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Smugglers 4 is the bigger, badder and more complex sequal to the highly popular and distinctly addictive space combat and trading stratogy game, Smugglers 3 The civil war has ground on, but none of the four factions look like giving up, and all are pushing the bounderies of technology and warfare to the limit to try and take ultimate control over the galaxy.
Smugglers 4 contains many of the same elements as the previous game. you control a ship, and fly about the galaxy trading legal or illegal goods at the various planets, undertaking missions for your government, or looking for fat trader vessels to plunder. Smugglers 4 however adds a host of new features into the mix which both give many new gameplay options, and also streamline some of the elements from Smugglers 3.
The first is now a selection of a profession. choose to be a ruthless mercinary, an ambicious bounty hunter or a deadly pirate. This will dictate lots of aspects of gameplay from what ship you start with to what abilities you have in combat.
Selling goods now is automatic, and trade prices are much more variable depending upon the state of the war. The game is also far more diverse thanks to the combat and non-combat abilities your character can earn as she/he progresses throughout a career in space faring.
Non-combat abilities include the ability for criminals to more easily slip past the lore, for traders to get better deals on goods, or for mercenaries to gain more reputation and honour from their victories. Speaking of victories, the number of extra mission types in the game is truly staggering, ---- everything from tracking down pirates, to transporting goods or marines, or reporting to fleet commanders to take place in a major battle for a particular system.
Battling in the game has also been heavily modified, with characters gaining combat abilities as they progress in levels, ---- from the defensive trader's use of a focused shield to more easily evade damage, to the Mercinary's dreaded focus beam, which insures an extra powerful punch for your guns. Different sorts of ships or ship equipment also have their own combat abilities, ---- such as a fast rate of fire (ie guns take less action points to use), or the chance of stunning your opponent with an electro magnetic pulse.
Two other new aspects of the game are a much more focused and coherent type of crew combat, ---- allowing you to strategically board and capture other ships (perfect for pirates, or anyone wanting to command a battleship), and the use of a scanner screen which can aide not only for bounty hunters looking for a specific mission targit, but for commanders of battleships and their associated squadrens deciding which of their escort vessels to put up against which enemy, ---- or whether to attack enemies themselves.
all in all there is far more in the game than can be easily explained here, ---- even for those who know Smugglers 3 well.
On the accessibility front, the game does feature more graphics than the first, however the developer has been kind enough to include a "blind compatibility mode" in the options screen, which lables all in game graphics, and also adds some extra text messages and boxes for screen readers during combat. After some waiting, all screens in the game are now totally labled, so it's only necessary to enable the compatibility mode before beginning play. After a slightly shaky start, some of the compatibility issues associated with labling in the game and Jaws have now been fixed, ---- though the game is known to run flawlessly with hal, Nvda or window eyes provided the Jaws curser, Hal's Dolphin curser, the Nvda review curser or the window eyes curser are used.
A guide on playing Smugglers 5 with nvda (though it also applies to Smugglers 4 sinse they have the same interface), has been written by Stewee and can be read Here on the forum
Some more advanced users of Jaws have also found the application hotspot clicker and it's script files usefull in playing Smugglers 4, which let you setup hotkeys to click on different parts of the screen automatically and perform various other more diverse functions. For more information by visiting the Hotspot clicker website
If your getting lost in the vastness of space, a textual explanation of how all the systems in the game link together can be found Here on our forum
All in all Smugglers 4 is a massive improvement over it's already astounding predecessor, with a more structured and diverse combat system, professions allowing various ways to play the game, and a far more diverse choice of missions, as well as better sound and music. It's therefore absolutely and completely recommended to anyone who wants an immersing and complex gaming experience in the depths of space.
The game is no longer available to buy singly, but it is available as part of the "we love smugglers" bundle, along with Smugglers 3-1. The bundle may be perchiced from nielsbauer for 14 usd, or for just 4 usd if you buy it along with Smugglers 5
Updates: entry 25 Jan 17 and description 25 Jan 17