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Eve Online: Exodus

Score: 93%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: CCP Games
Developer: CCP Games
Media: Download/1
Players: MMORPG
Genre: MMORPG/ Simulation/ Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Eve Online: Exodus is, in a word, beautiful. From the breathtaking starscapes to the cool warping effects to the grandeur of the interiors of the stations, this beauty is matched by that of the ambient music that is played in-game. Sometimes I believe I could simply amble along slowly through the galaxies just watching and listening.

Another aspect of Eve Online, of course, is the weaponry. Luckily, the sound effects for the weapons are nicely done as well. From the zaps of the lasers to the launching rockets, right down to the massive explosions, the sound effects in Eve Online help to put you right there in the action.


Gameplay:

Eve Online: Exodus was my first chance to play Eve Online, and as such, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. One disappointment was that it wasn’t the game to test out my new flight stick with. Well, that was my first thought anyway, as Eve Online doesn’t support flight stick control. I was quite pleased to discover that Saitek’s Cyborg EVO Wireless can be mapped to keyboard controls, and with the new hot-key control allowed in Eve Online: Exodus, I can configure my button cluster to control the launching of my weapons, my hat-switch to pull up my map and allow for navigation, and map the stick’s X and Y axes to the mouse X and Y axes. All-in-all, it allows me to have pretty good control with my flight stick. (While this is less reviewing Eve Online: Exodus, I feel certain that there are Eve players that will appreciate the info.)

So, what can you do in Eve Online: Exodus? You have a universe of choices -- you can start your own mining operation (which is important when you consider that items in the game are player-manufactured), you can go on specific missions for Corporation “Agents” (NPCs that assign missions), you can hunt down pirates in the depths of space, or for that matter, become one yourself and prey on others in low security areas.

There’s a lot to do, although it might take a bit of poking around to figure some of it out. Luckily, you can interact with other pilots, who are typically ready to lend a hand with a piece of advice here or there. But the social aspects of Eve Online: Exodus go way beyond that. You can form (or join existing) corporations which can have their own agendas, wage war against other corporations, and, new for Exodus, you can buy and build Player Owned Starbases (POS). These Player Owned structures are similar to stations, but are movable. Now, more than ever, you really feel like you can make a major difference in the world of Eve.

There are lots of interesting manners of interaction with other players, from joining corporations to forming gangs, which allows for following each other through warps and locating each other when separated.

For those who prefer to play missions, there are new multi-level arenas called “Complexes” (formerly known as dungeons), which offer a story with a bit more depth than some of the Agent’s missions.

Other improvements and upgrades heralded by Eve Online: Exodus include: new environments such as planetary rings, ice fields, comets, orbital asteroids, and new planetary effects, a formal contract system for trade agreements and assassinations (along with extensions to the existing courier and escrow systems), alliances, enhanced aggression system (for determining criminal and contraband items), improvements to the market, an updated in-game browser, new ships, mining improvements, improvement of ease of control for corporations, a new War Declaration and Rules, new agent functionality, new NPC types with ultra-rare loot and very high bounties, mining operations and rogue drones, a system for Fleet Command and tactical view, and the ever-so-useful calculator and notepad tools in the taskbar.


Difficulty:

As is the case with most MMORPGs, the difficulty is somewhat dependant on what your goals are. If you want to be a miner and mine for minerals, it’s not too difficult to get the hang of things. If you want to organize and run your own corporation or be a successful bounty hunter, you’ll need more practice.

One interesting aspect of Eve Online: Exodus is the way that skills are trained. Instead of requiring players to be in-game to train their skills, you only have to start training your skills in-game. For a given skill at a given level, there is an amount of time it will take to finish training that skill. This has no bearing on whether you’re in-game or not during that time. This means it is important to always have a skill training. These skills add up to better performance on your part and more available actions as well. Training up a lot of skills will make things easier, but with the training time factor, it’s important to choose wisely.


Game Mechanics:

The visuals in Eve Online: Exodus are breathtaking. The music merely serves to reinforce this effect. The warping effects are spectacular... except for the fact that you can warp straight through seemingly solid objects such as stations and even planets. Perhaps there’s an explanation based on how warping works in Eve Online, but I wish the ships would side-step solid objects before warping. This tends to break my suspension of disbelief.

As for everything else, Eve Online: Exodus is simply amazing. There’s something for anyone with an interest in space exploration and sci-fi, from rogues to generals, from diplomats to stock brokers and everyone in between. With the structure set in place that players create almost all of the items, there’s lots of work to be done and money to be made -- that means that more of the “people” you’re going to bump into and deal with are likely to be actual people, rather than NPCs.

One gripe worth mentioning: you’ll need to make sure you have the latest DirectX drivers on your system. I bought a new Sony VAIO VGC-RA820G for Christmas, but evidently didn’t have the correct DirectX sound drivers on it. The result? Occasionally (though somewhat rarely) my computer would reboot in the middle of a battle. (Not a great thing to have happen.)

Eve Online: Exodus is available for download from Eve-Online.com.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:



The following is taken straight from Eve-Online.com. Where better to get the information?

Minimal hardware:
CPU: PIII - 450 MHZ or higher
RAM Memory: 128MB (256MB for 2000/XP)
Hard Drive Capacity: 1 GB
Connection: 56k modem or faster

Operating System:
Win98 SE
Windows 2000
Millennium, WinXP
Please note that Windows 95 and NT are not supported.
DirectX 9.0 or later

Video cards:
GeForce 2 or better
ATI Radeon 7200 or better
Matrox Parhelia

The minimum screen resolution for Eve is 1024x768.

Audio hardware must be Direct Sound compatible. For optimum performance, use latest drivers available.

Recommended system for optimal performance:
Processor: P4 1GHz+
RAM Memory: 256MB or higher
3D Accelerator: 64MB or higher video card

 

Test System:



Intel Pentium 4E, 3.2 GHz (Intel Grantsdale i915)
1 GB RAM, AMI BIOS
Radeon X300 Series (128 MB)
Realtek HD Audio
Floppy disk drive
200 GB 7200 RPM, Serial-ATA/150 Maxtor HD (24760 MB free)
DVD-ROM, Pioneer DVD-RW DVR-108
Sony SDM-HS73 Monitor
Cable Modem

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