Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Captain's Log of Captain Frederick Stevenson, of Space, Debriefing

Welp, that's that then.  Keep reading for a mini-review and another thing.

So, my overall feelings on FTL now that I've played it a bit?  Well it's pretty awesome, honestly.  Not a perfect game, but pretty awesome.  You may not have been able to tell from my static pictures, but the gameplay can actually be quite frantic, especially later on when you've got to deal with fires, hull breaches, invaders, enemy weapons, broken systems, oxygen management, and more!  Without the Baldur's Gate-style pause, from which you can issue orders to your guys, the game would be chaotically unplayable later on.



The graphics are fairly nice sprite-base fare.  Not particularly wow-ing, but it's clear and easy to tell what's going on, and the explosions are nice enough to be satisfying/horrifying depending on which side of it you're on.

The sound design is pretty good.  The lasers make a good "pew pew" sound, because all lasers must go "pew pew".  Someday I will write a sci-fi game where the lasers go "honk!".  The music's a highlight, with that kind of nouveau-chip tune sound that Dustforce also has.  Retro-sounding and kinda bleepy, but without sounding like it was ripped from the NES.

The main flaw in the game, in my opinion, is the randomness.  Now hear me out for a second.  As you might know from my King of Dragon Pass review, I'm a big fan of random events.  Plus, FTL is a rogue-like(-like), which means that randomness is a big part of the game.  However, sometimes the game feel a little too random.  There are a bunch of events that live only to screw you over, are completely unavoidable, and seem to pop up a little too often, which can be very frustrating.  You sometimes feel a little too out of control, like whether you live or die isn't so much on your skill (though skill is important) as it is on whether the random number gods favor you.  A big improvement would be some way of decreasing the lethality/occurrence of these events via some sort of upgrade or special maneuver or something.

Over all though, it's a great game.  Definitely worth $10, if not more, I'll be playing it for a while.  If you've ever wanted a game that let you be a captain from your favorite sci-fi show/movie, definitely check out FTL.  If you like frantic, fast-paced combat with a unique feel, definitely check out FTL.  If you like rogue-likes and the constant thread of permadeath, check out FTL.  If you like sci-fi or space at all, definitely check out FTL.  If you're easily frustrated, however, FTL may not be the best game for you.

FTL can be acquired: at GOG (comes with wallpaper, music tracks, avatars, and artwork), at the developer's site (comes with a DRM-free download, a Steam key, and Windows, Mac, and Linux versions), or on Steam (comes with, er, nothing).  Alternatively, keep reading...

Still here?  Good.  Well, I'm happy to announce that I am running a giveaway for one (1) copy of FTL - Faster Than Light on GOG!  To enter, simply post below the first thing you'd do if you were captain of a spaceship.  The giveaway will close in a few days (end date depends on how many entries I get), and the entry I like the most wins.  This code was very generously contributed by Starmaker over on the GOG forums, so please shoot her a PM saying thanks if you win.

Let the games begin!

The giveaway is now closed, thanks everyone for entering.

27 comments:

  1. Probably get attacked by space pirates. I would then try to convince as many of them as possible to join my crew.
    the dark side may have cookies, but we have CHEESECAKE.

    -Phelan

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    1. EDIT:
      Please ignore my post, I'm going to withdraw from the contest and give everybody else a better chance. ;)

      Delete
  2. Licurg here. First thing I'd do if I were captain of a spaceship? Simple: I'd take all the female crew to my quarters and have an orgy. Space orgy !

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  3. I'd immediately delegate authority to as many competent people as possible with the hope of delaying the inevitable moment when someone figured out that I had no idea what I was doing.

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  4. The first thing I'd do.. hmm.. I'd probably sit in the captain's chair, naked.
    Then I'd install a backdoor in the computer so that I could always take control of the ship, should the crew mutiny for example.
    And they probably would because I'd be a terrible captain. I'd constantly be pranking them by closing the doors just as they were about to pass through them and rerouting the oxygen distribution so that all my farts would be blown into the crew quarters and things like that.

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  5. If I were a spaceship captain, my first act would probably be to contact every organization that I owe money to (credit cards suck) and renegotiate the terms of our agreement. He who controls the high orbit tends to negotiate from a seat of power, after all.

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  6. Sit in the captains chair, twist it to see if the chair squeaks.
    Then I'd point to the view screen and say "Make us go that way".

    After that we'd probably run into some deadly sentient space gas or something.

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  7. [PREPOST NOTE: NOT ENTERING CONTEST, AS I ALREADY OWN THE GAME!!]

    I honestly don't find the randomness to be nearly as big an issue as people say it is. Random stuff happens, sure, and sometimes it's stuff that can do a lot of damage to you. But I felt that it was pretty well utilized, and never felt frustrating. It's certainly no more insanely random than Binding of Isaac.

    Then again, I don't think I've played as much as you yet, and I haven't yet bumped it up to "normal." I made it to the flagship on my last playthrough, but didn't quite understand what to do and accidently let it get into range. Oops :P.

    What ships have you unlocked so far?

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    1. Ah yeah, I've been playing on normal the whole time. In retrospect, not a great idea. I unlocked the Engi ship, as you can see in Part 5. After that I decided to be a horrible person and unlock the rest through a cheated save (because most of them are kind of incredibly annoying to get).

      Personally, I don't mind the randomness, but I know some people do, and I do think a way of mitigating some of the more blatantly evil ones would be welcome.

      Delete
  8. Malv0isin here from GOG. The very first thing I would do as captain should be fairly obvious. I'd take a piss! Whenever getting ready for a long trip...always, always, go to the bathroom first. Never know how long it'll be before the next fuel station. :)

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  9. Hmm I think I'd have to go with dressing everyone but me in redshirts that way I know I'll survive all those bride explosions I know are coming...

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  10. Alesh91 from GOG. I would sit in the chair, stare at the controls at confusion saying "So, anyone knows how to fly this thing?"

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  11. Jhereg42 from GOG. First thing I would do is higher some bearded guy to be ordered around with the nickname "Number 1" whenever I needed a lacky.

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  12. chao8971 from GOG here. If I became a captain I would instantly begin the process of modifying the ship to become a space ship and a transforming robot, much like the Macross. So that way no space scum could screw us up when we are on our way back home from Pluto.

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  13. I would go in peace to a distant planet, I'd then find myself a green and very friendly women, who will throw herself at me. Meanwhile some blob monster will attempt to kill me, but one of my men wearing a red shirt will die instead, I will then shoot to kill, and be beamed up by a Scottish engineer just in time to save my life! The engines canny take it captain!

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  14. (Thespian* from GOG)

    First I immediately would change the course towards Earth. Once my ship reached transporter range, I would beam to the brig all recalcitrant IP & Copyright holders that don't want to deal with GOG, and send my loyal Vulcan crew to perform mind-melds with the noble purpose of changing their erroneous beliefs. After this, they would be beam back to the planet.

    Those few Earthlings immune to mind-meld would suffer an unfortunate group accident (a fortuitous depressurization in the cargo bay). Then would come the turn of negotiating with their replacements in the same way. Rinse and repeat until all obstacles to my noble task had been solved.

    This done, I would leave for an epic mission of five years, with the holodeck well stocked with the full catalog of GOG, not bored any time...

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    1. The Captain's Log of Roderick Mathewson (first entry):

      "Finally the day has come! Little did I imagine, a few days ago, the adventure that was about to undertake...

      But the dream cherished since I got my hands on what little remained of the ship's Log of Captain Frederick Stevenson will become reality. This journal is one of the few documents have survived -although fragmentary- that dark period of history known as "The Fall of the Federation")

      Today I am leaving with a ship identical to the one Captain Stevenson used so many years ago. I hope to find enough clues to track him down and find out what happened to him and his crew. I have hope that my project will be crowned with success and shed some more light on the events of that turbulent period...

      And I owe it all to my kindly sponsors on the Galactic History Society, Gazoinks and Starmaker."

      Delete
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  16. klaattu from GOG

    The first thing I would do is cut my hair in style of Jean-Luc Picard. Otherwise you cannot be a good captain.

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  17. Tell my crew to take us up to lightspeed and enjoy the visuals. And once we're there, to go faster and find out what happens.

    Engage :)
    (Benjiir@GOG)

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  18. QC from GOG, I'd use my superior technology and crew to gather the largest collection of rare artifacts ever assembled and collect large amounts of data for free distribution, such as hacking the systems of the current owners of System Shock 2 so that it can finally be given en mass to the people.

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  19. I would put my head over the opened window, and open my mouth and put tongue outside like a dog :)

    thanks for a giveaway!
    username on gog: enclaver

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  20. I would install a massage chair and speakers to play Ride of the Valkyries over the space battles. In fact, I may do that while playing the game.

    -- Mrstarker

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  21. I'd probably torment the ship's AI by constantly telling it that "I am afraid I can't do that". Then quote any other "AI gone bad" lines until it snaps and kills me just to get some peace.

    Actually that might be counter productive. I might just go raid some merchants...

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  22. The giveaway is now closed and the winner will be posted in a moment.

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