STAFF REVIEW of Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition (Xbox One)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
by Adam Dileva

Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition Box art Originally released on PC back in 2017, Deep Sky Derelicts was met with some decent fanfare. Granted, I primarily game on my console, so it passed me by, but in the time since then, developers Snowhound Games has been hard at work, not only bringing out two DLC packs for the game since launch, but has now finally brought it to console gamers on Xbox One with the Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition, and it feels like a natural fit for the most part. Combining turn based strategy card combat with exploration and roguelike gameplay, Deep Sky Derelicts is a gritty yet often humorous adventure where you’re fighting against plenty of enemies and aliens, all while looking as if it came straight out of a comic book.

Mankind hasn’t done so well lately, with essentially two classes of rich and poor strewn across the galaxy. The poor class do what they can to survive in space, scavenging what they can from derelict space stations that have seemingly been long abandoned. There’s a rumor about a Mothership that you are hired to find more information about, so you and your team of scavengers take the job and agree to report any findings as you explore and search numerous alien ships. With the promise of a better life and full citizenship, you have all the motivation you need to put your life on the line in deep space.

While this is the main premise of the narrative, there’s a lot more to it that unfolds as you explore and uncover new information, of which the writing is actually done well as you meet new characters and search each new area. There’s plenty of humor included as well, from simple one liners that gave me a chuckle to full on laughing, again, which speaks to the quality of the writing. Obviously though the first thing you’re going to notice about Deep Sky Derelicts is its unique comic book graphic style. It’s dark and gritty, but suits the setting and narrative quite well actually, though I do wish it was voiced and narrated.

So if you managed to play Deep Sky Derelicts previously on PC, you’re probably wondering why this is titled the Definitive Edition. Essentially it’s the all in one package with the core game and its two DLC’s that added quite a bit of content, mechanics and features, for the better. The first DLC that’s included is New Prospects. This expansion added new stances like Stealth, Rush and Normal that allow you to add another layer of strategy when trying to ambush enemies or sneak past to conserve energy which can make a huge difference in the outcome of a battle. New hazardous conditions have been added, like blizzards and even a new class, the Miner. With new missions and a bunch of other features and mechanics, this DLC actually made the core game much better overall.

The second DLC included is Station Life. This expansion more focused on your survivability and life on the station, as the name suggests. Now you’re able to craft new equipment, take on random and challenging battles, new missions, contracts and of course a new class, the Inventor, that relies on health regeneration rather than shields like other classes. Having not played the core game itself without the DLC’s, I can’t imagine how different the experience must have been without all these additions and improvements, so thankfully the wait for a console release has been worth it.

Your group of three mercenaries are hired to find out more information about a fabled Mothership, so you’ll search and scavenge derelict ships in search for more information and loot. Sometimes you’ll encounter hostile aliens, robotic machines, friendly settlers and other mercenaries. When you do engage in battle, combat is done in turn based card battles and you’ll earn experience and loot for winning. Every card has its own buff, attack damage, energy cost and more, so it's paramount to create a great deck as you progress. Your home base is where you’ll spend your time recruiting new members if needed, crafting new items, unlocking new perks, healing up and more.

As you land on a new derelict station, you’re presented with a grid-like map of the ship, though you’re only able to see a handful of squares around your area. As you explore grid to grid, you’ll uncover new areas and encounters along the way. Thing is, energy is required to move squares and to partake in battles, so it’s a resource you’ll need to constantly manage. Do you spend a lot of energy exploring a ship hoping to find a second landing pad, almost like a continue spot, or do you play it safe and return back to your home ship and pay to recharge your energy and engage in a few more battles to earn some more experience and loot? There’s a surprising amount of strategy required to be successful, something that’s not taught very well in the beginning, so be prepared to be confused for the first while until you figure it all out by trial and error.

Your three man team consists of different classes of your choosing, but again, it’ll simply take some trial and error to finally decide what suits your playstyle best. Each class has their own role and specializations, so it’s a matter of finding a great meld of abilities that works best for you. Do you take a bring brute that’s very heavy weapon and melee based, a medic that can heal or more ranged based damage dealers? They all have their own strengths, weaknesses, abilities, skill trees and more.

While turn based games or card battlers are not new to me, I’ve never quite played one that blended the two together in such a way like this. Your deck of cards are randomized for battles, so you’ll have a number to choose from each turn based on whose turn it is. Do you play your damaging cards to try and get quick kills and finish the battle, or spend precious turns buffing and regenerating shields to hopefully survive another enemy turn? There’s a surprising amount of strategy involved, not just in the combat, but upgrading and improving your team as you level up and gain more gear.

As you explore ships and come across NPC’s you’ll also be given optional side quests that can help you greatly down the road. Sometimes you’re given a choice of how you want to react or respond in conversations, which can have some unexpected, and sometimes hilarious, results. Then there’s the customization menu that is more than overwhelming when you’re beginning. Here you can upgrade your equipment with new gear you’ve found along the way, spending skill points to have specializations and much more.

The menu is serviceable, but it’s obvious that much of the controls and menus were developed for PC play moreso than console, as there’s seemingly a lot of button presses and menus that are cumbersome with the controller. Yes it works, but it takes some getting used to and isn’t the most of fluid experiences. For example, you can equip mods on your weapons, which are indicated by specific shapes to show what can fit with what, but this isn’t really explained very well and really confused me until I took the time to sit down and figure it all out. On the flip side, once you’ve learned how to navigate the menus and what goes where, you can really start to customize your characters and improve your damage and survivability quite substantially.

The graphic novel aesthetic is dark and gritty and fits the tonality of the game. While I enjoyed the art style, there wasn’t much variety of backdrops and the environment. The background music and ambient sounds are quite decent and never really became stale even after a handful of hours, I just wish there was some narration and voiced characters to give it a little more life.

With a Story and Arena mode along with the two included DLC’s, there’s plenty of content to sink your teeth into if you can get over the cumbersome and confusing menus. Once you learn its intricacies and how to upgrade your characters efficiently, Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition becomes a much more enjoyable turn based card battler. The writing is well done, combat is incredibly strategic and there’s plenty of depth for anyone looking to be a space mercenary and earn their citizenship while fighting aliens and raiders.

Overall: 7.7 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 51,058
Forum Posts: 725,924
Xbox One Titles: 3,243
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 2,112
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 15,846
Screenshots: 34,664
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

2021: XBA is still here
Post by shrew king
1 Replies, 6835 Views

Watch Dogs: Legion
Post by Nato King
0 Replies, 22858 Views

Xbox Series X or S
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 28198 Views

Spellbreak Grand Magus Pack (3) and Starter Pack (7) Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 21880 Views

I pay $ 1000! I search the Element 54 Canadian launch Team signaturen Faceplate
Post by Smill
0 Replies, 20601 Views

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 45805 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
3 Replies, 47868 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 42603 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
7 Replies, 70638 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
3 Replies, 29642 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 69619 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 56263 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 108988 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 78762 Views

Happy Birthday, Me.
Post by SnoochyBoochy
4 Replies, 95204 Views

© 2000-2021 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics