Star Conflict: The Most Fun I've Had Flying A Spaceship In Years
For us old-school gamers, we remember the original X-Wing fondly. And then we remember Tie Fighter even more fondly... not because the dark side had cookies, but because the game fixed a lot of frustrations about trying to play the game. Likewise the difference between Descent 1&2 and Descent Three - the devs spent a lot of time trying to make learning curve something that was more hill-like than vertical-line like.
The difference between X-Wing and Tie Fighter is the difference between the best of them and Star Conflict.
Star Conflict is a next step in space flight sims. And to boot, it's a free-to-play and cross-platform game. And it's easy to learn, hard to master, AND gorgeous. (All images in this post are taken in game from my system.)
What's held my attention with this game is that the reticule (y'know, the "aim and shoot crap" thing) is controlled by the mouse... and is not completely tied to ship movement. Enemy flying over your right shoulder? The guns completely naturally track with your mouse as the ship slowly yaws to follow.
(Yes, that's right, you console peasants. Mouse and keyboard FTW.)
This is seriously the best-designed space sim control UI I've encountered. The learning curve is there, yes. ("Lock onto enemy targeting me" is one keybind you'll want to customize.) But you can jump in front of this thing and be blasting at aliens (or other players) fairly effectively in a matter of minutes.
What really stuns me more than anything else is the effective and gorgeous graphics. I'm running integrated graphics on my linux laptop, and there's not a single bit of hesitation or lag. The load on my system is far less than that from L4D2 or TF2, even in a heated 20-ship PvP combat.
The free-to-play options are pretty effective and balanced; I bought a DLC upgrade to support the devs.
The one big frustration is that I can't effectively link FB accounts - for once, I want to, so that I can share the referral link so everybody gets some cool free stuff. I'm not sure what's wrong there; it could just be the excessive security I have around that stuff. So if you can, here's the code:
Check out Star Conflict on their web page: http://star-conflict.com/ or just install the thing FOR FREE on Steam at http://store.steampowered.com/app/212070/
And send me a friend request; I'm SenorWombat .