Out of the Heat and Into Capsule Space
After the events that occur in the prologue, Cal does fifteen years of jail time before escaping with the friends he met along the way. This is when the true game begins. You are now in command of the Bio-bomber base your grandmother set up her pirate cartel in and an old tug which isn't too great in combat, but we'll get to that in a bit.
The way the missions work out reminds me quite a bit of X-Wing Alliance. You receive e-mail at your base telling you about assignments coming your way, and you then proceed to the destination and complete the objective. As you go, you can go on pirating missions to loot some corporate freighters for goods and new hardware for your ship. You can trade with other groups for hardware in the trade screen, and you can even replicate missiles and other expendable materials in the recycling and constructing panels.
The actual gameplay is quite different from most other games, however. Most space sims involve getting a mission, playing the scenario, being debriefed and starting another mission. I-War2 features a continuous world. You can go to any part of space, in any star system, at any time. That being said, pirating cargo freighters at jump points and bases is a very good way to juice up your ship early on in the game, though the really nice hardware doesn't start coming in until later in the game. The first act remains fairly linear, but acts two through four are extremely non-linear. You get your e-mails telling you about your missions, and then you must find the planets on the star chart and jump to that location, or any location in known space, and handle your mission, sometimes arriving at several locations to complete a mission.
Another way I-War2 differs from most sims is that you don't pilot little fighter vessels and attack other fighters, and occasionally bomb a capital ship. Instead, you pilot a vessel that would be considered a corvette class ship in most of the sci-fi world. Ships range from your beginning mobile command section, to a tug, a patcom (patrol combatant), and a corvette (named the Dreadnought, ironically, as it was called in the first game, as well.) One of the neat things about the way the game is laid out is that there is tons of space traffic around paces and jump points, you'll keep running into other ships roving around, some friendly, some hostile, and others just begging to be pirated.
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