July 27, 2012 7:30 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome
Building on their experience with Diablo-esque action RPGs Soldak Entertainment is currently adding the finishing touches to Drox Operative; a most ambitious sci-fi RPG, that shockingly does at certain points actually play a bit like Diablo. Or at least that's how I felt while giving its preview beta a thorough try.
Admittedly though playing in space and, spectacularly, as a spaceship do change the dynamics of the game to something very different from your average dungeon crawler. Even core mechanics get radically altered. There are no walls and doors to hide behind and speed feels much more important in the open space of, err, space, but, still, I simply couldn't shake off that feeling of Diablo similarity. Mind you, it's apparently a positive feeling, as I've grown very fond of Drox Operative and am pretty confident that its adherence to a loose interpretation of the sub-genre's rules helps it a lot.
Drox Operative is after all a very good action RPG involving a multitude of warring alien races in a constantly evolving galaxy. Interestingly it does also do co-op multiplayer, which I didn't get the chance to try, but is definitely a nice touch.
Impressively the game offers a huge selection of playable races that cover everything from typical fantasy fair to Babylon 5 references yet lack the Drox. These have apparently been extinct for thousands of years and all that remains is the secretive Drox Operative guild. Said former servants of the Drox have discovered that -having barely avoided extinction while trying to serve the galaxy- survival and power are of paramount importance, and now only work for the highest bidder as opposed to the collective happiness of the galaxy. Added to that and rather helpfully they are probably the best and most expensive trouble-shooters any space-faring race could hire.
Playing as a Drox Operative (i.e. a very selfish being) means that players will have to juggle race relations while helping one particular faction conquer the galaxy, or well one of its sectors. Killing stuff and looting aside, the main task of a Drox Operative is picking the winning side and making sure it stays winning. Getting rich also comes in handy. As does exploring planets and entering wormholes, but these are things everyone is doing in the galaxy these days.
Players also get to upgrade, tweak and kit out their ship which, incidentally, does feel a lot like a player-character in any other RPG. Oh, and just so you know, the game provides with a ton of options, a great variety of enemies, and a sleek and highly enjoyable combat system. Happily it looks okay too.
Drox Operative will soon be released for PC and Mac. You can pre-order it now though and enjoy a lovely 25% off the launch price.