Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Last Federation - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

Turn-based tactical combat, with up to 5 factions competing at once.

Extremely deep simulation of an entire solar system and its billions of inhabitants. Even just watching everything unfold in Observer mode is entertaining, as nations rise and fall.

New-player-friendly ramp-up of complexity as you play, which you can disable if you're already a veteran.

Eight races each have very distinct personalities and attributes. Each one even has its own completely unique political system.

Difficulty levels split between the grand strategy and turn-based combat portions of the game, both ranging from quite casual to incredibly hardcore.

Save and reload your game with ease any time, or tough it out in ironman mode.

Composer Pablo Vega's best soundtrack to date, featuring 54 minutes of music and the vocal finale "Lay Down Your Arms." 

More Details
Greetings, Hydral. I will be your computer for this "grand strategy campaign with turn-based tactical combat." I think that's code for "we're going to die."

Our solar system is vast and complicated, and I sense you are a little dimwitted -- so I tell you what, let's start with the simple stuff. Like escaping with this flagship you just hijacked from a bunch of angry robots. That seems important.

Please excuse my impertinence, but I believe you are the last of a murdered race, yes? My records note you Hydrals were the dictators of the solar system, so basically you had it coming. And by "it," I mean the moon that smacked into your homeworld. Hmm. So people really aren't going to like you until they get to know you. Well, only you can use the scattered remnants of advanced Hydral technology, so that's something.

Look, I'm not going to tell you what to do. My understanding is that you're trying to form the solar system's first-and-last unified federation, and that's noble enough. But right now nobody wants that except you, and you've got 8 very diverse, very angry races to either unify or exterminate. So... good luck with that. I'll help how I can.

Previous Playtime

26 hours 

What Was I Thinking When I Bought This

The Last Federation was a pre-blog purchase for me, which means my motives were entirely down to interest in the game itself. I heard it mentioned in a forum post and its basic concept hooked me right away - it's a space strategy game where the goal is peace instead of absolute supremacy.  I was so intrigued that I didn't even wait for it to go on sale.

Expectations and Prior Experience

I've already played this game quite a bit, which you might think would lead to burn-out, where I've already gotten all that I can out it and have nothing more to do but go through the motions in order to kill time. However, I don't think The Last Federation is one of those kind of games. If I recall, the starting setup was such that it was fairly easy to engineer a particular type of outcome (the "good" species ganging up on the "evil" species and making a Federation with 4 out of 8 of the original species), but that if you wanted anything different, it would require a vastly different approach. As a result of combinatorial explosion, the game has a huge number of possibilities to  explore, even though the setup is the same each time.

Or, at least, that's what I recall. I also seem to remember that it was a very menu-driven and abstract experience (at least, the non-spaceship combat portions were), so it might be that this will be a situation like Redshirt, where the fun, outdoorsy, physically active socialite is more or less the same as the obsessive holodeck nerd who plays chess every day and barely talks to anyone. I honestly don't remember.

The other wrinkle is that I bought a couple of DLCs in the years since I last played this game and they both seem like they make some pretty big changes, so it's entirely possible that even if I did remember the game, it could be far different.

On the other hand, I played this game for 26 hours and I never really got bored with it (as usual, I stopped playing because I was distracted by the new, shiny thing that came along . . . whatever it happened to be in this case), so I'm not really worried. My agenda going forward is to try and get a perfect game, where all 8 species survive and to check out the alternate game modes enabled by the DLC. That will probably easily carry me to 20 hours or beyond.

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