Bring It Back: Nexus
It can be difficult to determine exactly what it is that makes games fun and appealing to different people. Everyone has different tastes in the type of games they’ll play and it’s difficult to compare an RTS game with an FPS
game. They are generally judged by different standards. I’ll start this off by explaining one simple thing: I like games that allow me to do things I would never be capable of doing in real life. Now, it could be argued that most games fall into that category. And that’s exactly right. I enjoy most games. However, the ones I enjoy the most usually have something to do with space.
Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is a space-based RTS with a decent learning curve. The game is approachable for those who are new to the genre, but it also offers plenty of strategy and excellent gameplay for seasoned veterans. Although the game was not very well-known, it is something that all space junkies should have.
What Made Nexus Great
Nexus took a bit of a different approach to the genre than most of its comrades. Ship management is absolutely crucial to the outcome of every mission. And by management, I don’t mean just movement and tactics. You have control over all of the systems on each of the ships in your fleet. You can tell a ship how much power to divert to shields, weapons, or engines. You can disable weapons or fire them manually.
There is one thing that took a while to get used to. Movement in the game is somewhat clunky. You select a ship or ships and then click on a destination point. There is an illusion of free movement, but in reality, you can only direct your ships to other objects or waypoints. This leaves the majority of space unexplorable. That said, I can understand why they took that approach with movement: it’s simple. With so many other things to keep track of in the game, the difficulty level would have spiked up another notch had the developers not taken this approach to movement.
The visuals in Nexus were fantastic for their time and still hold up well today. I remember looking at the screen shots back when Nexus was going to be Imperium Galactica III. They were the most visually stunning images I had seen of gameplay up to that point. After Imperium Galactica III got the axe, I was devastated. I thought I would never be able to see the beautiful work portrayed in the screen shots. Happily, the material for Imperium Galactica III was recycled and put to good use in Nexus. The years of work and polish definitely show.
What the Next Iteration Could Use
While I mentioned earlier that I understand why the developers simplified ship movement, I certainly think the whole system could be revamped. If you’ve played any of the Homeworld games, you’ll know how effective its movement system is. Something similar in nature to Homeworld’s pathing and movement system would greatly enhance playability of the sequel to Nexus. However, that would make things a little more difficult. I guess it wouldn’t be too bad. I mean, there is the pause command, after all.
Is There A Realistic Possibility of Return?
I just learned of this myself, but a developer by the name of Most Wanted Entertainment has its eyes on making a sequel for Nexus. Now, I was a little confused by this at first because a company named Mithis Entertainment developed Nexus. Turns out Mithis was bought out by Eidos, which was then bought out by Squeenix (Square Enix, if you must). After so many changes, many of the original development team at Mithis formed a new company by the name of, you guessed it, Most Wanted Entertainment.
So, is there a real possibility of return? Absolutely. Most Wanted Entertainment is trying to raise funds for the project and even has a promo video up at GamesPlant (http://www.games-plant.com/nexus2/ ). If you have any extra money just laying around gathering dust, put it to some use an help these guys get Nexus II together. It’s a worthy invenstment.