The game designers also went back to the drawing board to design new weapons, one of the cooler changes being the addition of old-style machine guns in lieu of stereotypical laser cannons for a space-themed game.
With expansion comes variety. Escape Velocity: Nova’s list of items available for purchase has grown significantly and this can be used to the player’s advantage. There are now exciting new items as well as entirely new varieties of items players were already familiar with. If a player simply takes some time to read over the item descriptions while they’re shopping, they’re sure to find something that matches their playing style. The tools available to the player have grown and there’s something for everyone.
Once again, the game designers have left room for the game to grow at the hands of its user base. Escape Velocity: Nova’s Plug-ins folder, much like the Plug-ins folder for Escape Velocity and Escape Velocity: Override, allows for players to create and install their own Plug-in files. In years past, custom Plug-ins changed the entire look, feel and play of the game. Users could tack on to and alter their game files, creating their own custom ships, sounds, plot lines and scenarios with ease. With a little determination, players’ dreams came true as they found themselves adding ships and stories from the Star Wars, Star Trek and Babylon 5 universes as well as anything their caffeine-addled brains could think of. The mod scene is once again in a position to expand on an already very promising new installment of the Escape Velocity series.
The core of what makes Escape Velocity fun remains intact and has become better than ever: galactic domination. This element of the game once had half a dozen skeptical PC users crouched around my beleaguered blueberry iBook for four hours at a New Year’s party discussing how to conquer the universe and is perhaps the main reason for the millions of hours of sleep lost by Escape Velocity’s fan base.
In Escape Velocity: Nova, players can still take on the universe provided their ship is adequately equipped to do so. In order to do this, players must simply contact a planet, demand tribute and defeat the defensive forces the planet sends to destroy them in order to conquer the planet and receive tribute (the most consistent and profitable cash influx available, this will build up and literally provide more money than you can spend if done correctly). The joy of the game remains with this, but be warned that while this sounds fun, it may not be wise to make this the main goal of the game. Altering control of a planet can affect the game dramatically, causing storylines not to work. In the end, it may be best to try to be a good citizen while standing on your own throughout the galaxy.
Ambrosia and ATMOS have kept with the times, Escape Velocity: Nova shipping in both Classic and OS X-compatible formats (both formats ran amazingly well on my G4/733 under the 9.1, 9.2.1 and OS 10.1 operating systems and smoothly on my original blueberry iBook under 9.1 and 9.2.1). The RAM and hard drive requirements are in a state of flux at this stage of the betas, but from what can be seen, Escape Velocity: Nova will be nothing short of amazing when it ships.