Sunday, August 30, 2009

Eclipse Phase - First impressions

I really had no intention of purchasing Eclipse Phase by Catalyst Game Labs, despite reading some pretty intriguing things about the game. However, Catalyst, taking a page out of the Paizo playbook, offers the pdf for $16 Cdn. Good deal, so I caved. These are my first impressions. The game is incredibly hard sci-fi. Though set in the distant future where the very definition of human has been distorted beyond all recognition, none of the concepts seem to embrace any of the fanciful space opera tropes. Well, that's not entirely true, there are some examples of alien technology that verge on science fantasy, but these are peripheral and may be ignored entirely. The first thing I noticed about the game is the remarkable number of character options available, starting with "morphs". Morphs are different options the character may choose for his or her physical presence. There are biomorphs, entirely biological morphs that range from completely unmodified humans, called flats, to a dozen different types of genetically-advanced humanoids to uplifted avians, primates and cephalopods. For those unable to afford a highly sought after biomorph, there are a variety of synthetic and cybernetic alternatives, although depending on the option, some significant social stigmas may apply. Lastly, it is possible to exist entirely in digital form and this may be a playable option depending on the campaign.

Technology in Eclipse Phase incorporates many of the things we understand today and takes them to the next level. Nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and genetic modification are the primary driving technologies in the game setting and nothing in there seems fanciful.

I will go into further detail in future posts as I digest the enormous amount of material in this game. Next time, I will talk about the game engine.


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