Off to space
I am willing to bet that many of us have entertained the idea of creating our own video game at least once in our life, but for many of us that idea only ever stays an idea. Not so for Tryggvi HŠkonarson, the man who almost single handedly created the single player tactical space sim/RPG game Ceres.
Iím a sucker for games set in space, and I tend to enjoy the single player experience more than most. After all, the immersive experience tends to be broken when youíve got your pal BonerLord420Swag running around screaming into the mic, so perhaps I am somewhat biased when I say that Ceres is one of the better games Iíve played in recent memory. But what is it about?
What's in store?
The game takes place in a future version of the Solar System where Earth is totally destroyed and reduced to an asteroid belt and mankind is recovering from the cataclysmic event of its homeworldís demise. An object known as The Gate (which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Mass Effect Relay or the EVE Gate) connects to a star that has gone supernova and immediately went haywire, blowing up Earth and connecting to random stars that are spewing all manner of radiation and ashes across our own species system, even dragging in an alien lifeform or two.
You are the captain of a star ship on your very first voyage out to make a name for yourself in what remains of the solar system when you encounter an A.I. called CERES. Iíll leave the plot summary at that because I donít want to give any spoilers and thereís just so much else we can discuss. Like the fact that you not only get your own star ship, you get an entire squadron of them that you can customize and micromanage down to the most minute detail.
How you play is up to you
You can control who captains your ship, you can level up and choose perks, there are dozens of ship types to switch from and choose, and every ship comes with an A.I. that you also have to select, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that can turn on you if not managed correctly. But as you follow the game's storyline you are free to do whatever you want to (or have to) in order to earn money. If it flies, you can loot it or shoot it down. You can outfit your squadron to be a caravan of merchants or ruthless bandits flying across what remains of Earths solar system.
All of this happens with the obligatory third person perspective and if the game has its flaws this is where they begin to become apparent. Moving your ship in combat can get tricky, even tedious and the on screen text is a little bit too small for me unless youíre zoomed in, even with my glasses on. I keep hoping thereís a button Iíve yet to find somewhere in the settings that handles that. Sometimes it feels like the fight with the UI is worse than with the NPCís, which is bad seeing as how combat carries the game. There is no soundtrack but Iím willing to let this slide and not penalize the game too harshly for it. In terms of graphics and visual appeal there is nothing particularly special. But thatís okay because a lot of people seem to forget that graphics donít necessarily make a game good, and for a game of its scale and humble origins as a clone of the 1999 game Homeworld.
A diamond in the rough
The game reminds me vaguely of a kind of Mount and Blade in space, which should be good news for those of you looking for a sci-fi game with those elements, because in my eyes they are hard to really find. But I know that Ceres is not going to be for everyone and I highly suggest you see if you can get your hands on a demo before you go ahead and purchase it. But in my eyes Ceres is a diamond in danger of being lost in the rough.
Total customization of everything from ship component to ships in your squad. It feels like an actual Space Sim instead of an action game set in space This game saw a level of care that few games of this scale see and you get that reflected in the fini
The plot could have benefited from a tad more originality given. No soundtrack. Unwieldy UI at times.