Everspace 2 might not be a roguelike like the first game, but it'll still kick your ass. The galaxy is a dangerous place full of roaming bands of pirates who are more than capable of turning you into debris. And with dozens of weapons, ship types, and special abilities to choose from, it's not always clear which is the right tool for the job.
Everspace 2 isn't just about combat, either. Though it just released in Early Access, it's a surprisingly complex space game where you can buy and trade commodities for profit, mine asteroids and craft ship upgrades, and solve fun environmental puzzles to find hidden loot. It can feel a bit overwhelming—especially because Everspace 2 doesn't always do the best job explaining its different systems. As you slip into the cockpit of your ship and take flight, here are some helpful Everspace 2 tips that'll make your journey a little easier.
Be brave and switch to first person mode
Playing Everspace 2 in first person mode will not give you a tactical advantage in combat. If anything, it'll make fights harder since you won't have as clear of a view of enemy ships as they strafe around you. That's okay, though, because playing in first person mode is a way more intense experience. The tradeoff is worth it, and I'm a little baffled Everspace 2 doesn't start you in first person by default. To switch to first person, press V.
Taking hits, circling your enemies, and shooting all feel a lot more exciting from this perspective. You can really sense the impact as your ship shakes or the glass of your cockpit begins to crack under heavy damage. Different ships also have cool interiors you can look at by holding the Alt key while moving your mouse.
Energized Boost is your go-to "oh shit" button
Early on you'll learn about Devices, which are basically spells you can cast in combat like a space wizard. Before long, you'll find Devices that create EMP bursts that temporarily disable enemies, or viruses that deal damage to them over time. I even found one that redirected damage I took at a specified target, which is great if you're anything like me and constantly end up heavily outnumbered in fights because you're too aggressive.
All of those Devices are cool, but none have been as useful to me as Energized Boost. It's one of two Devices that you're given automatically in the beginning of the game, and as the name implies it basically shoots you forward a great distance. The reason it's so awesome has to do with the difficulty of retreating from fights that you can't win. Before you can jump to warp speed and escape, you have to charge your C-drive for a few seconds. Each time you take damage, the C-drive's charge depletes. If enemies are right on top of you, you're basically a sitting duck.
With Energized boost, you can quickly zip away to a safe distance to charge your C-drive and retreat. It's super useful when you've just started playing and don't have a good sense for how much of a beating your ship can take.
Adapt high level items so you can use them right away
So, you just found a cool piece of gear for your ship but its required level is too high. In any other RPG that item would have to sit in your inventory waiting until you've gathered enough experience points. In Everspace 2, though, you can "adapt" items which, in exchange for some crafting resources, will let you use high-level gear right away.
To do this, find the item you want to adapt in your inventory and hold R to bring up the crafting interface. You'll see the option to adapt that item and the required crafting materials (you can get these by dismantling ship gear like weapons and modules). The only other stipulation is that the item you want to adapt cannot be already modified by other crafting options (like increasing its level or rarity). This shouldn't be an issue if you just found the item, though.
Don't ignore crafting
Everspace 2's crafting system isn't well explained and is easy to ignore, but that'd be a big mistake. In addition to adapting items, you can also increase their rarity or level, to make them stronger, or craft entirely new modules. All of these options are useful and a great way to boost your stats without having to shell out credits at the store. So here's a quick rundown of how crafting works.
Select an empty space in your inventory and press R to get to the crafting interface. In order to craft something, you have to first unlock the necessary blueprint with a separate type of experience points you get just from crafting. These are earned by dismantling and crafting equipment.
To start out, dismantle equipment you don't need to get enough experience points to unlock your first blueprint and get some crafting resources. From there, you can begin crafting items and upgrading them to earn even more experience points. Unlocking new blueprints also reveals other blueprints you can unlock with more experience, so don't get confused if the options for what you can make seem weirdly limited at first.
One thing to note, however, is that crafting experience is specific to the quality of equipment. So if you're dismantling common rarity items, that'll earn you crafting experience points so you can unlock more common rarity blueprints. If you want to unlock rare quality blueprints, you'll need to dismantle (or craft) rare quality equipment.
Use one weapon for shields, another for armor
There's no One Gun to Rule Them All in Everspace 2. Each weapon prioritizes either kinetic or energy damage—which are fancy terms for armor damage or shield damage respectively. Your beginning ship has two weapon slots (other ships have more), and you should make the most of them. Find two guns that each excel in a different damage type and get into the habit of switching between them during combat. If you're shooting your enemy's shields, swap to your energy weapon, and then swap to your kinetic one once you're ripping into its armor.
The secondary benefit to this is that each weapon has its own energy resource that is expended with each shot and needs time to recharge. If you're only ever using one weapon in combat, you'll quickly run out of energy.
Explore areas thoroughly to find good loot
One aspect of Everspace 2 I found most surprising is how much emphasis there is on exploration. As you warp between quest locations, you'll frequently see other destinations pop up on your HUD as you get close. It's always worth stopping to visit them. In most cases, you'll find a group of pirates you can blast for loot and credits, but more often than not you'll discover cool puzzles and secrets that are a lot of fun to figure out.
For example, I once happened upon an abandoned mining facility jutting out of a large asteroid. There were a few containers with some loot nearby, but I also found explosive charges scattered around the area. I soon realized I could grab those charges and fit them into sockets located on the surface of a nearby asteroid. When all four were in place, I could initiate a detonation sequence that required me to fly around to each charge and activate it before time ran out. It took a few tries, but completing this minigame blew up the asteroid and left behind some extremely rare ore that I was able to sell for a small fortune.
Moral of the story? Carefully observe your surroundings and explore the different maps. Your wallet will thank you.