Artemis is a diamond in the rough. It's very much unlike any other space sim I've ever played. The game has you play a starship bridge officer, responsible for controlling one of the ship's systems. Pretty cool and all, but there's a twist. In most space sims, a player is responsible for running the whole ship. He controls the weapons, he directs the ship to its destination, and so on. Artemis is different in that each of the ship's systems are run by other players. The bridge crew is entirely composed of humans, not AI.
There are five stations to man in Artemis: Helm, Engineering, Weapons, Science and Comms. Helm controls the ship's movement. Engineering deals with repairs and modifying the power levels of each system in the ship. Weapons handles, well, weapons and shields. Science has control over the sensors, scanning targets for information on its systems and crew. Comms handles communication with other vessels, both friend and foe.
This 5-man setup provides a lot of depth to the game, but it is not difficult to learn by any means. The actual mechanics behind the workings of each system are surprisingly simple to learn. The genius of Artemis is how the mechanics of all these systems work together to form a complete, compelling experience for everyone involved. All crew members need to have good synergy if they want to complete the mission. As long as you keep up a friendly attitude, pay attention to your fellow crewmates and do your part to keep the ship running, you will have a high chance of success.
Originally, the game could only be purchased through the developer's website. It could only be played through LAN, and it cost 40 bucks, because that version came with extra copies to be played on other computers for a full LAN party. LAN play is fun as hell, but that alone doesn't make for much mass appeal. Fortunately, the developers have realized this and have added online play. The Steam version of the game costs a mere 8 bucks, because it's only one copy. A dirt cheap price for what could be an endless amount of fun with friends? That's a steal.
If you're going to play online, you'll need to get a program called Teamspeak to communicate with other players. There is a teamspeak server that is decently populated for most of the day. IPs for servers can be found there. Its address is artemis.teamspeak3.com and its password is Artemis1. The community is very friendly, supportive, and a whole lot of fun to play with.
Give Artemis a shot. This game deserves a lot more attention. It really is unlike any other space sim on the market. It's about as close to being in Star Trek as you can get. I'll see you in Starfleet.
Posted: September 23rd, 2013