GameplayThe goal of the game is to win each sector/level in one of five different ways. The operative can dominate the galaxy by themselves and bring fear to all of the races, they can stash the most amount of cash in the Drox guild’s coffers, ally each race with one another, be allied with the last standing race or explore the galaxy and take down all of the bosses while rescuing wayward ships to become a legend. Once that is completed, players can leave the sector for next more challenging one. However, since each race will adapt and coordinate on their own to secure victory, if the chosen path to victory fails the player will then have ten minutes to rectify the situation with the winning race or it is game over.
Drox Operative is an incredibly easy game to get sucked into. There is a copious amount of loot and customization for the operative’s ship. If one wants to focus on extreme speed, light armor and a jousting style of gameplay, feel free equip more thrusters and cruise at top speeds. Or if molding a space fortress is more attracting, load up the ship with heavy armor alongside an impenetrable shield system. Or better yet, sacrifice all defenses by designing a glass cannon of chaos with missiles and lasers firing off in every direction. The only caveat to this is making sure that the manageable resource, power load, does not exceed the ship limits as it will hamper its’ ability to travel. Similar to being slowed to a crawl when traveling in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim with an inventory packed to the gills.
The game is also quite unforgiving. Fly the ship too far into the wrong part of the galaxy and be prepared to get overwhelmed by a horde of pirate ships. Even better, the player can innocently enter a jump game to follow up a quest in a new area only to be greeted with a similar mass of pirate ships ready to obliterate you. Inspecting every anomaly and debris in the galaxy is also a dangerous game since an errant anomaly can transport the operative into a minefield of guess what… those same bloody pirates ready to pounce. The game teaches the player early on that ship preparation is of the utmost importance and consumables are always handy.
ControlsIn Drox Operative, each sector is composed of several small galaxy maps each with their own planets whose locations are randomly generated. Control of the ship is done from a top-down perspective by either using the W,A,S,D keys to move around or by clicking the left mouse button on a specific spot to travel. Weapons and consumables are controlled by hot keys on your action bar and interacting with missions from the different races/planets is akin to accepting quests from non-player characters in modern RPGs. However, you can also readily access the race relations menu and turn in missions without having to waste time back-tracking to the original planet that gave the mission.
Drox Operative is fairly tame when it comes to the graphics department. Although simplistic, the game has the feeling of a retro arcade space shooter. All of the laser bursts, ship explosions and jet engine trails that light up the landscape are quite satisfying. And speaking of the landscape, Soldak Entertainment really provided an excellent backdrop of beautiful galactic photos most likely taken from NASA’s Hubble Telescope. Additionally, all of the ten races are easily distinguished from one another. From the dragon-men Drakk to the insectoid Hive, each of the ten races’ ships are modeled to reflect their individual back stories which adds to the atmosphere.
The sound and music of the game fit quite nicely into the game. From the gentle hum of the space engines to the satisfying explosions and high-pitched whine of the laser beams. It works and matches the action perfectly. Additionally, the gentle upbeat space-electronic/rock music in the background alongside the other-worldly sounds help round out a presentation that players expect from a space shooter. Unfortunately, there is a bit too much repetition in the music choice and the different theme songs of the various races during the ship creation menu could have been incorporated more into the game.
Overall, Drox Operative for the PC is a great game that will bring hours of fun. Although the visual styling is on the simplistic side and more music tunes would have been welcome. They do well to accentuate the real meat and potatoes of the game. Which is the addicting loot collection and ship customization. Combine that with the intricacies of a dynamic living and breathing galaxy each operative must shape to further their goals. Soldak Entertainment has created a compelling action RPG that will surely have gamers jettison many hours into space.