Nexus: The Jupiter Incident E3 2004 Impressions

This space strategy game features gorgeous graphics and beautiful vessels.

Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is a space strategy game that sort of reminds us of Homeworld and Homeworld 2. But the big difference is that Nexus doesn’t feature any kind of resource gathering or construction of any kind; it’s all about the combat.

The game is designed to be easy to play, and there are two levels, one for beginners and one for micromanagers. The easiest play mode uses a simple point-and-click interface. You can issue orders to your ship, such as "close the distance" or "maintain distance from the enemy," and you can tell them to target specific portions of the enemy. But if you want more control, you can switch to the more advanced interface, which allows you to totally tweak all your ship’s systems. It’s not a hardcore simulation, but it should definitely appeal to space strategy fans.

Nexus looks beautiful, and the graphics engine incorporates bump-mapping and all the latest lighting and shadowing effects. The capital ship designs are also beautiful, and the various races have distinct themes; one race has an almost insectoid-like look to its ships. Meanwhile, fighters buzz around capital ships like bees around the hive.

The multiplay will support up to eight players in skirmish mode, and the developers envision having some kind of points system to maintain score. The game will have six playable races, with a large number of ship classes, ranging from fighters to massive capital ships. Another aspect of the game involves your crew; they can gain experience over time, so it’s important to keep officers alive as long as possible.

The game looks very promising, and there has certainly been a dearth of good space strategy games for the PC. Nexus is scheduled to ship in October.

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