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'Star Citizen' gives backers their first taste of a fuller game

'Star Citizen' Alpha 2.0 shows that there's a real game behind all the crowdfunding and hype.

Jon Fingas , @jonfingas
12.12.15 in AV

To date, what little you could play of Star Citizen has existed in bits and pieces: a dogfight module here, a hangar there, but not the cohesive interstellar experience promised from the start. At last, though, things are coming together. Roberts Space Industries has given backers an Alpha 2.0 release that represents the "first true slice" of the crowdfunded (and much-hyped) game. You can travel between multiple locations around a planet, and first-person ground combat is possible for the first time. Space walks are even an option, if you dare leave the safety of your ship.

This is still far from a finished project, and the new test version may not do much to reassure critics convinced that RSI is simply trying to take the money (nearly $100 million so far) and run. However, having a relatively complete portion is still significant. For a while, it seemed as if Star Citizen was fueled more by impulsive collectors than anything else -- contributors have spent thousands of dollars on spaceships that, in many cases, they still can't fly. Alpha 2.0 is a reminder that there's supposed to be an honest-to-goodness game at the end of all this, and that all those high-priced vessels exist to help get the game out the door.

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