Frontier: First Encounters
Old? Old? Did someone say old? Probably not but it's as good a lead-in as any. We've included Frontier First Encounters simply because no one in the office could agree whether HardWar counted as a space combat sim. For the record, I disagreed because it's set on one of Saturn's moons and not in space. Richie thinks I'm being anal but we have to draw the line somewhere, lest we collapse into anarchy.
Anyway, Frontier First Encounters caused one hell of a storm initially. A second sequel to the classic space trader Elite, Frontier First Encounters was supposed to boost the graphics, the options and the realism. It didn't, and was full of bugs.
Instead it rehashed old themes, proved completely unworkable and crashed just about every machine it was installed on. Patch after patch followed, but the public's unrest just kept growing, with calls to boycott Gametek (the publishers), kill David Braben and storm parliament (almost).
With hindsight, it all seems a bit harsh. It's by no means perfect, but when you finally get an almost workable version, it isn't too bad a game. The combat sucks, but then this is probably down to Braben's over-reliance on realistic flight physics. This is a game where spaceships have turning circles of several months if they are going fast enough.
The trading is as nice an option as it always was in the Elite games and the sense of freedom - the feeling that you can pretty much do whatever you want, remains. The variety in missions also keep things ticking along nicely. Sadly, it could never be enough to fight off the onslaught that the Wing Commander series unleashed. It's like the difference between Hollywood and the Welsh film industry.
Download Frontier: First Encounters
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP