Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries recently upgraded Star Citizen to its latest (and greatest) incarnation in the form of Alpha 2.0. After spending some quality time with the newest update, I’m left optimistic about the games future… and a little frustrated, as well.
First off, even though it’s got 2.0 in the update name, this update is still very much an alpha. The game shines one moment, making you forget that it is still an alpha, only for some bug or issue to jar you out of the experience moments later, as if to patiently (and annoyingly) remind you that the game still has a long way to go. A perfect example of this:
Two hours ago I was blissfully exploring the area around a comm array, fighting some pirates and just taking in the game’s beautiful visuals and atmosphere. Before that, I was checking out Port Olisar for the 50th time, playing with the new HUD elements, watching new comers spawn and run around, and just generally enjoying the fact that, after patiently waiting for years, Star Citizen is finally beginning to feel like the persistent universe we’ve been promised.
Then, about 20 minutes ago, I start to log in, to take some screen shots for this post, and I hit a brick wall over and over and over again while trying to get into the game. It’s not the first time this has happened during the last few days of my testing, either. I’ve crashed numerous times, blue screened once, and been unable to get into Port Olisar about six times. Not to mention the incredibly annoying issue of having to restart Window’s Base Filtering Engine service constantly (the fix for this is below if you need it). This is on top of the weird texture issues, awkward animations, and various other graphical hiccups. Again… Alpha 2.0 is still very much an Alpha release.
All that said, the game finally feels like it has a solid foundation to begin seriously building upon. Previously, the modules, while fun in their own rights, felt more like proof-of-concept “games” that could/maybe/eventually turn into an actual full-fledge game. Well that day has finally come. Beneath the bugs and crashes, Star Citizen is actually feeling like a real game now. The idealistic space game enthusiast inside of me wants to sing its praises and ignore any concerns, but the realist and writer part of me knows better. The game may finally be coming together, but there’s still plenty of work to be done before Star Citizen can really prove itself. Despite what any detractors may say about Chris Roberts and his vision, Star Citizen is incredibly ambitious and meeting that ambition isn’t going to happen in the few short years of its development cycle. I’d wager that the full vision won’t even be realized until after the game is launched. After all, Star Citizen’s development won’t simply halt after it is released. Like any other MMO-style game, updates and expansions will continue to evolve the mechanics, graphics, and features of Star Citizen well after its release date.
Seamless planetary landing gameplay (Not playable yet!)
As someone who has been looking forward to Star Citizen since its initial conception, it’s incredibly hard to remain patient with this newest update. It’s like having all your Christmas presents imprisoned under the tree as a kid, when you’re reasonably sure the ones you really want are wrapped up and waiting. Alpha 2.0 hints at what Star Citizen could eventually become. So many of the features are right at our fingertips, just waiting for us to rip off the wrapping and get our hands on them. However, all the wrapping paper is still there, shrouding the game in the form of technical problems and glitches that mar the experience. Patience. I just need more patience.
Fix for the infinite/stuck loading screens:
If, like me, you seem to have a lot of problems getting stuck on infinite loading screens (Windows 10 – though it works for 7/8, too) here is what fixed it for me:
- Turn off Windows Defender/Firewall (if you have it on)
- Open Task Manager
- Click the Services tab
- Click Open Services at the bottom (Windows 10)
- Find the “Base Filtering Engine” service
- Right click on it and select “Restart”
- Re-enable Windows Defender/Firewall (if applicable)
You may have to do this… a lot, if you intend on playing Alpha 2.0 for any lengthy amount of time.