Rebel Galaxy Outlaw impressions: more than just a Wing Commander spoof

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw impressions: more than just a Wing Commander spoofRebel Galaxy Outlaw impressions: more than just a Wing Commander spoof

Booting up Rebel Galaxy Outlaw for the first time last week, I nearly lost my appetite for the spacefaring shooter. Inside the cockpit, the prequel to 2015’s Rebel Galaxy feels clunky and outdated. Once on the outside of the ship, however, the game opens up. Playing in third-person makes it feel like a completely different game. Announced just one year ago this month, Outlaw is a tribute to the golden age of space combat games. If you grew up with a Gravis joystick in your hand, whaling away at enemy ships in the TIE Fighter or the Wing Commander series, you’re in luck. Double Damage is aping that style right down to its menu interface, which is rendered in the same sort of pastel palette common on many CGA monitors from the same era. Inside the game’s cramped cockpits, the action can be a bit muddy. There’s no way to see out any side windows of your ships, which means you’re stuck staring through the forward-facing canopy while tiny enemy vessels go flitting by. Tap down on the directional pad — the FAQ says the game supports joysticks, but its flight model isn’t sophisticated enough to warrant them — and you’re kicked out to a third-person chase camera. That’s where the feel of the game changes completely. Once outside the ship, Outlaw’s excellent camera model comes into its own. It reacts well to aggressive maneuvers, giving a sense of momentum and acceleration that simply doesn’t translate well ...
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