With the advent of MMORPG's long since upon us, fantasy games seem to have a foothold in the genre, with an apparent lack of science fiction games. Sci-Fi fans have been heard, and answered with the likes Allegiance, Anarchy Online, and Raider Wars. Though flawed, their presence indicates an interest and will likely usher in bigger and better games. Jumpgate
sets it's sights high. It might not exactly get a bulls-eye, but it comes close enough for most.
Upon entering Jumpgate, you get to pick between three factions to join. Each are different from each other in that they are stereotyped as either mining, fighting or trading oriented. While they have their unique characteristics, players will ultimately be able to do any of these three no matter which faction they pick.
The basic premise of Jumpgate revolves around the different missions you can complete for the five different factions left after a catastrophic event that decimated the galaxy. You can only choose between three of these, but missions can be completed for any of them. Missions get you experience and money. Both are essential to buying bigger and better items for your ship. Most of the missions are very trivial and only serve to better your position, but the two types that really matter are missions specific to your faction and TRI missions (TRI being the group all the factions form), which help further the unfolding storyline of the game.
Your personal ship can be customized to a great degree. Apart from buying an entirely new ship, alterable parts range from lasers to energy capacitors. Jumpgate does well here as it doesn't overly complicate the customization possibilities. Instead, it makes it an integral part of the game that can actually be fun. Parts aren't limited to what you can find immediately in shops. As the game progresses, new parts will be created and made available to the Jumpgate community.
The main problem of the game is one that you will notice right off. Starting out is more than a bit confusing and proceeds at a slow crawl for about the first 10 levels of your character. You're given a ship that's too slow and outgunned by about everything else in a very hostile environment. The only way to gain rank and earn money is to fly very boring and tedious missions that will quickly feel like a job.
Once past the extremely slow and demanding beginning, the game becomes a great deal more in-depth. The ability to actually do something is a great privilege indeed, and players' actions do a lot more than increase personal status. Everything you do affects your position with your faction and other factions. The position your faction takes with another depends on its member's actions. You can push your faction to the edge of war or help it prosper in times of peace.