For more than a generation PC space games offered us an escape from real life. From Wing Commander to an upcoming Star Citizen, space games continuously deliver the fun throughout the gaming community.
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In anticipation of the upcoming Star Citizen game, we thought it would be good to gather a collection of the best PC titles that were set in a space. All games in our list have already been released, so no Star Citizen this time. Although there is Wing Commander, the game that started it all.
Space simulation and exploration is underrated for some reason. Thankfully, crowd-funding made it possible to develop a good game and opened a door to some epic Indie titles. Often with a great story in a game, space can bring an amazing gaming experience. Unpredictable alien races, exploring the unknown, and trying to fly a spaceship are just some of the few aspects of the following PC titles. So here we go, in no particular order.
Elite PC game series
Elite is a space trading video game where you have to trade and battle as Commander Jameson. Starting at Lave Station, you will trade, perform military missions, bounty hunting, piracy, and asteroid mining to gain money and become an Elite. The game was one of the first to use wire-frame 3D graphics with hidden line removal. The game universe consists of stars which have single planets, and each has an orbital space station. Thanks to Kickstarter Elite is finally getting a wanted sequel in a form of Elite: Dangerous which will support Oculus Rift VR. Trading in space is gaining popularity which makes Elite one game you cannot miss.
The Ur-Quan Masters
The Ur-Quan Masters is a remake of the Star Control game. Although it is a remake of an older game, The Ur-Quan Masters made to our list for making possible to play one of the classic space games on the modern PC. Star Control II introduced a vast number of ships and species, and was story-driven space exploration adventure game. Resource gathering, diplomacy, and melee combat made the game hugely popular. We all thought Star Control will remain history when The Ur-Quan Masters appeared and gave us something to look forward to. The game can be downloaded for free, give it a go and see why the Star Control is still considered as one of the best PC games ever created.
Mass Effect PC game series
Science fiction, RPG, and third person shooter video game series which starts with Commander Shepard. Shepard can be male or female, depending on player’s preference, but the goal is always the same - to save the galaxy from the mechanical beings. On top of that, Shepard flies on of the most epic spaceships created in video games. Story, voice acting, incredible characters, romances, Mass Effect games have it all. All three games in the series were critically acclaimed for all the aspects. Apparently romance can feel so real in Mass Effect.
Space combat simulation that follows the story from Descent: FreeSpace. The game is completely set in outer space with a large playing area. Interstellar bodies such as stars, asteroids, and planets from the FreeSpace 2 universe. One of the most distinctive aspects of a game was the implementation of nebulae as an interactive environment. Hoping and jumping between star systems is a cool way to travel, shame it’s not available in real life. As a pilot in the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance (GTVA) you too can hop and jump through the outer space in FreeSpace 2 PC game.
Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online is a MMORPG with a good story, cleverly designed ships and gameplay. The game is set 30 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis film and is completely free to play. Probably the game with most variety in spaceships, with some being super cool. You are a captain of your ship, whether you will pursue the story or just enjoy Risa the pleasure planet, the fun is guaranteed. Several expansions were released for Star Trek online, with the most recent one being the Dyson Sphere. All in all, great game for space exploration, romance, combat, and an escape from a real life.
Master of Orion PC game series
Master of Orion is a turn-based, science fiction strategy game. Player leads one of the ten races battling to dominate the galaxy. Conquest and diplomacy, development of technology, exploration, and colonization of star system were praised for this PC game. The game used point and click interface to make the game controls as easy as possible. Players have to compete with computer controlled opponents until they are the only one remaining, or a peaceful unification has been agreed. Master of Orion was extremely innovative for its time.
Kerbal Space Program
PC game where players create and manage their own space program. Sandbox styled space flight simulator where players assume a control of a space program operated by Kerbals. Small green humanoids who constructed a fully functional spaceport on Kerbin, their homeworld. The game’s realistic representation of orbital mechanics has been widely praised among gaming community. Almost every in-game object is controlled by a Newtonian dynamics simulation. Kerbal Space Program is one of the most realistic space games.
Eve Online is a player-driven MMORPG set in a science fiction space world. Star systems in the Eve universe are connected by stargates and can contain planets, wormholes, moons, complexes and asteroid belts. The humanity has used up most of the Earth’s resources which lead to colonization of other systems in the Milky Way galaxy. Mining, piracy, trading, manufacturing, exploration and combat are all needed to expand the civilization. Eve Online is the most popular space trading game, at least until Star Citizen becomes available to the masses.
X-wing is actually a game series of space combat simulations which expands the Star Wars franchise. The game begins a few months prior to “A New Hope” where players have to help the Rebel Alliance by gathering intelligence, ambushing Imperial forces and with salvage. To stop the Death Star, player has to deliver the plans to Princess Leia. Full of space combat and then some more combat, X-Wing games delivered tons of fun in their time.
Wing Commander is the science fiction space simulation PC game series set in the year 2654. Chris Roberts. The creator, characterized the game as “World War II in space”. Terran Confederation is fighting the aggressive, predatory feline warrior race known as Kilrathi. Player takes the role of a pilot, the name is chosen by a player, and flies the TCS Tiger’s Claw. By completing missions, which become defensive in nature, player will help to drive off the Claw. Wing Commander won numerous awards and is still considered to be the best PC space game ever created.
Galactic Civilizations PC game series
Galactic Civilizations is set in the future where humans have made a contact with five other alien races. Space travel is risky and expensive leaving most of the galaxy still uncolonized. This will change as the humans discovered a hyperdrive which allows fast travel between any two stars. After they shared the news of their discovery with other races, all communications have stopped. The race to claim all the uncolonized worlds will end once one of the races dominates the galaxy. Similar to the Civilization games, players can achieve the victory through cultural domination, war, diplomacy, or by developing the most advanced technology. AI is surprisingly intelligent and realistic in this game. If you liked colonizing the Earth, it is about time to start doing the same in outer space.
As you can see, space games can include strategy, exploration, colonization, epic battles, crafting, and everything else you might like in a game. We are still puzzled why these games are so underestimated, considering how awesome gaming experience can be once you beam up.
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