Space, the final frontier. To go where no man has ever gone before has been a defining trait of humanity ever since the first ones of our kind decided to leave their natural habitat and brave the unknown. Fast forward to modern times, and it quickly becomes evident that space is truly the last giant unexplored frontier left to us.
Barring extreme depths and other inhospitable places on the planet, almost the entirety of Earth has been discovered and mapped over and over, leaving nothing major for contemporary adventurers.
As a result, if we want to explore something new, we can only look into the ocean’s depths or up into the sky. Unfortunately, the manned exploration of space is still in its infancy.
That is not the case in the virtual world. Our longing for the next frontier to brave pushed many developers to produce games where no limitations of current space travel apply. Such PC space games, including Elite Dangerous, Kerbal Space Program, EVE Online, Stellaris, and FreeSpace 2, can offer you the absolute thrill of discovery and push your adventurous spirit to the limit. Read on and buckle up, pilot, because we have a galaxy to explore!
The first game on our list is Elite Dangerous, an MMO space exploration, and combat simulator. Elite Dangerous was initially released for Windows back in 2014, but it has since been ported to other platforms, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can purchase the game for a reasonable price, either by using Indiegala promo codes or picking it up during one of the numerous Steam sales.
If you’re at all interested in exploration, Elite Dangerous is the game for you. Many gamers have already added it to their gaming rooms, enhancing their gaming experience and fulfilling their dreams of exploring the unknown.
The game can offer players a full-scale simulation of the Milky Way galaxy, meaning that it features 1:1 scale star systems with realistic Newtonian physics and orbital mechanics for all of the planets, moons, and other cosmic bodies present within. With more than 400 billion individual solar systems to discover, there’s plenty of room for all sorts of adventures here.
The game’s core gameplay revolves around treading your own path as a pilot. You can go on months-long exploratory expeditions, become a space pirate that preys on NPCs and other players alike, or even become a member of some of the player-driven factions and influence the shape of the human area of space. You are in total control here.
Be warned, though, as the dangers out there are real and many, from pirates to elusive aliens currently invading the tiny human space to other players hunting you down for the fun of it.
Furthermore, the game has a vast, immensely dedicated player base that routinely organizes some of the most impressive events within the space MMOs genre. Overall, this title proves that nothing is impossible if you dare to dream.
When it comes to space games, Kerbal Space Program is probably one of the best out there. The game can be described as a physics-based space flight simulator. But, it’s also so much more than that. Kerbal Space Program sees you taking command of your own space program and managing its development from scratch.
You begin by launching tiny unreliable tin cans into the sky and gradually work your way up to bigger rockets with more significant payloads. As you progress, you’ll unlock new pieces of space hardware and learn new technologies to advance your program further. In addition to that, you’ll also get to explore space yourself as you venture out into your solar system.
Just like we do in real life, in Kerbal Space Program, you can land on any planet or moon you want and explore it at your leisure. The game features an accurate orbital simulation system. This allows you to get as close to reality as possible. But, everything else about Kerbal Space Program is definitely fictional. After all, no company can realistically send tiny little green astronauts into space via a rocket-powered trebuchet and expect them to return alive and well.
Stellaris is a grand strategy game in space that’s also heavily influenced by classic 4X games like Master of Orion. In Stellaris, you play as the leader of civilization out to explore and colonize the stars. As your civilization advances, you’ll be able to expand in all directions. Thus, creating colonies, researching new technologies, and conquering or coexisting with other civilizations.
You’ll have to make a number of difficult decisions along the way, but that’s what makes Stellaris so unique. The game puts you in a very realistic world where you’re not the only one at play. There are dozens of other species out there with their own goals and objectives. You’ll have to learn how to deal with them all if you want your civilization to survive.
Similar to Kerbal Space Program, Stellaris is also very immersive. The interface is well designed, and the game itself looks great, even on lower-end PCs. You can easily get lost in the world of Stellaris for hours at a time. It’s difficult to put it down once you start playing it. That’s why we consider Stellaris a true gem of space games.
Another great space exploration game is EVE Online, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in space. EVE Online is similar to Elite Dangerous in that it lets you play as a pilot, with one crucial difference. You can take part in the biggest space battles in the history of the genre, involving thousands of players at the same time.
The game is set in the EVE universe, where thousands of players from all over the world work together to advance their space empires. Unfortunately, EVE Online is not as friendly as most other games due to its nature. It means that you’ll have to be on your toes at all times as there are many hostile players out there. They will happily shoot you down if they get the chance. Still, EVE Online is worth checking out if you like massive-scale space simulations.
FreeSpace 2 was first released in 1999 as a second entry in the titular series. However, it still holds up pretty well today. In fact, one could say that FreeSpace 2 is probably one of the best space-combat simulators out there. It should definitely be on your list if you’re looking for a good sci-fi game with an emphasis on dogfighting.
The game takes place in our galaxy and puts you in the role of an anonymous human pilot. Your mission is to help the Galactic Terran Alliance defend human space from an alien civilization of Vasudans. Suddenly, after a few missions, the entire nature of the game and the main threat change. Which forces the former enemies to join forces in a desperate attempt to stop their own doom.
The game features an in-depth story with distinct horror elements. This is largely told through a revolutionary for the times’ concept of detailed mission briefings. Thus, allowing you to really feel like a pilot during a hopeless war of survival.
In terms of gameplay, FreeSpace 2 is quite unique. It’s a game made in the olden days. However, with the proper mod, the FreeSpace Open, the game looks pretty good for its age. The combat is brutal and fast-paced. Moreover, once you finish the original campaign, there are dozens upon dozens of player-made campaigns to indulge in. Some even have full voice acting and similar Lovecraftian themes to them as the main one.
We hope this article has helped you realize that space games can offer you a lot more than you might think. FreeSpace 2, EVE Online, and Kerbal Space Program are all excellent titles in their own respect. They may not be as popular as other genres. But they can still offer you the thrill of exploration and other things space has to offer.
If you’re looking for an extraordinary space game to try, any one of the titles on this list is a great option. They will give you hours upon hours of quality gameplay. Good luck, and remember to hit your burners, pilot!