Space has long been viewed as the final frontier in Star Trek and gaming alike. For gamers, space has also been one of those final frontiers. From pirate hunting, being a pirate or fighting against an unstoppable alien menace, these are the top five games that put you on the frontlines of that final frontier, leaving boring Earth behind.
5. Homeworld Remastered Collection (2015, Relic/Gearbox Software)
Going on four years old, this remains one of the best single player Real Time Strategy campaigns ever made. There is something heart-stopping and terrifying about seeing your fleet cross space to engage an equally vast enemy fleet. The Pride of Higara is your fleet building flagship. Get the resources you need and build everything in your fleet from bombers to frigates. The game’s 3D combat excels. You order precision bomber strikes to target weaker armor, hide in and behind gas giants. Combined strategic and tactical gameplay with revamped visuals and musical score? You get one of the best games in space for the PC.
4. Elite Dangerous (2014, Frontier Developments)
The basic ship, a fistful of credits, an entire galaxy as your playground. Trade, fight, and explore your way to becoming Elite, and well, Dangerous. This persistent open world lets you do anything from gentle easygoing exploration to thrilling spaceborne ship-to-ship combat. Everything, from the nimblest of strike fighters to heavy-duty cargo haulers, was a dream to fly. Every craft had a unique feel and handling that makes it worthwhile to explore and do a bit of everything. The first-person combat – from Sidewinders to Cutters and Federal Corvettes is fast paced, frantic and fun. Number four on my top 5 space games list.
3. FTL: Faster Than Light (2012, Subset Games)
Released in 2012, FTL is easily one of the strangest yet most genre influencing space games of the last decade. FTL’s roguelike elements, the strong narrative set in a sci-fi universe filled with off-beat humor will have eager to explore the final frontier. You will jump through sectors and areas, face down an enemy or a choose-your-own-adventure style dialogue encounter. Battles are complex and tactical with guns, and missiles at long range before you slam boarding parties into each other. Fires spread, hulls rupture and its all hands to repel boarders. Here’s hoping you get to your own fleet and destroy the enemy flagship in time. A solid number 3 on my list of top 5 space games.
2. Mass Effect 2 (2010, Bioware)
Where FTL let you do it one way, Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 hoes another. Mass Effect 2 lets you really explore the galaxy, meet, sleep with fascinating and weird aliens, and resolve cosmic dilemmas. This is one of my top 5 space games because it’s an eclectic blend that comes together for a smooth linear experience. As humanity’s representative, plot and battle your way across the galactic stage. Recruit your own bad of specialist psychopaths, misfits, and technogeeks, then somehow forge a team to do the impossible. All in all, not a bad day’s work.
1. EVE Online (2003, CCP Games)
EVE Online. There is nothing else like this MMORPG where everything – literally everything is controlled by the players. Thousands of players work together to trade, mine, explore and of course fight each other. Battles in EVE have involved thousands of players, and that’s in the “safe” police-patrolled zones.
Venture into the cosmic equivalent of the Wild West where piracy, espionage, triple agents, scams, cons, plots, and conspiracies that involve thousands of real-world dollars are the currency of life. The sheer scope and scale of this living persistent world is an unforgettable experience that was equal parts beauty of breathtaking space itself, strategic and tactical complexity and intelligent weirdness. That last one comes from the 25-35,000 active daily players mostly. Start this game and you will lose 90% of your free time, and transfer 100% of your social life into it. It is just that good and is number one on my list of top 5 space games.