Galactic Junk League: My First Foray into the League
Was it a lot of Junk?
Space. Space is really, really big.
Galactic Junk League (GJL) is an odd duck, part ship building, part combat, both of which it can competently achieve.
The game opens with a nice tutorial, placing you, a new Junker, into your hanger and guides you through basic ship modification and then takes you into a flight and fighting tutorial. It was in this tutorial I was met with my first issue; the voice acting was less than stellar. It came across as someone trying to do a Rick Sanchez (Rick and Morty) impression and failing miserably whilst sounding cheap. Your ship starts off as quite basic but from what I can tell, the possibilities for customisation are astronomical.
*pause for laughter*
The story of GJL is pretty standard fare, the universe used to be prosperous, but now DOOM. Space dogfights are the only way to pass the time and your best friends are your team.
What is GJL though?GJL is a tactical combat, sci-fi free-to-play arena shooter on Steam. I say tactical because positioning in a dogfight is paramount. Your guns, be they sophisticated beam weapons or make-shift rockets fashioned from old fridges, have arcs, and if that arc doesn't reach your enemies, then that gun won't fire, and having one gun less than the people shooting at you can never be a good thing. Positioning yourself in a fire-fight will be the difference between life and death, and if you are the last ship alive defending one of your team's points; chances are you are going to want to stay alive. Remember that space is a 3D environment and enemies can and will be coming at you from all directions and when you are starting out, keeping that in your head will be a literal life-saver.
GJL has a reasonable feature-set for a f2p game: 4 unlockable ship "classes" that each perform differently, multi-level weapons systems on three tiers (laser, missile, and Gauss), 3 different maps; which may seem limited but these maps are rather quite sizeable. Even the map offered in the tutorial section is larger than most maps on some other games I've played, just in terms of horizontal size, the vertical size in GJL also has to be factored in, giving each battle a majorly epic feel.
My main major gripe so far with GJL is that the combat is a lot slower paced than the trailers on the Steam store page would have you believe; the time-to-kill seems really high, but this might just be a factor of being at the lower level and having weaker weapons. Another issue is the apparent lack of a server-browser, meaning the player has no control over who or where they play, though it does seem like the game has internal MMR scores to keep the overall skill level of the players involved roughly comparable. Though this method raises issues of its own, with people who lose on purpose to lower their MMR to go and roll over the low-level competition. It happens in Hearthstone, it happens in Overwatch, and it probably happens in a lot of games with MMR based systems. Server browsers bring about their own set of problems but I digress.
Overall, I have enjoyed my limited time with Galactic Junk League and will probably be putting in a lot more hours. Trying out new ship shapes, weapon configurations, and weapon types. As I said previously, I haven't played a lot of GJL but I've played enough that it has its hooks sunk into me and in between other games, my time played of GJL is going to skyrocket.