Black Prophecy: First Impressions

I was one of the few that snatched up a North America closed beta key from Massively to give this new space dogfighter a look. I am one of the many of you out there that likes to hear about Eve, but, sadly, playing that spreadsheet is not my idea of entertainment.

To let you know where I’m coming from, some of my earliest fond memories of computer games were the old LucasArts X-Wing and TIE Fighter titles, as well as the old Wing Commander series (Mark Hamill and Christopher Walken cut scenes FTW!). With Privateer and Freelancer I really felt we were close to the ideal space game that culminated in the Free Space series.


I still miss the old Medusa Bomber…

Besides JumpGate, nothing really has made a splash since. Yet here comes Black Prophecy, a title that has been floating around in development since late 2006 and was pretty much under everyone’s radar until Reakktor Media got gobbled up by Free-to-Play publisher Gamigo Games and announced Black Prophecy would use a micro transaction business model.

On to the juicy bits: this game is a true dogfighter space sim. That alone gives it a big plus sign in the win column for me. The combat is just arcade-style enough to be easy to pick up and still have a level of advanced difficulty through the use of unlockable special move combos, like U-turns and barrel rolls using the direction keys. Attacking larger ships and structures using a system of weapon emplacements and targetable weak points gets it the needed epic feel and the mechanic works pretty well.

With only two main player race choices that are in direct contention with each other, this is a PVP focused game with combat “zones” that both groups jump in and out of. Each are an advanced sub breed of humans, it would have been nice to be able to choose a 3rd group like the unmodified humans that are in the game lore a suppressed species.

Now with that said, the PVE instanced content is repetitive and grindy but also practically required to “keep up with the Joneses” on the leveling curve (which for the beta is capped at 40). The weakness here is dogfighting is all this game really brings to the table from a gameplay standpoint. No mining or trading type adventuring here. NPC and player ships both drop loot and craft materials and the crafting system is fairly robust with both new equipment blueprints as well as upgrade modules that can be “equipped” on existing  ship components to add additional stats.

Level and equipment IS PVP in this game with armament, ship armor, speed, and hit points all equipment based off of different skill levels you allot points to. Those you gain at a rate of 3 per level. If you are under level vs any given opponent by 2 or more levels get some help; otherwise you are laser fodder regardless of your flight skills

Visually, the developers have really outdone themselves; the game is simply beautiful. Both of the player races have a distinct style and color scheme to stand apart from each other. The nebulas, space structures and large capital ships are all detailed and suitably impressive in size next to your small snub fighter.

So far I like the modular component system for your ship but wish more ship style options were available. Maybe something somewhat role-based, such as bombers, interceptors etc. That said, there may be additional options at the upper levels but so far I haven’t seen it. The ship models do meet the cool factor.


So far Black Prophecy’s fun but not very deep and has linear gameplay. Getting in an active PVP clan could add a lot of mileage to this game as there seems to be clan-owned stations, which could lead to some type of system control point conflicts in later development.

Until then, I would recommend it to only someone who likes dogfighting style gameplay. What is there is good stuff but it’s just not that varied yet.

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