Starpoint Gemini 2: Secrets of Aethera DLC Review
Secrets of Aethera is the first DLC release for Little Green Men Games’ space action-sim, Starpoint Gemini 2. The DLC boasts a surprising level of new content for its price, including new storyline quests, new ships, new weapon systems, and a host of other goodies. For fans of the base game, Secrets of Aethera is a solid addition to an already great game.
The storyline of Secrets of Aethera takes place, perhaps unsurprisingly in Aethera, a vast nebula that engulfs much of the Pophyria system. The nebula itself, replete with unusual anomalies and danger at every turn, has remained nearly impassable…until now. Cue ominous music!
In the somewhat distant past, scientists established a research station in the heart of the nebula. As it turned out, that wasn’t the best idea as, shortly thereafter, the nebula became increasingly dangerous and anomalies multiplied at an exponential rate. Denying there every was a research station, the company supporting the scientists disavowed the project and withdrew from the system. The fate of the scientists and the research facility were unknown.
Skip forward to the present and Aethera is all but a ghost town. Well, except its not a town. Its a nebula. But you get the point. Most ships avoid traversing through this anomaly-ridden region of space entirely. However, recent reports have suggested that the station is still operational and the scientists have made some startling discoveries.
And so the story begins.
As for the new content that Secrets of Aethera provides, its hard to argue that Little Green Men Games is not out to please their customer. The level of brand-new features and content provided in this DLC is worth well more than its asking price, and fans of the game will not be disappointed. Even those who are new to the game will find Secrets of Aethera a good starting-off point.
One of the complaints levied against the base game Starpoint Gemini 2, albeit a more minor one, was the general feeling of grind that occurred in the early game as players worked to level up their ship. I can certainly attest to this feeling and its probably a factor that led to the title not getting as much of my playtime as it could have.
Secrets of Aethera attempts to remedy this for seasoned players by jumping immediately into the fray, with a starting level of 35. Upon beginning the storyline, players are given charge of a battleship and the option to implement some always useful skills and perks. New mission types are available and can be tackled early on in gameplay, and players who are familiar with the game’s mechanics, will find that combat is refreshingly challenging early on with such an advanced ship already available.
Amongst the many added features that Secrets of Aethera brings to SG2, I particularly enjoyed the new special weapon system that allows you to design your own powerfully destructive addition to your arsenal. I’m also a fan of the new side missions that add that much more flavor to the title, and open up new ways of interacting with factions.
The introduction of a new global event was also a plus. Completely randomized incursions by fierce opponents, known as Ghosts, occur when they enter Aethera through the multitude of rifts in the nebula. This adds a spice to the gameplay, as well as the enjoyment that comes from battling new enemy units and types, as well as fielding your own new styles. The system is perhaps not as fleshed out as it could be, but a worthy component of the game nonetheless.
Secrets of Aethera truly feels more like a traditional expansion pack than it does only DLC. Don’t let the low price of the content fool you – this is certainly far from lacking in the depth it brings. The Secrets of Aethera content can be played as part of the campaign mode (adding to the base storyline) or as part of the free-roam mode, incorporating the new locations, side-missions and ships that come with it. Didn’t finish the original campaign? Fret not. Players also have the option to play Secrets of Aethera as a stand-alone experience without the need to complete the base game.
Little Green Men Games proves that its possible to create outstanding, engaging content and distribute it to a fan-base at an extremely affordable price. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see more of this customer-centric approach from the developers and from other developers, too.
For fans of the base game, or for those simply interested in it, this is DLC content that should not be missed.
Secrets of Aethera retails at an absolute steal of $4.99 on Steam.