Indie Review: SOL Exodus
SOL Exodus is an space-action shooter promising a downloadable current-gen graphics, high octane and a cinematic experience. They got the downloadable part right.
- Worth The Time?Not really
- Things LovedThe textures are quite well done and .... uhm
- Things HatedToo Generic
- RecommendationA mediocre space-action shooter not really worth your time. It'd be better to just re-install Freelancer again.
- Name: SOL Exodus
- Genre: Simulation, Indie, Action, Shooter
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: No
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Seamless Entertainment
- Publisher: Seamless Entertainment
- Price: $9.99
- Reviewed On: PC
SOL Exodus is here, Freelancer fans it’s time to rejoice… well I mean there’ll probably be a sequel to look forward in the future, and that’ll be cool right. SOL Exodus says it’s a current-gen ode to past greats like Wing Commander and the aforementioned Freelancer, but who really believes what it says on the can. Maybe I’m being a bit unfair, SOL Exodus does promise, well at least the developers promise that, SOL Exodus:
SOL: Exodus is the first downloadable, 3D space-action game that leverages the power of modern graphics technology to deliver epic space battles featuring enormous capital ships, hordes of spacecraft, and beautifully rendered planetary battlegrounds in an action-packed, cinematic presentation reminiscent of TV shows and movies.
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So I’ll give it a fair chance and compare the game’s presentation to its supposed promise.
Well the first part mentions that SOL Exodus is the first game to offer beautifully rendered visuals and modern graphics. I assume then that Seamless Entertainment (that’s the developer) hasn’t heard of X3 because well, I’m sorry to tell you this but they use modern graphical effects too and are a lot better at it. The game’s textures aren’t half bad but are nothing to write home about. The rest of the game’s aesthetics are quite good for an indie game but not quite good enough to warrant such a rave write-up about them. The biggest problem by far is that this attempt to do such detailed graphics, as an indie team, means that the rest of the game suffers.
To SOL Exodus’s credit (it’s kind of annoying to use caps lock for ‘SOL’ every time), it does make a genuine attempt to be cinematic and action-packed. If this was 2002 then it would most certainly be exactly that; however, this is 2012 and SOL Exodus really doesn’t cut the mustard. The cinematics are full of simplistic scenes and cheesy one-liners, it just feels like an old game and the story doesn’t really help. The story tells the tale of a Commander trying to save humanity; sounds very Master Chief or Commander Shepard-like doesn’t it? Well the problem is it’s all very generic and has no defining detail to separate it from every other space game ever invented. You’re supposed to be saving humanity with the aid of an A.I. I can’t remember, so I’m going to call her Cortana, and as Commander What’s-His-Name you use your fighter craft to defend against and thwart the efforts of COD (a concept I’m sure Azhar will approve of). COD is a fanatical religious group and I know COD stands for something but well, I don’t really remember that either. It’s all quite forgettable and I just don’t feel like I want to save this version of humanity. Religious fanatics (who I’m going to call the Chaos Space Marines rather than COD) are too overused and only really work if done well and let’s just say these particular Chaos Space Marines aren’t exactly winning SOL Exodus any prizes.
Gameplay wise, SOL Exodus isn’t as action-packed as I was lead to believe, this seems to be a trend now. There’s nothing wrong with the controls and the whole shooting-enemy-fighters mechanic seems solid and polished enough, but that’s again as far as it goes. The game doesn’t distinguish it in any way, it’s just fly to ship; shoot ship; change target; shoot next ship; rinse and repeat. There’s almost no variety in weaponry and the upgrade system is very limited offering only to give you a couple extra missiles or hull integrity for each point invested. It seems like Seamless Entertainment tried too hard to get what they thought an arcade space shooter should be like and forgot to make a game we’d love and enjoy instead. There is a hacking component to combat against the larger enemy ships where you can disable or change the target of their own arsenal or things like engines. The problem is it isn’t fleshed out enough and seems tacked on rather than integrated into the entire experience.
There is one aspect to SOL Exodus that remains completely faithful to the statement made by the developers, it is downloadable. Unfortunately, and in a year so full of AAA titles that they’re literally leaking out of my ear, I really can’t suggest such a generic indie game to anyone. Don’t get me wrong, there are some upcoming indie games to blow the pants off many AAA’s, like Torchlight 2 for example, but this is certainly not one of them. I don’t like to be mean about any game, that’s Azhar’s job, but I certainly can’t say anything nice about SOL Exodus either.
A side note to this is the hacking mechanic of SOL Exodus is called torchlight, and well as I heard torchlight I kinda wanted to play that and not play this. I wonder, is it fate?