Review: Kerbal Space Program 2

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Kerbal Space Program 2 entered Early Access on February 24th, 2023. We have thrown ourselves into the space adventure for you.

With Kerbal Space Progam 2 (KSP2), Private Division and Intercept Games send us into the new continuation of space adventure. We’re trying to find out here whether Early Access is really worth it for €49.99. It is available through Epic and Steam. The predecessor Kerbal Space Program was sold around five million times and had gathered a huge fan base around it, who had created a lot in and around the game. That alone tells us that KSP2 has very high expectations to fulfill.

Missions always start with a lift-off.

KSP2 wants to do something that unfortunately didn’t go so well in its predecessor. It aims to make the introduction to rocket science easier and more fun for beginners. So there are now really well made videos that are funny and informative. The exercises based on this are divided into small bites and voiced. Currently only in English, but who knows what will come next.

Destinatiobn: Mun.

Another point that the developers want to do with the sequel is to build atmosphere. This starts with the launch of a new spaceship, which is accompanied by real rocket sounds and by very atmospheric music. This music changes depending on the situation. It then becomes calmer in space and more exciting when it lands on the Mun. The Kerbals are now happily chattering. Among other things, the ignition of a new stage is commented on. If a kerbal just idles, they don’t just do it like that anymore and start to move a bit by themselves after a short amount of time. The animations have become more complex and refined. This also affects the moving parts on spaceships, aircraft and vehicles.

Graphics have been improved enormously, controls have been rearranged and the interface is a lot clearer and easier to read.

As veterans, we find our way into the game very quickly. Standard maneuvers work well and you can see many of the small improvements that have found their way directly into the game without having to install a mod. A lander is set up quite quickly on the Minmus and a space station is set up in the Kerbol Synchronous Orbit (KSO) in not time. The sandbox mode in Early Access already offers all sorts of components to try out.

Home, sweet home.

Where there’s light, there’s darkness and KSP casts a huge shadow on KSP2. Where KSP has expanded enormously over the years and there is the right mod for every taste, KSP2 first has to slowly build up that amount of content in the Early Access phase. Many of the planned features such as colonies, interstellar travel and various game modes, especially the multiplayer mode, are still missing.

With the estimated €49.99, KSP2 is not exactly a lightweight in the Early Access phase. But for whom is the game worthwhile in the current stage of development? It should be playable for beginners. Thanks to the tutorials and the fact that the sandbox is forgiving of mistakes, you don’t have to worry about research points or money. Veterans who set themselves quests still have a lot to discover in Early Access. Only for those in-between it’s kind of difficult to find enough motivation for playing the game for a longer period of time.

The space station after a few hours of play time.

Though it should be mentioned that KSP2 is not yet where it technically could be. With our test system, on which Half-Life: Alyx or other prominent VR titles run smoothly, we encountered frame drops every now and then. According to the manufacturer, the content and performance improvements should follow as per usual in an Early Access phase.

The Early Access asking price of €49.99 is comparatively high and the purchase should therefore be carefully considered. We are at least very curious to see how the development of the KSP successor will turn out, especially whether the developer is oriented towards the community and includes their incentives and suggestions in the development.

The publisher provided us with a PC copy of the game for review purposes.