Enter a new era of Kerbals learning the unlikely skill of rocketry, from wannabe aerospace engineers to… “explosives technicians” in our Kerbal Space Program 2 early access first impressions!
First of all, I’ll pick the low hanging fruit by saying that the first thing to leave the launchpad was not the Kerbals, but my poor computer. I played this on a slightly higher end computer, yet the fans ran hard enough and hot enough to cause the monitor I’m writing this impression on to fail slightly from the cable overheating. Kerbal Space Program 2 in its current early access state does look incredible, but probably will need optimisations in order to hit broader appeal.
Stepping away from performance though, let’s talk about my experience of the Kerbal Space Program 2 early access, from Ground Control to Major Tom.
Cue training montage.
Ready to Launch!
One key difference about Kerbal Space Program 2 from the get go is that there are tutorials, planned and implemented, that are designed to encourage new players into the massive undertaking of learning orbital mechanics and rocketry. After all, it is rocket science. It’s a welcome addition compared to the steep learning curve of the first entry!
I started in the Training Center, where they had cute, snappy videos about all the steps you’d need to take to reach the moon. This new attitude to tutorials might be what the franchise needs to get new aspiring young kerbonauts into the franchise.
The Vehicle Assembly Building has LOTS of options. It’s a large improvement from it’s predecessor, where many parts have been simplified. It really helped with my engineering design skills of “point rocket nozzle down”.
We have liftoff!
After many failed launches, following the tutorials got me to orbit quite fast! And going on your first spacewalk is a precious moment not replicated by many other games. Going to the moon shouldn’t be too hard… right?
This Kerbal probably isn’t making it home…
Kerbal Space Program 2 Early Access – The Kraken Strikes
Tales of a beast that cripples your ship at sea swim in my ear… If you have any knowledge of this franchise, you see where this is going.
Kerbal Space Program’s community affectionately calls the ability for the game’s physics engine to mangle your spacecraft with little to no reason or warning, the Kraken. The developers of the sequel apparently took the challenge of “Killing the Kraken”, ridding the sequel of game ending bugs. Needless to say, it looks like they only, uh, angered it.
When something goes wrong, blame the Kraken.
The experience from here on out was honestly taxing. Doing any activities more complex than the basics was met with bugs that would ruin hours long flights in unfair ways. I was given some tips on how to avoid some of these, which helped with persevering towards the moon, but I spent more time fighting the game than playing it. After many attempts, I got a ship on a course for the moon, braced for landing…
The culmination of learning needed to get to this point made this feel like a real accomplishment. I’m sure this satisfaction might not be new to veterans of the original, but it was worth the struggle to get here. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that when you get a moment to be still and take it in, the game looks brilliant.
Touchdown! Look how happy this Kerbal is to be alive (for now).
Kerbal Space Program 2 Early Access – The Next Big Steps
Whilst for a newcomer, this felt like a wide sandbox of infinite possibility, the predecessor had many more features for a more complete game. It’s entirely within the developers intentions to implement the best parts of the original, and even create new space-age tech, like colonies and interstellar travel.
I also think it is entirely reasonable to hold off on purchasing this game during its early access phase unless you’re a Kerbal fanatic. Whilst it’s a magnificent foundation for a great game to come, paying $80 AUD for a game this early in it’s life is steep. Considering the relationship between the community that forged the original into what it was, this release to the die hard fans is the fuel the game needs to blast off towards its ambitions.
Speaking of fuel… I don’t think my kerbal is getting home.
A stranded kerbal on the moon could inspire an entire rescue mission worthy of its own story. It might be a while before someone comes to get him, but I look forward to seeing where this game goes. And who knows, maybe his taxi home will be in a full review.
A code was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of our Kerbal Space Program 2 early access first impressions. Be sure to check our reviews when our Kerbal Space Program 2 is live when the game officially launches, and in the mean time join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about KSP2!