FTL (Faster Than Light Travel)

FTL: Advanced edition is a free for PC update to the base game FTL – Faster than light. The expansion was designed to add to and improve aspects of the original game, and includes things like new weapons, enemies, upgrades and ships.At the most basic level, the game is fairly simple. As an agent of the defunct Galactic Federation, your aim is to flee the advancing Rebel fleet and take some secret documents to the last remaining Federation base. Essentially, you’re Princess Leia at the start of Star Wars IV. Except you actually get to your destination… Hopefully.

The base game was difficult, and the expansion doesn’t make things any easier, as the enemies are able to have access to the same new gizmos you get, and through the joys of random generation, they get access to the new toys a lot easier than you.

The ship and crew are re-nameable, and you can choose one of 3 Unlockable Ship Loadouts.
So, what’s new then? As I already mentioned, the expansion adds new weapons and systems, the most major of which being the Mind Control device – an irritating upgrade to your ship that allows the user to take temporary control of an enemy crewmember, however the most important addition is that of a new race of aliens, which can be both friend or foe the same way all the other races can. These new aliens, the Lanius, are able to drain oxygen from your ship. This can be useful if defending, but otherwise rather problematic. Of course, the Lanuis have their own ships, and you are able to interact with them in much the same way as the rest of the FTL races.
Oh look, a Drone… KILL IT!
Of particular interest are the additions of a third loadout choice for all of the existing FTL ships. These generally include at least one system, weapon, or crew that are advanced edition content, and are all unlocked by reaching the final sector with the Type B loadout of the ship in question. Obviously due to the game’s difficulty and rogue-like mechanics, this is relatively difficult, especially given that Type B ships tend to have interestingly gimmicky play styles that can be shut down quite easily by random events, or running into an enemy that the ship simply cannot beat, resulting in your destruction, and having to restart. You see now why I mentioned rage quitting in the title of the review.

Despite this, the game does not come across as annoying or frustrating to play, as most events can be avoided, or beaten through player skill and/or a little luck. The only real frustration comes from those runs where you get to sector five or six (out of eight), and have yet to find any decent weapon upgrades. This happens frequently, but I think that’s just my luck being terrible….

Usually, you’ll be able to upgrade fairly quickly, especially in Advanced Edition, as the in-game shops are now able to have more than one page of items for sale, almost guaranteeing a new weapon system/drone/etc. Whether you can afford the upgrade however is an entirely different story. Fortunately, Advanced Edition added not only new weapons and toys, but also the invaluable Scrap Recovery Arm upgrade, an invaluable augment that simply provides 50% more money from all sources. This is useful to the point of being slightly overpowered early game, but falls off as you progress as you begin to need the augment slot for other things.

Oh dear, everything is on fire…
When all is said and done, what really stands out about Advanced Edition is that it adds so many more options. As I mentioned previously, the enemy is able to access the same new stuff as you, as well as all of the old stuff, meaning that the possible loadouts for enemy ships have increased exponentially, resulting in new, more challenging battles in the depths of space. Add that to the large amount of new options for diplomacy and negotiation and you can be sure that scenarios will very rarely have the same outcome twice.With the base game available for the relatively low price on Steam, or your regional equivalent, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of space games, or challenging rogue-like experiences.
If you do pick it up, prepare to see this screen a lot. I couldn’t put the fires out in time.
Gameplay and Controls: The gameplay in FTL is surprisingly simple, with the controls being limited to mouse clicks and hotkeys to command your systems and crew. The real skill comes in targeting correctly in combat, and choosing the optimum way to diffuse a situation or obliterate the enemy.  4/5Sounds and Music: The game’s soundtrack consists of ambient space themes for the most part, but has a couple of more fast paced tracks for dangerous situations. The sound assets are solid, with the different weapon types each having their own unique noises. 4/5Graphics: The area the game performs the least in. There have been no graphical updates for Advanced Edition, and while the ship and crew look ok, the backgrounds tend to be of a much lower quality, especially in asteroid fields and nebulae.  3/5

Story/Immersion and Replayability: The story is mediocre, a rather clichéd “run from the bad thing before it gets you” plotline that doesn’t really stand out. However, the game puts a lot of focus on immersing you into the universe through random events and lore snippets that are integrated very well. The expansion takes the original game’s Replayability value and increases it exponentially through the addition of a significant amount of content. 5/5
Final score: 16/20.

Watch The Trailer Here