It’s been a while since a space combat simulator has hit the shelves and fans of the genre have certainly been left wanting. Fortunately SOL: Exodus has arrived to breathe new life into this dormant genre and it’s an excellent revival too.
Set within the confines of our solar system, SOL: Exodus tells the tale of Humanity 500 years in the future facing a sun going super nova far earlier than it should and an extremist religious group claiming it’s the will of God. You are forced to defend your fleet of ships, representing Humanity’s last hope, as a pilot and must battle the zealots across the solar system to continue you exodus to another viable planet. It’s a great narrative that not only tries something a little different with its focus on a single solar system but refreshingly introduces no alien elements. It’s the familiar tale of Human conflict, but in space.
The delivery of the narrative is to be praised as well. The well written dialogue is equally well voiced and so it’s easy to become immersed. It’s a shame then that it’s so short, clocking in at around five hours. Its brevity is understandable though, considering its low price point, and it’s a testament to its quality and enjoyment with how disappointing it is to finish the adventure.
Indeed SOL: Exodus is wonderfully immersive and this is further achieved by the actual piloting of your fighter. Simple controls and an elegant, minimalistic interface makes space dog fighting a breeze and highly enjoyable. The HUD indicates how to lead your firing in order to hit your target and makes sure there are no barriers to feeling and acting like an ace pilot. Additionally the Battlestar Galactica style weaponry is refreshing, with the use of ballistics – bullets and missiles – adding a sense of tangibility to combat.
It’s remarkable how much fun can be had with simply dog fighting among the stars, however, SOL: Exodus attempts to add more variety with a hacking attack to bring down the larger ships you’ll encounter. Unfortunately the hacking soon becomes highly repetitive, cropping up in practically every capital ship encounter, and the act of hacking is distracting enough to damage your performance in flying and combat. Additionally collisions with ships, debris and asteroids cause your ship no damage, taking away a lot of the risk/reward satisfaction of piloting and breaking the otherwise excellent immersion.
In the end, however, the issues of brevity, collision detection and hacking are minor nitpicks on an otherwise engaging and beautiful space combat sim. The Unreal Engine is used to great effect, bringing planetary bodies to life and creating an incredible backdrop to the frantic combat.
SOL: Exodus is certainly the kind of space combat title fans have been itching to see return. It’s a shame multiplayer isn’t included but as far as single player space dog fighting goes it’s pretty much top of its class. Here’s hoping developer’s Seamless Entertainment take note of the few shortcomings and create a sequel; they are brushing up against an exceptional revival of a classic genre.
MLG Rating: 8/10 Platform: PC Release Date: 12/06/2012
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of SOL: Exodus by the promoter for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.