It's a common story: four friends with a love of games decide to get together and share their vision with the world. In the case of the unknown quartet who've called themselves Guild Software, the dream wasn't to create some acid-drenched homage to Pac-Man or mash together yet another rendition of Space Invaders, but to craft a fully-realised 3D universe populated by spaceships, big rocks and thousands of players. As a test-the-water debut, games don't come any more ambitious than Vendetta Online.
Set entirely in space, Vendetta follows in the grand tradition of Elite, Privateer: Righteous Fire and X: Beyond the Frontier, where you begin with a basic ship, a small amount of cash and a view to becoming either the richest or most notorious pilot in the galaxy. This is achieved either by buying and trading or simply by killing other ships. The main difference between this and the once-common space combat game is that rather than playing alone, Vendetta Online offers over 7000 solar systems to explore and potentially even more players to play alongside.
Against EVE Online, Vendetta's scope for adventure is initially more limited, with only trade, contract missions and combat offered as viable in-game careers. Mining, manufacturing and station management are all planned as later additions.
The Joy Of Sticks
Despite this the game appears to offer a much greater degree of accessibility than EVE, with a simple flight interface and clear and colourful graphics. (Although, much of the ease of play may be down to the fact that the universe is still a lot less established and competitive.)
Vendetta will at least feature a proper combat/flight model, one that could see that dusty old joystick coming out of retirement. Yes space fans, Vendetta allows you to control your ship r directly. Much as we enjoy EVE's RTS-style point-and-clickery, as true pilots we like to feel the vacuum of space on our cheeks and a joystick throbbing against our thighs (Speak for yourself -Ed).
With the slow demise of EA's Earth and Beyond and games like Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative closing in on their twilight years, space-based multiplayer gaming really could do with a boost right now. And despite its low key launch and bargain bin origins, Vendetta could be the game to provide it.
Could, that is, if the game can get itself set up on this side of the Atlantic. Currently on release in North America, there are no firm plans to bring the game to Europe until next year at the earliest. However, we're assured the client software will be made available to download and the game will be available to play across the US server.
Download Vendetta Online
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP