There are many that will scoff and turn up their nose at even the slightest whiff of the science-fiction RPG genre. Though the straight-laced RPG is one of the most popular genres on the planet, try taking the action into outer space just to see how many people whose interest you will lose immediately. It therefore takes some doing to convince sceptics that they should invest hours of their time in a game like Star Trader RPG Elite. After all, its complex set of rules and regulations (not to mention the fact that the game has a seriously hefty manual that looks like the table of contents from a website in 1995) is going to be intimidating to many. Should, then, you spend your time being a space-age resource-and-bounty hunter? It depends on how much time you are willing to invest…
One of the main selling points of the game (at least to those that enjoy the RPG genre substantially) is that it is somewhat of an open-ended affair. Though it has a beginning, it’s really up to you to determine how you’ll go about making it to the middle, and there’s not really any kind of end to speak of. This is because it’s an achievement or goal-oriented game that involves exploration of space, levelling up, and earning money by taking on missions.
The missions that the game offers include contracts that can be carried out on behalf of one of the many space factions (this earns you reputation points), the purchasing of goods for trading purposes (with an interface that looks like a space-age stock market screen), exploration of new and uncharted planetary systems. Because of the free-flowing nature of the game, you can end up getting yourself lost in hours of free roaming, doing whatever you want at the pace that you desire.
Contracts and Combat
There’s a nice combat mechanic involved with Star Traders RPG Elite; combat is an integral part of the game and is often entered in to when exploring as well as carrying out the various contracts that can be accepted during the course of your exploration. The combat screen is a rather simple one that displays the opposing ships as well as action buttons such as setting “Battle Stations”. Bear in mind that although you can attack any ship that you encounter in this manner, taking out an innocent cargo or merchant vessel is only going to lose you some reputation points. Note that the combat is also nowhere near as exciting or dynamic as it is in similar space games (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comes to mind here).
Contracts are where many of the conflict-minded people will find their true calling however. Contracts are sought out by you and come from any one of the several Space Factions in the game. There are different types of contracts: delivery of message, delivering of cargo, assassination, and spy contracts are all enjoyable. The most challenging and also the most rewarding however are the Bounty Hunter contracts. These require that you use the tracking and stealth skills required in the fugitive-hunt contracts, yet that you also employ the kind of caution you would in an assassination contract. Capturing a target is much more challenging than you may think, so don’t write the game off until you attempt one or two of these kinds of contract!
Bounty Hunting and More
Star Traders RPG Elite is about more than just bounty hunting of course. The wider game has all manner of challenges, from stock trading to upgrading, and from levelling up to discovering new parts of space. By far the most entertaining aspect of the game is its Contract mechanics however, and of the contracts, Bounty Hunting is the most challenging and enjoyable kind that there is.
The graphics are what you would expect of a mobile game, perhaps slightly above average even. The combat screen isn’t as dynamic as it could be however. In all, the aspiring bounty hunter has lots to be getting on with in this game, making it another success from developers Trese Brothers.