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Review

Salvation Prophecy Review

  • Game release: July 30, 2012
  • Reviewed: October 18, 2013
  • PC
Aaron Sampson on Google+

Stockholm prophecy.

by

In space, no one can hear you scream. And when it comes to Salvation Prophecy, that may be a good thing. Salvation Prophecy tries to do a lot of things, from action-packed shooter scenes on alien planets, to high-octane space battles, to the more strategy-focused management of an entire empire. The game seemingly offers everything under the suns, but Salvation Prophecy fails to deliver a satisfying experience in nearly all of its endeavors.

Regardless of which of its four factions you select, the game greets you with a holo-room that charms you with snarky humor and wit. The female AI in charge of teaching you the game's basics rivals GLaDOS in crotchety banter with your character. As quickly as you can grow to love her, though, you are booted from boot camp and sent off to war against any of your empire's rivals.

Early on, you are limited to following orders--orders that solely involve fighting battles on opposing factions' planetary colonies. Although the third-person infantry battles distinguish the factions' play styles, from the high damage focus of the Drone Unity, to the more mystic feel of the Salvation, to the quirky explosion-focused inane babbling of the Wyr, the early battles are unfocused and the shooting lacks oomph, leaving you feeling as though you are nothing more than a cog in the disorganized galactic machine of your empire. Your role is to merely stay alive and shoot whatever the rest of your army is shooting. The AI does most of the work for you in many of the early battles.

As you level up and unlock new or more powerful weapons, empires increase their fortifications, and as a result, planetary battles become a bit more engaging due to the greater diversity of enemies and the fun of trying out new toys. Flying drones patrol the skies, and hulking mechs capable of absorbing several clips of firepower impede your path. However, combat still lacks any significant challenge, and the only threat of death comes from attempting to bite off more than you can chew and charging headlong into a cluster of enemies.

Salvation Prophecy is a game that does much but yields too little.

The game attempts to spice up the planet-side missions by feeding you information on each faction's backstory as you engage an enemy empire. While stories involving the Free Nations are standard human fare, the game weaves more of its humor demonstrated by the tutorial into the backstory of the insane robots known as the Wyr, who adore violent conflict and greet you with gibberish that communicates broad ideas in amusing ways. ("Explosion implosion deplosion mechsplosion!" your combat trainer tells you in a cartoonish robot voice, revealing all you need to know about the upcoming mission.)

Salvation Prophecy's most attractive gameplay comes from its space battles, which you can enjoy once you gain the keys to your own ship. The simple act of speeding across insterstellar space keeps your eyes locked to the screen, given how jump space navigation and wormholes both initiate enjoyable minigames to jump-start your heart rate before an impending battle.

GLaDOS would be proud of her Wyr counterpart.

Battles over the assault or defense of space stations erupt with laser beams for you to weave your way through as you take on enemy fleets. Much like planetary battles, early space battles are messy and dull, and your limited arsenal leaves you to rely much on your AI companions while you serve as support fire. As you level up your ship's weapons, however, you can earn an increasing reputation among the empires as a legendary fighter pilot as you systematically dismantle enemy fleets, all while evading their missiles with well-timed EMP blasts and chasing down stragglers.

Space battles lack thrilling dogfights, however, since most enemy ships attempt to flee you once you have engaged them, rather than fight back. The space missions lose their luster once you're forced to hunt down fighters one by one and finish them off with a missile to stop their shield regeneration before it starts. Because of this, the only risk of death comes if you completely stop paying attention, or boost into an entire fleet as a lone wolf before your backup arrives.

If you want to channel your inner Spike Spiegel between assigned missions, you may elect to take your ship out for bounty hunt missions and put a stop to space pirates and their lackeys. While these missions don't offer much contrast to regular space battles, you'll find yourself needing to be a little more careful because you have no backup to draw enemy focus away from your ship. The ship designs for pirates, such as the Grim Lobster, are much better than the empire's mass-produced ships, and offer a bit more of the game's quaint charm.

The underwhelming galactic map.

Once you've conquered both land and space to the fullest extent, you rise to the rank of commander of your faction, unlocking the ability to construct space stations and colonize planets, as well as launch the missions to assault enemies yourself. Resources come in at such a fast rate that it's nearly impossible to run out of troops to supply your colonies, but you can maintain only one global mission at a time, rather than allowing space stations to launch missions simultaneously or to request reinforcements from one another. The feature adds little to the game but frustration, as it often seems as though you aren't making progress. Enemies take back other colonies and destroy other space stations just as quickly as you conquer theirs, leaving the game to spiral into an extraterrestrial "ring around the rosie" with no end in sight.

Interlaced throughout the game are sparse missions to investigate unstable wormholes that lead to primitive alien planets, upon which you find ancient runes related to the game's titular Salvation Prophecy. Although these missions are few and far between, the game receives a huge spike in both difficulty and tension as the game's mostly absent narrative finally culminates as portals from another world rip open and aliens threaten to destroy friend and foe alike. This alien threat brings the most tense gameplay the game has to offer; planetary battles make you feel like you're defending from the bugs of Starship Troopers, and space conflict becomes a frantic race to seal the portals at their source to save a star system.

Did someone call The Doctor?

Salvation Prophecy is a game that does much but yields too little. The game offers satisfaction not in its individual mechanics, but in how its disparate pieces, various factions, and space travel minigames keep you doing something different from one moment to the next. Be prepared to grind for several hours before the game's rhythm picks up and its diversity compels you towards the exciting closing battles that reveal Salvation Prophecy's best attributes.

The Good
Humorous dialogue
Makes moving between planets engaging
Exciting final battles
The Bad
Unnecessary strategy layer
Boring early game
AI ships are too scared
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Tyler Hicks has taken over the helm of the Salvation, and brought peace to all factions to stifle the alien threat.

Discussion

17 comments
ironboatlee
ironboatlee

I gave it 7-7.5 . Concerned about its budget and listed price , it did pretty well. Also the dev is quite active on steam forum to solve problems and listen to suggestions.

vessekai
vessekai

Hey Kevin and Tyler - 

I wanted to chime in about the difficulty.  It seems like a big part of why you didn't like the game was a lack of challenge.  Did you try the difficulty levels?  They can be changed at any time during the game, and there are separate settings for planet and space.  

Hard difficulty is genuinely hard.  I can't help but think that would have made the game more enjoyable for you.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I wonder how many people would notice the reference to Cowboy Bebop.

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

Not gonna argue the score here. But maybe GS can mention when a game is a indie game? Cause this game is a indie game, offers a lot and isn't super expensive. I do think that should be mentioned. It could help people more in deciding if they wanna buy this game or not. Lots of things for example can be pointed to the fact it was only a small team making this game with a low budget so they had to make sacrifices. People tend to be a bit more forgiving if they know this and understanding that its not indie game and not a game made by a bigger studio with more money. Just seen it in indie reviews before that there is no mentioning of it being a indie game and getting punished on voice acting for example while that is one of the things indie studios often have to put sacrifices cause good voice actors are expensive.

TiberiusAudley
TiberiusAudley

@vessekai To me it wasn't the "difficulty" per sé, it was the manner in which fights played out.  Everything was very linear.  Planet Battles weren't "easy" they were...rail-shootery.  Kill cluster, move on to next cluster.  There wasn't anything dynamic about the fights.  Because of that, it was relatively easy to keep everything in front of me and just sit back and let the derps tank for me until I got the 2-3 tendril Energy Beam for Salvation, which pretty much makes you unkillable combined with speed stims.

Granted, I imagine space battles would have been a bit more exciting on Hard (I assume they actually start piloting like the bounty captains, where they actually turn and try to shoot you?).  Admittedly I did NOT crank up the difficulty level, but...on Normal, the only time I saw a ship actually fire at me while I was looking at it was in my bounty hunt of Grim Lobster.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@feared4power Of course there is. Any body with mass produces a gravitational field, no matter how slight. Obviously, more massive structures produce more gravity, which is why we notice the gravitational pull of the earth but not the gravitational pull of other people. Compared to the other three fundamental forces, gravity is the weakest, and yet it is the force that dominates on a large scale. 

Our earth is a celestial object, and you can very obviously feel its effects :) The moon's gravity is what produces our tides here on earth. Very obviously, gravity travels through space. 

mariocerame
mariocerame

@dutchgamer83 .

Isn't it one guy? Ala Mount & Blade? I wasn't going to buy the game until I learned that.

TiberiusAudley
TiberiusAudley

@dutchgamer83 Weird, I actually had mention of the game's low price tag in my review.  It would appear that bit did not make it through editing.  I wholly agree with you on this point, and although I did not stress it in my review, trust me -- it was at least mentioned that the game had a low price tag, and is worth a try on that merit alone.  If I had to guess, it would be that it was cut simply because I didn't stress it in other parts of the review, so it came across as non-sequitur.  I'll keep that in mind in future reviews.

Thank you for the good feedback on the review :)

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@dutchgamer83  

That's a rather forgiving point of view. With that said, not everyone can condone shortcomings just because the developer is resource-strapped.

razama
razama

@dutchgamer83 I was thinking the exact same thing. You get a really good value for what comes in this game. 

vessekai
vessekai

Sure, if you don't like how the fights played out - fair enough.  But that's a separate issue than the challenge.  This is what you said in the review:

"combat still lacks any significant challenge"

"the only risk of death comes if you completely stop paying attention"

That's gotta affect your overall enjoyment of the game.  Andt hose things just simply aren't true on hard difficulty.  I'm guessing you must be pretty good at space flight games, because in most forum posts I've read, people have a pretty tough time of things in the space dog fights, and that is probably the most popular part of the game.



dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

@Gelugon_baat @dutchgamer83 Like i said, i'm not gonna argue the score. But mentioning that it is a indie game would for many people mean they go into the review in another way. And maybe understand the score a bit better.


Why would you not forgive a studio some things because they have a lesser budget? I'm not talking about game breaking things like terrible controls and insanely boring gameplay. But if we look at Salvation Prophecy, this game was mostly made by one person. See what he managed to make, sure the start is boring, but so are so many rpg's who score good scores (Final Fantasy 11 anyone?). He won't have access to motion capture for his game, so his animations won't be as great as with many AAA games. He can't hire a Nolan North to do the voice acting cause that guy charges more money that it has cost to make this game. The game can still be bad don't get me wrong, its not like just because its a indie game that everything is forgiven. But at least mention these things in your reviews that it is a indie game. Then its up to the people to decide if they can forgive the shortcomings knowing the developer was resource-strapped, now they could think "just another crappy developer pooping out another crappy game who just wants to grab our money". Yet this game was made with passion by someone who just didn't had millions to spend on his game. This game is also out for quiet a while and still got worked on i believe (i saw it for sale a year ago). And this isn't like that horrible indie game Day one Garry's incident where the developer is a total jerk and doesn't care about his game or that War Z game that was clearly made to earn a quick bucks on Day-Z.


Again, you don't have to forgive everything. And its surely not for every gamer to over look some things. But there are many gamers who can forgive certain shortcomings when they know its a indie game made by only one or a small team with less resources.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@dutchgamer83 

Well, Tyler Hicks is not one of them apparently.

Also, you may want to consider that if someone mentions the bit that a game with some degree of sophistication is the work of just one person or a few, he/she may well be exhibiting pro-underdog tendencies.

Not every person is willing to inject more slant into an already inherently-biased piece of opinion that is a game review.

Salvation Prophecy

  • PC
  • Unix/Linux
Salvation Prophecy is a military space epic where human, mutant, and robotic factions are at war for galactic domination.
Check out even more info at the Salvation Prophecy Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average Score See all 8 Player Reviews
6.3
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