I’ve tried getting involved with a few space-sims in my time. I love the idea of floating around space, docking at massive space stations, destroying pirates and gathering bounties while adoring a passing nebula. The problem is I always like the idea more than the over-technical reality. Take for example the “brilliant” X3. Anything any I’ve ever read about it made it sound amazing but when I played them I was so overwhelmed I only lasted mere hours before giving up. Salvation Prophecy is my personal space-sim “salvation”, a beautifully simple foray into intergalactic conflict that lets even a dummie like me feel like a space cowboy.
Salvation Prophecy isn’t just a space-sim. Along with giving you access to your own ship, which you can upgrade at your leisure, you also have on-foot land battles that resemble the scenes from Star Wars: Episode 2. You can level and unlock special abilities for your on-foot avatar as well as purchase bigger and badder weaponry in a basic RPG manner. Ultimately you are given the control of the military forces of your chosen faction (of which there are four). I’m yet to reach this point in the game even after a good 15 hours of space-faring but judging from the rest of the game it will be a simple approach but done incredibly competently.
If the different sections of Salvation Prophecy were presented as stand alone packages, they wouldn’t cut the proverbial space mustard. Both in-space and on-land segments have overly simplified game mechanics. The beauty with Salvation Prophecy is that these scenes take place in a dynamic world where the four factions will constantly attack at each other’s space stations and planetary settlements. You will often find the space station you are on being attacked by a rival force and have to take off and defend it. By streamlining the mechanics Salvation Prophecy lets all the segments intertwine to make the world feel much more alive, rather than trying too hard and just over-complicating everything. I was reminded of Spore while playing Salvation Prophecy. But where Spore got it wrong was by separating all the mini-games of other genres, Salvation Prophecy puts them all together so that even if each section is a little basic they all have a lovely synergy with one another.
I was initially impressed and relieved when I booted up Salvation Prophecy and it ran smooth as silk. I like a game that does that without me fiddling around with any of the settings. This prevailed throughout Salvation Prophecy, it never crashed and always ran so very nicely. Admittedly the graphics are (here’s that word again) relatively simply, especially the on-foot segments. But the simple graphics and simple gameplay mechanics all work rock-solidly and make the game such a smooth, fun and engrossing experience. Also, some of the space scenes look rather pretty regardless.
The space dog-fighting scenes are the strongest on offer and especially offer the most in terms of upgrades to your vessel. Once you are given your ship you are free to explore the galaxy as you wish. Space travel is spiced-up by providing mini games when you jump or wormhole between far-flung galactic distances. It’s a nice little touch that breathes a lot of life into the game. As much as you are free to go as you please, there’s not a lot to do unless you take on missions from your factions commanders. These are almost always attacking a rival’s space station, but there is also bounty hunting missions to spice it up.
You are also given the opportunity to explore “unstable wormholes” that lead to yet unknown sections of the galaxy. I was surprised to see some fresh addition to the game in the exploring of aliens planets and a rather fruity story that’s responsible for the games title. After quite a few of the same melee’s with other factions finding yourself shooting at space dinosaurs on a freaky alien planet is a welcome change of pace.
Salvation Prophecy isn’t perfect though. In general the simplified mechanics work but at times I found myself hungering for a little more depth. The battles, both on-foot and in-space, follow the same formulae from start to finish. The only thing that changes is that you are given a couple of new toys to play with here and there. The upgrade trees are all very simple and don’t force you to specialise in any one direction as it’s easy enough to just collect all the upgrades. The on-land battles can also get frustrating as you are not given any control of your team mates and will have to idly watch as they choose targets at random. Perhaps giving the player control over the AI team mates and ramping up the difficulty of the opponents would have given Salvation Prophecy that little extra oomph.
I’ve said it about 20 times in this review, but Salvation Prophecy really is a simple space-sim. This doesn’t stop it from being a great game though. It combines a number of competent gaming mechanics that don’t overreach themselves and solidly interweaves them all in a dynamic galaxy. It’s an addicting and fun experience, that doesn’t require NASA training to play. If it had that little extra ounce of depth I would have happily given it a perfect score, but as it stands Salvation Prophecy is getting a healthy 4/5.