’s the review link: http://truepcgaming.com/2012/06/01/evochron-mercenary-review/