Sol: Exodus Review

Greg Tito | 1 Feb 2012 14:30
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Some of the other concessions fall flat. Your ship receives no damage, for example, when colliding with other ships, mining platforms or even asteroids. You just bounce off. That seems like a decent idea to keep the action moving, but exploiting the lack of collision detection is just too tempting. Blowing up the big enemy frigate seems cheaply won if all I had to do was hug the hull to avoid being shot by turrets. The gunships are a bitch to destroy, what with their rear-firing cannons, but if I repeatedly afterburner boost into their engines and loose all my missiles, they go down much quicker. Who cares if I'm bouncing on them like a basketball while I'm doing it?

The production values of Exodus far exceed its cost. The voice-acting and sound design are both top-notch. Dialogue pops up over static images on your HUD, but the chatter and rapport between the characters is well-acted. The music fits the pace of the action, and I loved the happy "blip" sound that signals the explosion of yet another enemy ship. Flying around the rings of Uranus (heh) or over the atmosphere of Titan feels like you are flying through NASA photography, but there are some glitches in displaying ships, especially when you repeatedly bounce up against them, like some jerk always was.

Hacking enemy capital ships is the biggest innovation with the genre, and it's a nice change of pace in Exodus, but I'm not sure it succeeds on every level. Targeting a yellow node brings up a Matrix-style window of revolving characters which slowly resolves into a code between 3 and 6 digits long. The mechanic is neat, but you usually only have to pay attention to the last moment before the choice is presented. In theory, you could only glance at the display at the end, but I found myself watching the code resolving instead of flying my ship. It would be fine if hacking was sparsely used or saved for optional objectives, but there are many moments when entering the right code quickly is necessary to complete the mission, forcing you to pay close attention to it at the cost of the other gameplay, which is honestly a lot more fun than glancing at scrolling digits. It feels like busy work. I didn't completely hate hacking, but be aware that it's a necessary distraction to progress through the missions.

Exodus is by no means a perfect game, but I love the rebirth of the space combat genre it heralds and the small number of missions has me looking forward to more.

Bottom Line: A solid, if bite-sized, space combat game that revitalizes a defunct genre with excellent flight combat and only a few missteps.

Recommendation: If you're bored to death with trying to get Wing Commander to play on your PC, you'll enjoy romping through Sol: Exodus for a spell.

This review was based on the PC version of the game.

Game: Sol: Exodus
Genre: Vehicle Simulation
Developer: Seamless Entertainment
Publisher: Seamless Entertainment
Platform: PC
Available from: Steam

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