Black Prophecy Tactics: Nexus Conflict Proxzor Impressions
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Have you ever wanted to fly a spaceship? Well, what kind of question is that actually, of course you do! Who doesn’t want to fly their own ship in space and fight pirates and other criminal scum that roam the dark reaches of space? It’s all possible in Black Prophecy Tactics: Nexus Conflict, a Sci-Fi title that takes place in the world of Black Prophecy, a space flight sim that was launched by gamigo in mid-2011. Now is your chance to become part of the war, fight for control of enemy controlled and neutral regions and defend them when needed. Since I played its predecessor I couldn’t wait to see what they learned from their previous success.
Even though the game is still in Closed Beta and subject to changes, the community seems to expect major improvements from its predecessor. Now don’t take me wrong, Black Prophecy is a brilliant game with top notch production value for free-to-play MMO. But it also had some mistakes and just lacked enough features and content to entertain me longer than a month. As soon as I glanced at the features list on the site I knew this would not be an issue the second time. There will be 18 different ship types ranging from small corvettes to gigantic carriers. Black Prophecy offered decent customization but 18 entirely unique ship types if a whole new level. There will also be 30 regions in Black Prophecy Tactics: Nexus Conflict and 22 of those can be conquered. PVP is also given a much heavier focus this time around.
Now before jumping into the game, I was skeptical about this new PvP focused direction. To succeed in this mission they would need a world that was enjoyable to fight over, as well as rpg elements that would keep players coming back for more. 30 regions initially didn’t seem like a lot of room to play with in an MMO but perhaps they were large regions? BP Tactics also promises 350 ship modules to allow comprehensive upgrades and individualized equipping of battleships. This sounded like a strong start to me as that many variations would hopefully prevent cookie cutter builds from dominating in PvP. There will also be some sort of skill system to increase the number of tactics at a player’s disposal in combat. And last but not least there will be tactical roles in a group. Now you might be thinking huh tactical roles, this isn’t World of Warcraft? Nope it’s not and that’s why I am really curious to see how this will work out. It’s hard to imagine rolling as a tank, healer, or damage dealer in space.
So let’s roll into the game, first off I got the choice between two Factions. The Geniden and the Tyi, The Geniden are the first of the new human species. They were bred on Sabiador and hardly require any sleep and also heal from wounds fairly quickly. They are also able to communicate telepathically, and most of them are resistant to plagues and diseases. They think quickly and are able to observe ultrasonic and infrasonic sound and have a long life expectancy.
The Tyi is the other human species, their genetic alteration also originated on the planed of Sabiador but since they had reached a population of millions, the final frontier became their new home. The Tyi are striving for self-determination and traveled to the stars to found the new mighty colonies of Atebathos, Muma and Irata IV.
I chose to go with the Geniden because I felt going the route of a suicide bomber as a species with an incredibly long life expectancy was completely boss. All I lacked was a suitable name to match this philosophy. I finally settled on Bob123 and was ready to board my first vessel! Oh wow these buttons, these graphics… This style of interface seemed quite familiar. Oh that’s right, well I’m not going to name it but they certainly have had a good look over at another game that’s for sure. Even the controls, the name, the way your ship moves and flies and turns its… I have definitely seen this before. However despite enjoying the UI immensely, I was deeply disappointed in the look of my miserable startership. I seriously hoped at the time that the rest of the ships will look a ton better because well… a 3 year old with Legos could make something better looking than my flying scrap metal.
Now when I first tried the original Black Prophecy, I was excited as the game was actually refreshing and new. By playing Black Prophecy you knew it was trying to muscle in on the audience EVE had built in the SciFi space flight genre, but in a way that was far separated from the foundations EVE was established on. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about Black Prophecy Tactics: Nexus Conflict. Sure I mean this game is still in Closed Beta but I seriously have the feeling now that I am playing Eve Online from a much earlier build. I still play EVE Online regularly and as a Black Prophecy fan this really hurts to see.
Now I will admit not everything is just recycled features from EVE. The mini cam for instance allows you to see useful statistics while fighting off an enemy. You will see when his shields go down, when it’s low on health and when it’s exploding. But besides that the sounds, graphics, and overall interface just lacked the visceral power that a space flight title needs. When shooting my laser for the first time it felt like I was scanning my enemy instead of actually trying to hurt it.
As stated above the graphics department is lacking compared to some competitors in this genre. I feel the excellent ship customization options are just lacking when the graphical representation is done so poorly.
Despite bearing the Black Prophecy name, I found this title to be nothing like its successor. While the successor breaks the mold in production value, story, and overall responsiveness of flight in an MMO, BP Tactics simply copies tried and true formulas but falls flat on the overall execution. The heavier focus on PvP content seems to be the strongest point of this title, and one they will have to rely heavily on to compete in this market. I look forward to seeing this title after its full launch to see if they can put together the rest of the pieces to make a complete and enjoyable title.