Throwback Thursday: Nexus: The Jupiter Incident

Posted Jul 10, 2015
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Perhaps one of the most underrated yet most remarkable genres that I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing is that of the intensely story-based RTS ship combat simulator. The epic story arc that follows the harrowing events that could very well shape the future of humankind.. Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is probably more entertaining than you might believe, even after 11 years.

Sailing through the stars and devastating adversaries in Nexus: The Jupiter Incident.

The journey begins with a great tutorial that tries its very hardest to help you with an exorbitant learning curve. You’re working for one of many corporations that have taken over control of space beyond the Moon. The first mission is quite simple, helping you along where necessary and willing you to pause it with the spacebar often to read the helpful messages and issue the appropriate commands. After you inadvertently run into a mine that didn’t properly get disarmed, you’ll then be thrown softly into some incredibly gorgeous combat scenes.

This RTS game strips away the normal resource collection and instead lets you focus on the thing that matters most, and in a most spectacular way; combat. 

The action isn’t fast by any stretch of the word, though. It’s positively slow and deliberate. In fact it sometimes even feels a bit cumbersome with your big cruiser lobbying for position in the most aggravating and slow way. But once in position and your fighters have been launched to ward off any enemy fighters, then you can commence the broadside. And it’s all about control You’ve got options to take out these ships that are threatening you. Want to disable weapons first and then board them for

Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is intense, very intense. If you pay attention to the story you’ll be greeted by a deep and invigorating plot with better than average voice acting and a tremendous amount of great action-packed battles. The story isn’t half bad, either. You’re Marcus Cromwell, the offspring of the first person born in space, Richard Cromwell who signed a treaty to end a conflict on Earth when he was 10 years old. So you have quite a lot to live up to. Your father was lost when he entered a wormhole with a colony ship hoping to colonize whatever lie on the other side. You’re headed to Jupiter to transport some commercial goods and end up battle along the way, the beginnings of what might just be a nexus of sorts, perhaps even a incident surrounding the planet Jupiter.

Should you choose to enjoy this retro gem, you’ll note a quite well thought out story with a lot of tragedy in store for you. It’s very imaginative. It’s not quite a novel level integration of prose and gameplay, but it works and is convincing enough. The narrative prompts the action, and vice versa.

The strong point of Nexus: The Jupiter Incident are these very involved battles. When you engage in warfare here you have very intricate control over what your weapons do. Choose to disable their engines first so they can’t keep moving out of range, then concentrate fire on their flak cannon so you can board them. Then, and only if you’re feeling merciless, you can snap the hull in half like a frail twig. Just be sure to pull in your fighters before you lose any.

The graphics are still not that bad considering the age. The extensive use of vertex and shader effects still looks great, surprisingly enchanting to look at. The parametric particle system still holds its own too, even though it’s missing the finer particle implementations present with DX11. The backdrops are also equally as nice, even if a bit low-resolution than we might be used to. Overall still a rather beautiful game still.

There are some strange idiosyncrasies of this particular genre that do seem a bit annoying, however. For one, the only way that you can control movement is by selecting objectives pre-populated on screen or by selecting an action on an object. There’s coming in from behind because the weapons are all facing forward. It’s a little weird getting used to that, because the only way to get your ships to move is by activating something, sensors, weapons or anything to make it move towards the bad guy.

Some of the missions are also so incredibly hard that they require a sort of trial and error approach to them. Because you can just keep restarting the missions from the beginning, you have to see what tactics work best until the final outcome you want is achieved. It’s kind of frustrating to constantly know you’re probably going to be playing it a few times to get it right. A lot of missions aren’t very forgiving.

But those battles! Oh the spectacular fireworks are just a work of wondrous art when you finally engage in heated battles. Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is most assuredly centered around the intricacies of battle, and it’s here where it excels immensely.

It was a pleasure revisiting this again, and it still surprises with it’s ability to provide a fun, yet very challenging, time.

 

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