Landing on a planet in Star Citizen looks spectacular

"We don't have any clip range or draw range."

By Robert Purchese. 20/08/2016

Goodness me the live Star Citizen Gamescom presentation is exciting. A planetary landing demonstrated live! Sounds so simple but... watch it. Listen to those cheers as the Freelancer spaceship burns on entry to the planet's atmosphere, and as we see it from the multiple viewpoints of the players inside.

Then follow one player into the spaceport of Levski for the first time - a shady underbelly of a town selling contraband goods - as they walk up to a window and see the other player hovering the Freelancer outside, waving from the cockpit. Multiplayer space exploration in all its glory - take that No Man's Sky.

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Visually, the demo is a peach - I'd be chuffed if the next Mass Effect looked as nice. But what I find more encouraging is that alpha 3.0 shows personality spreading through Star Citizen - space becoming less empty, less clinical. There are AI characters yabbering away in Levski, convincingly enough, and they're there to make the place feel alive - and it does.

Levski is also the place to pick up a mission, personally, from a gruff and fully-voiced contact in a seedy bar. It's a simple retrieval mission, sure - albeit from a spooky and dangerous spaceship wreckage - but it's far more interesting than a system-issued text quest.

Star Citizen alpha 3.0 is another layer in the grand vision, which will apparently be complete - in some form - when the game comes out in late 2016. Getting quite close to that now, aren't we?

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Nevertheless, alpha 3.0 is a little way off. More close at hand is alpha 2.5, which developer Cloud Imperium said at Gamescom was "close" to going live. Seems like a lot has happened since I took the plunge into Star Citizen alpha 2.0 at the beginning of the year.