Dual Universe Overhaul In Progress: Settling Among The Stars
The landing was a little hard. Descending into Haven’s atmosphere, my landing craft sped towards the planet’s surface, carrying with it everything I would need to start a new life among the stars. I braked as best I could, but my lander was still damaged when it hit the planet’s surface.
dual universe the opening moments are meant to put you squarely in space explorer fantasy, with the last remnants of humanity set in the very distant future after Earth’s final demise. You play as a colonist on the Ark who sends you into space to start humanity’s next chapter anew among the stars.
Therefore, dual universe is a sandbox, giving players the tools to forge their own path as they see fit. Do you want to become a fearless miner and titan of industry, establishing yourself as humanity’s next Rockefeller or Vanderbilt? Or do you want a quiet life, content farming materials, sipping coffee on the balcony, and watching the sun rise over your planet? You can do whatever you want, in theory.
It was hammered home in those first moments as my lander hurtled toward the planet’s surface. Looking down at the planet, the fullness of space around me and the planet below me, the sense of scale was awesome.
However, watching the horizon form in front of me was a little less impressive than I had hoped. As the darkness of space gave way to atmosphere, I was a bit disappointed with the visuals themselves. dual universe doesn’t have a ton of tweakable graphics options, let alone any options to affect overall texture quality, asset quality, mesh quality, etc. As such, the presentation is a bit lacking.
Textures look flat and unremarkable at first glance, and that’s doubly the case on the terrain in front of me as I land in what I hoped would be a lush plain in Haven’s northern hemisphere. Instead, it’s rolling grassland that sees aggressive LOD appear to the point where it’s outrageously distracting, especially on my hovercraft speeder.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think it is wrong. I just wish it was After. I want to be sucked into the world around me from those first moments, and instead I was a bit disappointed by the dull nature and muted textures around me. Another space exploration title where you can edit the world around you, No Man’s Sky, has its own issues with texture work, but it’s made up of a myriad of colors, a dynamic world, and more. Hopefully this first impression doesn’t last, and as I explore more of these scenes open up to me.
After landing, the tutorial guided me through the different basics of life in dual universe. Luckily, while there are a ton of elements that remind me of survival MMOs, there’s no need to hunt for food, water, or fuel for my costume to keep me alive. There’s enough resource hunting going on as it is, so it’s good that I don’t have to worry about that. At the start, each player has a choice of the type of starting building they want, as well as a choice of hovercraft. I went with the Roman style Villa and the Formula 1 inspired hovercraft because they looked the best, which looked even better once installed.
I appreciate that dual universe sets you up that way too. The MMO is incredibly complicated as it is, and learning the basics is made easier knowing I had a place to put things and my vehicle without having to worry about laying them out beforehand.
Each player receives a piece of land also on one of the starting planets in the safe zone of dual universe solar system. To me it’s a bit of a misnomer to call your game Double Universe when the playing area is relegated to a fairly large solar system. Along with other sci-fi MMOs on the market, such as EVE online and Elite Dangerous, it feels decidedly small in comparison. Hopefully over time this expands with more solar systems and star clusters to explore.
dual universe also gives you the basic tools you’ll need to get started, from the voxel editing tool that lets you build anything you want (within reason and constraints of FROM convoluted and confusing build system – more on that in a future ongoing review). You can build towering houses, luxurious villas, and more, provided you have the skills and materials to make it happen.
dual universe also uses a real-time skill system, which means you acquire talent points whether you’re online or not. Unlike titles that also do this like, EVE onlineif you’ve accrued enough points, you can simply purchase the skill you need rather than waiting to train it – assuming all prerequisites are unlocked.
However, the talent system is extremely granular, preventing you from doing basic things like making a small container or being able to flip a switch because it’s too big in size. Some things you just should be able to do instead of locking them behind progression.
As a result, this makes progress in both crafting and the MMO proper stagnant even just two days after launch. I feel like I’m already at a wall of time, waiting to get the skill points to do something basic, like honing one of the various mineable materials to craft building voxels.
It also goes against the idea that you can specialize in certain skills, like becoming a high-profile trader, fighter pilot, etc. Because of how dual universe is set up, you’ll effectively need to be a jack-of-all-trades, dipping your feet into each of the major talent disciplines just to get out of the starting planet and into the rest of the system. You must learn to mine and craft to build your spacecraft, but you must spend time developing the skills to craft the components needed to do so. Sure, you can wait to buy a ship when you have the money, but that means you’ll be spending your time mining rocks or waiting for your mining operators to do the work for you.
While other sci-fi MMOs let you reach for the stars almost immediately, one of the main draws of the genre, I feel like I’m stuck in my little patch of land, alone, in a foreseeable future. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, after a while it does start to get boring mining the same rocks over and over again, or jumping in my speeder to traverse the same terrain for just twenty or thirty minutes to make a trip to one of the planetary. markets on Haven.
I feel like there’s a lot to unpack here with dual universe, and I can’t wait to do it. I want to take off from the planet with my own ship, built with my own hands. I want to explore the stars, join an organization and participate in PvP to get a feel for combat in dual universe. It just feels like it’s going to take a while with the layers and layers of systems weighing things down.
I should pause and say if this sounds like I’m not having fun so far, it’s not. I enjoy the grind, solitude among the stars and learning new things about this game. I love survival crafting loops like dual universe and I’m willing to pour hours into it to build and overcome the game world. I’ve been wanting to log into my land on Haven just to check out my mining units, level out some more ground, and generally plan my next moves . As more and more complexities are added, I can’t wait to unpack them. Heck, I just added wings to my starter hovercraft and made my trips to the market even more enjoyable (and faster).
As it stands, I’ll be working on an addition to my villa using voxel materials I’ve harvested in my lander, along with a building starter package purchased from the market. We’ll have more in the coming days on building mechanics, flying, and more.