|Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: 10.5.8|
Mac OS X: 10.4 | CPU: 1.5 GHz Intel | RAM: 256 MB | HD Space: 200 MB | Graphics: GeForce 2 (or other equivalent)
"...built by a dedicated people, for a single purpose..."
Soldak Entertainment is nothing, if not dedicated. Since 2004, the small studio led by husband-and-wife duo Steven Peeler and Delilah Rehm have been working quietly away on a little self-contained universe of quaint, action-oriented RPGs. Superficially, they fit neatly into the mold of the traditional single-player Diablo-style click-fest, and bore all of the hallmarks of their indie heritage, but going below the surface Soldak's releases tried to actually break away from the mold in new and innovative ways. Depths of Peril balanced traditional hack-and-slash gameplay with a dynamic, strategy-based element rooted in factions competing for control of the city you were tasked to protect. Din's Curse took that dynamism and stretched it even further, raising the stakes of the consequence-centric gameplay to almost higher levels. Not only did you have to worry about fighting off the hoardes of increasingly powerful monsters...you also had to worry about leaving your precious town open to starvation, betrayal, or sudden attacks by monsters while you were questing. Putting off or ignoring key objectives had real consequences on your gameplay experience, because Heaven help you if the armour and supply vendors were the ones who got killed in the last demon attack. Kivi's Underworld took an almost opposite direction, stripping away the common trappings of most CRPGs to get at the fundamental essence of what a CRPG was supposed to be, forcing the player to make decisions that were usually taken for granted in most other games.
Perhaps after eight years of working on the same line and style of games, it's not so surprising that Soldak seemed to want to do something new and different with its latest title, Drox Operative. You have been cast as a galactic mercenary, a bygone remnant of a once-proud civilization that now exists only in ruins – a civilization that betrayed you out of fear. It was also a civilization that you helped to destroy. Good, bad, does it really matter? You're still the one with the Dreadnought. This game may have traded its dungeons, swords and demons for missiles, starfighters, and the cold hard vacuum of space, but make no mistake: this game has Soldak's fingerprints all over it.
Somewhere in the heavens...
The inevitable comparisons are going to be made to what is arguably the Gold Standard for space-based single-player driven open-world RPGs on the Mac: Escape Velocity. From its humble original incarnation in the early 90s to the epicness of Nova, EV was one of the shining examples of a game that was timeless in its gameplay and appeal – however, one of the consistent problems the game had was that it lacked a convincing degree of dynamism. News reports, randomly reoccuring missions, and AI vs. AI battles with randomly generated fleets helped project the idea that the player was part of a much larger world. Despite that, nothing much really changed outside of the few story missions that made up the plot. Even Nova, with it's well written and fleshed out plot, didn't provide players with much change in a galaxy supposedly in tumult; again, outside of the story missions, not a lot really changed in the universe as a whole.