Now playing: FTL Captain’s Edition

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Now playing is a series talking about games currently getting playtime at Press to Jump Towers. It can be anything from an epic high definition role-playing game, to a freeware download, all the way to a classic we’re playing through again. We might not do game reviews at Press to Jump, but we can certainly talk about what’s keeping us occupied! This time: FTL, Captain’s Edition, a modification for FTL with new stuff but same old brutal gameplay.

When FTL came out, it was hailed as a triumph of unforgiving gameplay and an engaging take on the roguelike formula. The game gives you control of a starship racing across sectors of the galaxy, escaping an ever encroaching rebel fleet that’s slowly taking over each system you visit. You need a strong crew, careful management of your resources and upgrades to keep your ship in fighting form.

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The Captain’s Edition is a compilation of modifications for the game that adds new content, music and gameplay. There’s a substantial amount of rebalancing, along with new sectors to explore, weapons and ship classes and environments. Not only does the mod extend an already endless game, it adds extra depth with gameplay mechanics like trading, ship specialisation, social interaction and piracy. These additions are great for getting down to the nitty gritty of running a ship and surviving in the wilds.

Actions like piracy and surrender also open up some extra moral gameplay, forcing you to consider how far you’ll go to get your crew home alive. There are also LOADS of new weapons and equipment to kit out your team and your ship. The new drones and artillery make for a deadly enemy, and there are new ship types to fight and the stations might not be able to move, but they’re far better armed and armoured than you might be used to.

Events, a lot of Events…
A lot of CEs content does not clearly belong to a certain component or a certain project (the mod was constructed modularly over a time of more than a year now.) There are a lot of small or big events that have been added now and then, and there is actual no exact count on how many new events there are now. It feels like a lot. Some general stuff that has been done with events so far:
– Distress beacons have been diversified, there are many new distress encounters
– A few highly scripted combat events have been added to various sectors
– Several new global quests have been added
– Various cut vanilla events have been reworked an re-added to the game
– Encounters with harmless civilians have been added
– All of CEs gear has been seaming less integrated into events and offers appropriate blue options
– A lot of vanilla text lists for flavour texts have been extended
– Ship destruction events gained more unique flavour texts, depending on faction (courtesy of slowridersxchorps)
– The Tips at the beginning of the game have been vastly extend to give tips about CE
– Probably more stuff that I have forgotten about…

Empty Beacons
The empty beacons of vanilla FTL, the jump nodes where nothing happens, have become quite an important thing in Captain’s Edition. They are used to for a lot of other features, especially for new augments.

CE Social
Empty beacons also give you some time to chat with your crew. That is always a good option if you have nothing to do. Conversing with your crew might give you some details on their past or information on the game world. Sometimes it might even lead to hidden quests or rewards.

Player Surrender
CE will allow you to offer surrender at the beginning of most fights in which you are actively attacked. Just like enemies, you will have to offer some resources as a price. And just like you, your opponent might not accept surrender. Better make a good offer, it can save your live.

Long-Range Jumps
Traveling to a new sector is kind of a big thing in CE. While performing long-range jumps to new sectors you can decide on how much fuel you want to spent during the travel. If you are about to run out then you can always resort to your emergency reserve, but that will have the Rebels catch up with. By spending more fuel you can try to outrun the fleet.

Lore Perks and Meta Play-styles
CE tries to make the player ships of the various factions feel more unique, in a way that matches FTLs lore. A lot of the player ships get additional blue options that are related to the faction of this respective ship. Certain equipment also allow for similar distinct “secondary play-styles”, that offer a way to gain resources outside of- or advantages in combat.

On-board Engineering and Meta Play-styles
On-board engineering let’s you customize your ship into certain direction, in a way completely independent from your standard system upgrades. With certain gear (mostly augs), engineering options will become available at empty beacons. Your crew will be able to build stackable copies of augments you already have or new augments that supports you other gear. This needs time and more resources than simply buying the augment at shops, but makes it easier to customize a ship for a certain play style. A lot of the vanilla augments are less powerful on their own now, but offer to fully dedicate your ship to the advantages this augment holds by engineering copies of it.

My take

I may enjoy FTL and this mod, but damn, do I suck at them. While I love how FTL plays, I do find that each play through tends to give you a shortage of one resource or another, rather than balance out the random encounters against your resources. Having the huge array of new content to play with does hide this fact a bit more, meaning you don’t feel screwed over as much by the game, rather than by your own lack of ability, which is good. I love most of the new stuff, with the drones and new environments being the most obvious changes. The new music is excellent and fits right in with what was an already strong soundtrack. All in all, kudos to everyone that was involved in the Captain’s Edition mod compilation. It’s a tall order asking to improve an already great game like this.

Your take

Are you any good at FTL? what other mods have you tried?

FTL is available on the Humble Bundle store or on Steam, and you can grab the Captain’s Edition mod compilation on the FTL game forums.

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About Dan Morse

From the Atari 2600 right through to bleeding fast PCs, Dan's played on them all. One thing that's never changed is an unwavering passion for video games. Twitter: @happydan | Steam: happydan | GOG: happydan