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Video Game / Independence War 2

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"Here, on the very rim of known space— justice is a long way away..."

Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos is a space combat simulator, and the sequel to the original Independence War (1997). Developed by Particle Systems, Ltd. and published by Infogrames, the game was released to critical acclaim in 2001. Unfortunately, it was not a financial success.

The game's plot concerns prepubescent Cal Johnson, who lives in the remote Badlands Cluster, and whose father is fatally indebted to ruthless industrialist Caleb Maas. After Cal's father is murdered, the boy falls into the care of Jefferson Clay (an AI echo of a centuries-dead Navy captain). Unfortunately, his juvenile attempts at piracy soon result in him being thrown in prison for fifteen years. By the time Cal escapes, Maas has risen to a position of supreme corporate power, and unpleasant things are happening around the Badlands cluster, mainly rampant Marauder attacks...

While the original I-War was a relatively straightforward military campaign, Edge of Chaos put its emphasis on training and exploration, incorporating an enormous sandbox world. Gameplay revolves around combat, piracy and trade. Like its predecessor, the game is especially notable for featuring realistic Newtonian physics.

Currently sold on Good Old Games!

This videogame provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Cal.
  • All There in the Manual: There's an in-game encyclopedia with a lot of information on the universe, with the occasional comment or notation by the characters.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: NPC ships travel between L-Points on cargo runs, hover around bases, attack marauders, etc.
  • Asteroid Miners: Cal's father.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Many of them, some with habitat/bases attached to large rocks. The game's Instant Action mode is composed of nothing more than an asteroid belt and an L-Point.
  • Attack Drone: The player can buy various turrets to defend their ship. Some of these turrets (controlled by other characters) can be detached to function as independent units.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Remote Missiles have a huge blast radius, deliver a massive punch (the most advanced kind being, in fact, capable of destroying an entire wing of small fighters) but have to be piloted and detonated manually. Despite the fact that, with the right CPU upgrade, the ship can pilot and defend itself decently, it's still not a good idea launching the missile while under immediate threat. Furthermore, each missile slot can hold only one (for comparison, most dogfighting missiles come in four to six per-slot). Plus, the ship will lose the REM connection if the missile gets farther away than 50km, which means that even with a launch from a safe distance, the missile can still be a waste of time.
    • The Gatling Cannon is tremendously effective by the time the player gets access to it. However, it will chew through enemy ships and ammo reserves with the same ease. In a game filled with long missions containing multiple firefights and (with a few exceptions) no chance of ammo reloading, the gun has a relatively short lifespan despite being theoretically on par and even superior, DPS-wise, to many late-game weapons.
    • Turret fighters are incredibly accurate, they can mount any gun and missile in the game at the same time and produce no heat when firing. These little guys will watch your back even against target you can't see yourself, especially when equipped with Wide-Arc PBCs, and will make encounters with minefields and fast enemy ships much easier. The only downsides are the absolute lack of restraint when firing missiles, which means that they will run out of ammo pretty fast and the fact that they can be destroyed. This, however, is a rare occurrence since the enemy will never fire on them deliberately (unless the player detaches them from the ship) and can still be rebuilt when in base.
    • The beam weapons are only useful in some circumstances: namely, the assault on capital ships. They have no aim assist, a very short range and produce a lot of heat. However, they do their job tremendously well. When twin linked, they can rip open a Destroyer in mere seconds and are very useful for the most awesome Galactica-style maneuver the game allows with its Newtonian physics: by strafing sideways through the hull of a destroyer, the beam can be targeted towards the turrets of the capital ship, both damaging the ship itself and leaving it defenseless in no time.
  • Brain Uploading: Jefferson Clay, though the procedure was done during the original game and is thus not shown in I-War 2.
  • Boring, but Practical: PBCs can vary in size and power, but in their different incarnations they will be the first and last kind of weapon the player will use, with others relegated to tactical uses or extremely specialized operations.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Caleb Maas, of the Maas Corporation.
  • Crapsack World: On the say-so of the aforementioned Corrupt Corporate Executive, Cal Johnston got sentenced to eighty years' hard labor for delinquency on a debt for which his father was slaughtered for nonpayment. Rough enough, but at the time, Cal was twelve years old. And the supporting documentation indicates that punishments such as that are not at all unusual, and that any descendants of debtors will inherit their relatives' debts.
  • Critical Existence Failure: There IS Subsystem Damage, but it will all eventually be repaired so long as you have just 1% of hull integrity and can escape.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cal, Jafs, and especially Clay.
  • Deflector Shields: Notable in that they're more limited than most examples, where a typical player ship has only two LDAs-one on top, one on bottom-that can track ONE enemy each, and the very rear of all ships is exposed.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Once stolen, cargo can be traded, or forged into ammunition.
  • Escort Mission
  • Fantastic Racism: The Third Way. Towards whom, you might ask? Well...everyone, basically. They will never, ever stop being jerks to Cal, an attitude based solely on his supposed "lower caste" status.
  • The Federation
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Pretty much the whole plot of Act Two.
  • Justified Tutorial: Clay teaching kid Cal.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: Oh, yeah. All the time. In fact, strafing is generally considered the best way not to get hit, due to the unreliability of the countermeasures.
    • Given that you will frequently be on the receiving end of a Macross Missile Massacre during the start of enemy engagements that usually have you outnumbered, you WILL have to master the art of missile-dodging or die trying.
  • Lag Cancel: Quickly activating and deactivating your LDS drive immediately cancels your momentum and propels you 1,000 m/s in whatever direction you are facing. Knowing this makes the game much easier, especially using it to dodge long as you're not fighting within an LDSi field.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: All the ports police themselves. Maas Corp facilities have a lot of police.
  • Left Hanging
  • MacGuffin: The alien artifact.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: A common battle tactic.
  • MegaCorp: The Maas Corporation, among others.
  • Mooks: The Marauders.
  • Nintendo Hard: Getting used to the tricky control system and tough Newtonian physics would be easier if the player didn't start out in an unwieldy tug.
  • Oh, Crap!: When the aliens begin doing their thing.
  • Old School Dogfighting: Averted, due to the Newtonian flight model. You must learn to contend with inertia at all times.
  • Point Defenseless: Averted. A useful point defense device is available.
  • Portal Network: The L-Points, due to the way capsule drives work.
  • Randomly Drops: Averted. Players have to intimidate passing cargo ships into abandoning their goods. There is no particular need to outright destroy them, just damage them enough for them to eject their cargo.
  • Ramming Always Works: It does if you have a military grade aggressor shield. But if you don't...
  • Regenerating Health: Hull damage is automatically repaired, but very gradually (roughly one percent per second), so don't rely on it in a firefight.
    • This is also why you want to finish off damaged enemy ships ASAP, while retreating and keeping your distance for as long as possible when you need to lick your wounds before returning to the fight.
  • Retired Badass: Clay is both this and a mentor for Cal.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Averted. A fair amount of the game is spent travelling.
  • Space Clouds: Lucretia's Base is located in one for most of the game.
  • Space Is an Ocean
  • Space Is Noisy
  • Space Fighter: Unusually for the genre, the player mostly controls medium-sized patrol ships. Actual fighters are often seen as enemy escorts, and their small size and high speed makes them a nightmare to deal with, at least until you manage to hit them.
  • Space Mines: And sentry platforms.
  • Space Pirates: Those damn Marauders.
    • Cal's grandmother Lucrecia was also one, and Cal himself has to continue the tradition after escaping from prison. To garner the attention of the Stepsons and continue the storyline, you have to commit piracy. Legitimate trade in the vein of Elite and Privateer is not an option.
  • Space Police: Various port security officers, who will hold grudges. Also, the Sheriff in Firefrost.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Warhead, another space combat simulator that came out in 1990 and also used realistic Newtonian physics. It was made by Glyn Williams, one of the lead designers of both Independence War games.
  • Starfish Aliens: Appearing at the eleventh hour, the Mysterious Glowy Aliens of Doom are completely inscrutable, consuming all in their path and wreaking havoc with everybody's previous plans.
  • Subsystem Damage
  • Super-Persistent Missile: Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep beep beep beep beep beep!
  • Take Your Time: There's really no rush to complete any of the missions.
  • 2-D Space: Averted. Things are very three dimensional.
  • Used Future
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Although not a lot tends to be happening in non-mission specific areas.
  • You Killed My Father
  • You Never Asked: Essentially Cal's response to his fellow escaped inmates' surprise upon seeing Lucrecia's Base for the first time, albeit not verbatim.
    • "Your grandma preferred blast shielding to white picket fences, huh?"
    • "Cal, that's a fortress!"
    • "Did I forget to mention that my grandma was a pirate?"