Replaying Independence War 2

Replaying Independence War 2

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Commentary |

Watching (and then re-watching) Guardians of the Galaxy has led me to revisit an old space sim game called Independence War 2. What makes the game stand out from other space sims is its use of Newtonian physics. I’m linking the Wikipedia article because I don’t want to explain it here, but let’s just say that the physics of the game makes it difficult to pilot spacecraft, let alone engage in dogfights with them. It makes the gameplay challenging, sometimes infuriatingly so, but it’s also what it makes it rewarding.

I-War 2 is among the games that I never finished back in the day. Playing it again now has made me realize how much of it I got wrong. One of the major mistakes is how I engaged in one of its major themes: piracy. In the old days I used to hang out around ports and hubs, waiting for transports with lots of cargo. That rarely happened, and when it did the transports were accompanied by 2-4 escort ships. I had trouble taking even one of them out so fighting four was out of the question. I’d usually end up looking for transports with no escorts and they’d only have 1-2 cargo pods, maybe 3 if I was lucky.

I wanted to get more out of my trouble so I decided to try something different. Instead of going to the ports and hubs I went to a Lagrange point. In I-War 2, a Lagrange point or L-point is a place where ships can warp in and out of a system, making it an ideal spot for raiding vessels. They’re almost always guaranteed to be busy with ship traffic, making them potentially profitable.

I say potentially because there’s still the problem of the escort ships. To get around that I tried hit-and-run tactics: I’d hit the transports to make them drop their cargo then make a run for it. The escorts usually gave up chasing me after I put in some distance. They’d then go back to their routine of protecting the now cargo-free transports and depart from the L-point shortly afterwards, leaving the cargo behind. It’s not the bravest of tactics, but I’d usually end up with 8-10 cargo pods per transport—a far cry from my previous efforts.

I’m going to try to finish the game this time. And I need to do it quickly while I can still remember what I’m trying to do with Etrian Odyssey. For now, I’m looking forward to getting a new ship. It’s a scripted event requiring story progression so while it’s guaranteed to happen, there’s still a need to get to that point. I just hope I can retain enough focus to get there.