Epic hardcore scifi RPG
Infinite Space is a science-fiction role-playing game for Nintendo DS. It got released for Japanese market back in 2009. Luckily for us heathens who don't speak or read Japanese Sega brought the game over to North America. And even to Europe.
Nintendo DS is one of the platforms with most role-playing games(rpg) over it's catalogue. One theme that DS or any other platform doesn't have too much of is a rpg based in space. At least not in this sense where spaceship customisation plays such big role. Closest comparison to this level of customisation I can think of is Eve-Online. And Infinite Space goes even into more detail.
Game world is divided into overview map, planets and star lanes. Star lanes being the asteroid fields between planets. Each area is divided with void gates which are the standard star/warp gate from any other scifi. Outside the occasional FMV and cuts-cenes the story is displayed with 2D avatar's. Locations and the off battle scenes are also displayed in 2D.
Battling is done in real-time with 1 to 5 spaceships for you and the opponent. Using different combat moves which are enabled from a Command Gauge. Command Gauge being a meter that grows over time but is used for the battle moves. You will also need to control your range and which target to aim for. There is also a melee mode which can be activated if your Command Gauge is full and you are within close of distance of your enemy. The melee is based on simple rock paper scissor game.
The ship customisation itself can be considered as mini game. Each ship has set of modules that need to be installed to give boost to different battle stats There are over 200 of such modules. The fitting itself is using Tetris style blocks to maximise the grid available for the ship. I can say the customisation adds lots of depth and different ship settings need to be used to get further in game. I do still feel that combat mechanism was maybe a bit too simple. Especially with the length of the game and all customisation game has.
Music in Infinite Space is catchy grand rpg style song with a nice 70-80's science-fiction feel. Game being such a long there could have been more tracks.
Now for the best part of the game, to the story. Sega is describing the story to last good 70 hours. I myself managed to finish the story in ~50 hours and that was no way rushing through. The story tells a tale of young Yuri who is drawn to the stars and follow his fathers footsteps who was a famous space-farer. Yuri also wants to discover a meaning of mysteries epitaph artifact that was left for him. For me story started really slowly and only from 10-15 hours on I started really enjoying it. Without going too much into spoilers. The first half of the game is story is building towards a grand war, which itself could be a single RPG. The second half continues the story Yuri being a adult 10 years older. While still managing to keep the interest up and building the epic-ness.
Infinite Space is definitely not for everyone. In many ways like a traditional dungeon crawler, just with a space theme. There are also couple of flaws which might repel the average gamer even further. Biggest complain with the game I have with the game is the lack of mission log. This and with the overall seemingly difficult battle mechanism I can fully understand the less flattering reviews. I never had problem with the difficulty myself. Other issue I would mention is that the after the epic story the ending felt rather flat.
As mentioned the story will last a good while. Top of this there is a new game+ and a multiplayer option. I would recommend Infinite Space to any RPG or a scifi fan. Even better if you are both like me. Game is no means perfect but you will still get 50h+ of fine scifi story.