I own a heck of a lot of games, and as a result I tend to play only a very short amount of any random one before the next one comes along. While I would like to get over this and finish more of the games I own, in the meantime I have started Snap Judgement to make use of the impressions I get from the start of a game. I do believe that the start of a game is one of it’s most important parts, and if it doesn’t catch you, then even if the end of it is awesome, you’re not likely to continue on. Hopefully my comments and opinions will help someone on the fence about trying a game!
Amount Played for Review: 2 levels (out of 8); ~1 hour
Platform: PC (Steam)
People who are fans of space sims have had very slim pickings for the last decade, ever since Freespace 2. While the amazing X series has also come out in that period, their heavy emphasis on the sim part can turn away many people (I know I have a hard time getting into X3, though I’m looking forward to the new title~). In fact, on that point, other then some foreign developers, the space sim genre has mostly died after Freespace came out. There’s been a recent resurgence, though, which SOL: Exodus is a part of.
SOL: Exodus is the first half of a story that’s mostly your basic sci-fi fare: Some time in the future, Humans ruin Earth and move to space colonies. Then they find out that they ruined the sun, so they need to find somewhere entirely new. The colonies form a new government and send a fleet out to scout for a new planet to live on. Decades past, and the colonies of Earth, having not heard anything from the fleet they sent, start getting desperate and turn to a new religion that basically says that blowing up with the sun is a great way to die. So of course they arm themselves, and head out to stop the fleet that’s scouting for a new home since, you know, if people think they have somewhere better to go, then that kind of ruins their whole operation.
What happens after is also pretty standard: After an attack from the COD (Children of Dawn), you become the leader of the fleet, and now need to fight your way back to Earth to let folks know that they don’t HAVE to die in a supernova. And along the way, you need to shoot down any enemy ship that happens to stand (or fly, really) in your way, while helping folks escape.
And by the same token, the gameplay is very simple. Don’t take that as a ding against it, though; simple is actually what I was looking for! Your ship has your standard loadout of infinite-ammo guns, limited ammo missiles, and a secondary gun that shoots a slow-moving but powerful blast. You don’t need to manage shields, or change your weapons as you develop new tech or to meet the enemy types; you just have the same things each mission (that I played). If you get too damaged, or run out of missiles, you can dock in your mothership to be repaired and resupplied, though this dings you a bit in the end-of-mission scoring.
Missions are a good length each (Probably 20~25 minutes each in the two I played) and in those two had a good mix of objectives, with one being the tutorial where you just killed enemies until the plot progressed, and the other having you defend transports from COD fighters. Though if this is the basic formula for the game as a whole, it will likely start to get a little stale, especially with no mission checkpoints. You can also replay missions to get better scores, and there’s also higher difficulty levels to challenge yourself on as well. It seems that the higher difficulties are only unlocked after you beat the game once, though.
Completing a mission gets you an upgrade point which you can use to improve the stats of your fighter. Each mission also has a secret objective that you don’t get told about until after it’s over, which gives you a second upgrade point. And any upgrade you get also applies to replaying earlier levels, so if you’re having a hard time clearing one of the bonus objectives, you can just come back later with a powered up fighter.
All in all, SOL: Exodus is a good game to whet one’s appetite if they’re pining for the days of old, yet find games like X to be far above their skill level. Don’t go into it expecting much more then an action title.