Monday 21 April 2014

FTL: Advanced Edition (PC/Mac/iOS/Linux)

We already reviewed the incredible FTL (Faster Than Light) a while ago so there is no point in waffling on, safe to say it was incredibly well received and if you don't own it already then go and see the ships medic. Immediately.

FTL: Advanced Edition is an expansion to the original release with new technologies, story elements and music. To sum it up so simply does the game a huge disservice. Subset have given the content to their existing customers for no additional charge (take note EA), in fact if you have Steam installed and you have this game in your list it has most likely already updated to this version (take note EA). Should you have purchased this game elsewhere simply download the latest version from your account page, and well... it's not rocket science.

So what has been added specifically? (List pinched from the official blog.)
  • Mind Control System: Temporarily turn enemies into allies. Force a boarder to repair the damage they just did, or have the enemy pilot sabotage their own helm.
  • Hacking System: Lockdown and disrupt enemy systems. Unique effects for each system, ranging from forcing a teleporter remove boarders to making the medbay damage instead of heal.
  • New Sector and Events: Tom Jubert has returned along with special guest writer Chris Avellone
  • New Weapons and Effects: Many new weapons that take advantage of new mechanics: overcharging to increase the number of volleys, stun effects to freeze crew, and area effect targeting, to name a few.
  • New Race: The Lanius, their unique composition reacts strongly to artificial environments causing them to drain the oxygen within any compartment they inhabit.

So now that you're up to date, let's cut to the chase - does this update/expansion bring anything of value to the game? My answer would be a resounding YES.

The new content not only improves the FTL experience, I would go as far to say it could have been a sequel and nobody would have minded paying again. To have a game that retailed for less than £10 two years ago receive such a huge influx of new content is simply outstanding value and unheard of in an industry that is constantly finding new ways to 'nickle & dime' loyal customers (take note EA).

Everyone plays FTL differently, so I can only present my personal insight regarding the gameplay. I love the harsh and punishing play mechanics that genuinely challenge on every play-through, and the update simply throws more punishment your way - constantly making you revise your previous tried and tested methods. My normal, occasionally game beating load out was kicked into oblivion by a simple scout that hacked my drone control and rendered my repair, shield AND weapon drones useless. With no repairs, my hull breaches slowly bled my O2 into the void and with no way of retaliating I was dead and drifting. Ass kicked, but smiling ear-to-ear.

The single best thing about the new experience is feeling 'green' all over again. You can no longer anticipate the standard encounters the way you did before; you quite literally have to learn how to survive all over again. For a game that has been around so long it's incredible. I have put countless hours into the original release, but right now I suck as badly as I did the first time I played... and it's wonderful.

With so many current 'mainstream' games that hand-hold and molly-coddle, FTL:AE is the perfect cure. The new play mechanics are solid and well thought-out, and the inclusion of improved story, music and races simply is the cherry on the cake.

Buy it, buy it now... If you have already bought it, buy it again for the iPad. And then send the developers £10 cash in the post, because they deserve every penny you have.

Buy the game here (from the Steam page).
5 out of 5

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