Space Pirates and Zombies: she grinded me with science

, | Game diaries

A great man once said, “I’m gonna fight, the only way I know. Ever since I was a boy, all I knew was how to fight. Fight, fight, fight. And when I got tired, I’d fight some more”. Space Pirates and Zombies seems to follow this motto, as it does indeed have a lot of fighting, and it’s this fighting that is basically the glue that holds the rest of the game together. Most of the missions in the game involve lots of pew pew, whether you’re fighting other ships (which is most of the time), trying to destroy containers or even a renegade comet. Combat allows you to collect all three of the game’s main resources (Rez, Goons and Data) in various fun ways. Some call this a grind, but is it really? Let’s discuss the matter further…

After the jump, let me fight so my game won’t grind…

Grinding, if you’re unaware (and what game player isn’t really, but I’m trying to cover all of the bases here) is, according to Wikipedia, “a term used in video gaming to describe the process of engaging in repetitive and/or non-entertaining gameplay in order to gain access to other features within the game, or to allow the player to “grind” better/faster”. Are you as surprised as I am that Wikipedia even HAD an entry on grinding? Anyway, there are two main keywords I want to focus on there, “repetitive” and “non-entertaining”. First, let’s look at “repetitive”.

See all of those systems? Each of those is a little self-contained bubble of chaos, with two factions dueling it out for supremacy of their own system (and only their system as the gates are blockaded). Each of these little bubbles of chaos gives you the opportunity to go on missions, acquire more blueprints and data, and even do story missions. You never know exactly what will happen in a given system. Sometimes you’ll be attacked by one of the factions right as you jump in, as you can see here:

When you get right down to it, however, what you’ll be doing in these systems is shooting things…lots of things, from little teeny asteroids to big honking space stations. There is so much pew pew in this game that if I didn’t enjoy it so much, I would’ve put it down and stopped playing it ages ago. This means that, yes, the game is repetitive in that you have to engage in a lot of combat and do similar missions in different systems to gain the resources you need to keep going.

When you look at it from a certain perspective though, any game can be repetitive at its core. My favorite game in the whole wide world, Freespace 2, as wonderful as it is, could be seen as repetitive if looked at it from a certain angle. Every mission, you get in a fighter and shoot at things. It’s the nuances and presentation of everything else that makes that repetitiveness less noticeable or not noticeable at all.

Now we’ll take a look at “non-entertaining”. This is completely subjective of course and will vary from person to person, but let’s look at it this way. If you don’t like the combat in this game, of COURSE you’re going to find the dang game grindy because it’ll be both repetitive and uninteresting. I, however, am on the opposite side of the coin. I looooooooooooooooove the combat in this game. Love. It. Whether it’s fighting other ships or taking on a space station like the one below:

However, I could see where, if you didn’t enjoy the combat, the game would feel grindy as you did one more mission to get the standing you need to get that blueprint or had one more fight to get the data for that ship you want. Since the game focuses so heavily on combat, not liking said combat could lead one to turn off the game and not play it again, and I’d understand that. It’d be a loss though, as I feel the game has so much to offer even with its inherent repetitiveness.

So is the game grindy? Well…maybe? I guess it all depends on your point of view. If you like the pew pew, you likely won’t find it at all. If you don’t like the combat then yeah, it’ll seem grindy. Take of that what you will.

Up next, the little things that make Space Pirates and Zombies special.
Click here to read the previous entry on Space Pirates and Zombies.

Brian Rubin is currently an underemployed freelance search engine optimization consultant sharing an apartment with two cats in sunny Los Angeles. You can read more of his inane rants at VonGeekenstein.