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Disputed Space Review

Disputed Space Review

Starting a new game, I was instantly loaded into the cockpit of my very own spaceship, backed by a huge fleet of light fighters and large carrier ships I was prepared to defend Earth from an unknown enemy. As I waited for the enemy fleet to warp in, the first thing I noticed was just how beautiful the environment was, vibrant nebulas and beautifully lit planets break up the void that is space. The cockpit of my ship felt mundane in comparison and I was concerned about the limited number of screens to display the status of my ship. In fact there were only two, one to display my shield and health status and another displaying what weapons I have equipped and the recharge bar of the afterburner. As enemies began to pop out of warp I had to stop scrutinising the limited HUD of my ship and instead shield my eyes as the entire screen lit up in a swarm of lasers, missiles and explosions.

Frantically hitting buttons, I managed to find the targeting key, which was the only way I was able to distinguish friend from foe amongst the seizure-inducing laser party. This game should really come with a epilepsy warning. Getting into pursuit of an enemy the first thing I noticed about the controls is, while very responsive, they do not react as if I was piloting a ship. Instead, it felt as if there were engines attached to all sides a box resulting in near instanoues changes of direction and speed. Because of the way the ship handles it is very easy to catch up to enemy fighters, in fact a little too easy. Rather than getting into pursuit of an enemy ship, it is possible to get close enough to strafe in circles around them and occasionally use the afterburner to close any distance. This makes the combat element of the game extremely dull because there is no need to perform any kind of evasive maneuvers or quick movements to keep an enemy in my sights.

disputedSpace 1

When an enemy ship is destroyed several power-ups can be picked up from the remains, these power ups may unlock new weapons, upgrade existing ones or restore shields and health. That is when I was able to collect one, once an enemy ship is destroyed these power ups are sent hurtling away from the wreckage making it very difficult to collect just one of the five or six power-ups it drops. Towards the end of my play session I began to ignore the power ups because aside from unlocking new weapons there was really no need. The game is not punishing enough to bother to actively look for health or shield restores and an upgraded weapon feels no different to its starting level. In fact there was very little difference between each weapon aside from its visual effect. A few of the later weapons I preferred not to use because the muzzle flash was so intense they strained my eyes after just a few minutes of use.

The game provides no real challenge and the only punishment for death is losing some points from the overall score. I began experimenting with just how easy Disputed Space was by handicapping myself and not moving my ship. It became clear that the enemy AI was developed to fire at a moving target because most of their shots would fly just over my shoulder while I remained stationary. While I did suffer a few deaths it was no more than if I were moving. After clearing several stages with very little effort I began to question if there was such a thing as a fail state in Disputed Space so I decided to handicap myself again, by leaving the game to play itself for over an hour. I left my chair while I was on level seven, considering there are thirty levels I believed it would be safe to assume that the game would require some player input to progress to the next level. This is not the case, when I returned over an hour later the friendly AI had managed to progress to level 16 without my help and was still going strong. I thought that perhaps my friendly AI got lucky so I decided to open the level select and start on the hardest mode on the end level. Once again I left my chair again for an hour, when I had returned there were three or four light enemy ships remaining, the AI had managed to defeat the enemy on the hardest mode on the last level without any player input. The objective of the game is to protect the large carriers in my fleet and the game will push regular updates if one is under attack of if their shields are down, however, because of how easy the game is I was never able to find out what happens if all friendly carriers are destroyed.

disputedSpace 2

Disputed Space feels as if it completely skipped the testing stage and went straight to sale. The game plays itself, it does not need any player input for the friendly AI to complete each level. There is no challenge in the gameplay, from movement to the shooting mechanics everything is extremely simplified and easy. While the particle effects are pretty to look at they almost completely blot out the player’s vision, adding the extreme muzzle flash of the some weapons this game is extremely harsh on the eyes and difficult to play for long periods of time. There is no disputing that this title is unpolished, untested and really not worth anyone's time.

3.00/10 3

Disputed Space (Reviewed on Windows)

The game is unenjoyable, but it works.

Disputed Space feels as if it completely skipped the testing stage and went straight to sale. The game plays itself, it does not need any player input for the friendly AI to complete each level. There is no challenge in the gameplay, from movement to the shooting mechanics everything is extremely simplified and easy. While the particle effects are pretty to look at they almost completely blot out the player’s vision, adding the extreme muzzle flash of the some weapons this game is extremely harsh on the eyes and difficult to play for long periods of time. There is no disputing that this title is unpolished, untested and really not worth anyone's time.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Kayla Hill

Kayla Hill

Social Manager

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COMMENTS

Acelister
Acelister - 11:56am, 5th February 2018

"difficult to play for long periods of time"? Clearly you can play for a couple of hours without being in the chair...

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LittleBigBoots
LittleBigBoots - 02:08pm, 5th February 2018 Author

That is a very valid point! The game is misleading with all of its fancy particle effects making you beleive that the the fleet your defending is in real danger. It becomes apparent very quickly that this is not the case and saps any enjoyment it might offer.

Reply
Wensleydale
Wensleydale - 08:48pm, 6th February 2018

Maybe it's a niche product. A game to play when you don't really feel like playing a game. Load it up and walk away, confident you won't feel like an emasculated failure because you'll win anyway.

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LittleBigBoots
LittleBigBoots - 09:04pm, 6th February 2018 Author

I think you're onto something there...

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