Thankfully, some of those bumps were smoothed out as part of the many updates the game has had since I last played. Everything feels a little easier this time out, and I was quickly able to grab a new multi-tool (sadly no freebies for me) and push on with the storyline. Unfortunately, the process has improved a lot, but it still relies heavily on the same couple of loops. It only takes a couple of hours in the title’s mid-game before the obvious busywork of finding a story point and being made to trek out to find raw materials gets tedious.
It is also blessed with a number of idiosyncrasies that mean you have to keep one eye on the game’s Wiki at all times. Apparently, after your first ever hyperspace jump, you’re meant to encounter a capital ship under fire, that you eventually rescue and receive. For me, this event didn’t trigger until I was 40 hours deep and tens of jumps into the game, I only knew about it after reading discussions around the game on Reddit. Maybe that’s as much of a bug as it is a feature: You need to play it properly with a reference manual on hand at all times.
And then there’s the story which… yeah. When I first played this game, I said the story was barely-there at all. The point being that you were left to make your own tales up in this big empty universe, and you could go off and become whatever you wanted to be. But you can’t really progress in this title unless you’ve worked through most of the story, and it’s just not very good. Everything comes back to little fetch-and-travel quests, then a dialog scene in which you’re given three not-entirely-dissimilar options to respond with.