Kerbal Space Program - PS4 - Game review

Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program - PS4 - Game review

With news about Kerbal Space Program 2’s release being just around the corner, a good look at the reason behind the success of the Kerbal Space Program is probably in order. Kerbal Space Program (henceforth KSP) is quite an old game, having originally been released in the beta version in 2011 on publisher Squad’s website, with the full game being released in 2015.

The game is essentially a simulation game, where players take control of a species of creatures called “Kerbals” and run their space agency, building different rockets and aircraft to explore Kerbin (the equivalent of Earth in KSP) and the rest of the Kerbals’ solar system.

The game received a 9 out of 10 on the Steam store and had two expansion packs released for it, Making History and Breaking Ground, released in 2018 and 2019 respectively. While KSP isn’t exactly impressive for their graphics or realism, it does have a highly attractive gameplay experience that gives it the huge player base it has today.

KSP mainly has the player do one of two activities: managing the space agency and building rockets or flying the rockets with Kerbals inside them. The game offers players three different game-modes: Sandbox, Science, and Career. In Sandbox mode, players have no restrictions and can play all the aspects of the game.

This game-mode can help new players learn the controls and begin to understand how the game works. However, older players may find the Science and Career modes more engaging, due to the presence of a goal.

In the Science and Career modes, players start with only a few unlocked parts; the rest need to be unlocked by researching technologies like “Advanced Rocketry” and “Manned Exploration” in the Research and Development department of the space agency.

Technologies require “Science Points” to unlock, which can be gained by flying different spacecraft to different planets and moons and performing research there, including the taking of surface samples and the analysis of scientific instruments attached to the player’s spacecraft.

In Career mode, the player must also manage finances, including the acceptance of contracts to be performed by the space agency (such as launching satellites or reaching new heights of Kerbal space exploration) in exchange for funding and reputation points.

There’s also a difficulty setting within Career mode, which can stop players from reverting the game’s process to old save files at the relatively common occurrence of catastrophic failure.

This setup actually motivates players to continue to play the game and uncover the largest extents of the solar system, instead of simply playing sandbox mode and experimenting with the same few areas to create different airplanes or rockets, although that is a perfectly viable playstyle for some gamers.

Although managing a space agency and building different rockets is entertaining, the place where KSP truly shines is in its flight mode. The very same spacecraft the players built can be flown and operated in an incredibly realistic manner.

Spacecraft are flown in a method, almost, identical to real spacecraft, and all the parts in the game are assigned real physical statistics that are used to calculate the actual physical behavior of the rockets in question using real physics.

Players can fly regular airplanes around the Earth or they can fly their rockets into orbit and perform experiments. In the flight mode, Kerbals can also exit the spacecraft and fly around in space for a short period of time. If players don’t like the hassle of carrying around Kerbals in their spacecraft, unmanned spacecraft parts exist.

By creating satellite networks, the unmanned spacecraft establishes a connection with the satellite that sends signals back to Kerbin to be controlled from there. This allows the species to explore even further into space.

Being in space and flight can train Kerbals, letting them level up and allowing you to control your spacecraft more effectively or perform more rewarding scientific experiments, and all of this is without leaving low Kerbin orbit! Given enough time, players can advance their skill level enough to explore an entire solar system of unique planets, moons, and asteroids, performing experiments and building spacecraft to even mine their interiors.

 The main downside of KSP’s realistic gameplay is that it can get extremely grindy after a couple of days. Players trying to progress past Earth’s orbit may find it a bit stale to repeatedly launch and position copies of the same satellite (to create a communication network, for example), or to perform similar tasks with regards to orbital space stations.

However, the KSP modding platform is quite active, and mods like MechJeb allow players to automate these tasks in an immersive and friendly manner. The graphics and music of KSP are also other areas where KSP lacks, but that’s to be expected from a game whose main focus is simulation and realism.

The graphics are pretty much second priority, although the textures and models of the different spacecraft and planets are interesting enough to at least warrant a second glance.

The music, at least, can be listened to, with different, bubbly tracks for the spacecraft assembly building and the spaceplane hangar, as well as a space-themed track for when players are in, well, space. It is certainly true that KSP isn’t for everyone.

Players with zero interest in astrophysics and space from a realistic perspective, won’t find this game particularly entertaining, and although having a formal education in physics certainly helps when playing KSP, players with little knowledge can do well enough as long as they have enough interest to begin looking through the game and discovering what it has to offer.

In conclusion, KSP can be said to be a great game for its target audience. The management and construction aspects of KSP are fun to explore and mess around with, and the flight mode is so wide and varied that players are unlikely to get bored very quickly with the game. For those who’ve dreamed of exploring space and flying their own spacecraft, KSP is easily a realization of all their fantasies.

Related Reviews

Other Reviews

Most Viewed

Recently Viewed

Updated 3 years ago