Part 201: NaivetyNaivety (15:31)
Prepare yourself for exposition dumps. At least early on, we have as much of that as we have gameplay, which probably isn't all that different from some of the previous titles really. But we do get to actually do some actually gameplay here.
Interesting decision here in terms of what we get to see before playing a new mission. Previously, the planet 'previews' in CW3 gave you a very basic idea of size and structure but pretty much it was 'the name of the next level is such-and-such'. Particle Fleet lets you see behind the curtain a lot more before you even launch the mission. Once you do ...
The loading screen reminds us that the laws of physics don't strictly apply where we are going. I'll have questions about this concept of redacted space.
The 'Under Investigation' thing amuses me. Aside from that, this screen exists to give us a brief blurb, do the whole CITG thing, and also have us choose between Default and Sandbox fleets. This choice is why I'm leaving the Ship Editor alone. It was suggested, and I think sensibly, that the Story is perhaps best played and shown with the default available ships. Once I complete Story Mode, I'll dive into the editor and show what it does, take suggestions on different ships to build, all of that tomfoolery. But for now, it's going to be bog-standard.
Ok so stuff to look at here; we've got textposition at the top, to the left of that is our resource display, the left sidebar thingy is where we choose ships to build, and then the usual control panel at the bottom. Then everything else is the local mission area. For now, the first thing to do is listen to our boss yammering.
Either this guy founded Ticon Corporation and named it after himself, or he inherited the company.
I'm assuming here that the player character is an unnamed Ticon Associate. Why I qualify as 'capable' but still need to go through the rigamarole of a simulation isn't clear. In any case, it's now apparent that even in-universe, this is a tutorial mission. A simulation of a simulation, if you will
And we have our first task.
The Corporate HQ ship seems to fill the role that was variously accomplished by Odin City, the Liberation Ship, and Command Nodes in the previous games. It's that thing which builds other things, is the center of operations, and must be placed before anything else can be accomplished. We can ignore the Omni for now. There's a green '9' by the Energy Source indicating how much it produces. Like previous CW games, energy is the lifeblood of the economy.
Green part is the ship outline of course; the various roughly circular lines indicate the range of different components on the ship.
And away it builds, while we get the familar pop-up descriptor text. One cool thing about PF IMO is the detail on the ships, you can visually see where all the components are. In this case, it's using the lathe, the short-range thingy for building ... and later for other purposes.
The Energy Mine itself just has a destroy option, but here's the control panel for the HQ. We can turn on and off the various things it has, which apparently include Laser and Cannon weapons, and whether or not it builds. Also, playing at half-speed is now possible!
The Omni seems to basically replace the Collectors & Reactors from previous games.
It has a range circle as well, and we can see energy streaming from the mine to it. It seems that the energy mines have an operational range that they can supply - indicated here by the lighter circle/arc - and there's no need for relays or other connections. Anything close enough to one will receive energy from it.
Omnis have a whole bunch of control panel options. Also, the bluish area around it is the Mire. It will gradually cover the surrounding terrain and add to our energy income, which is a much different mechanic than we are used to.
Another difference compared to previous energy structures: Omnis are mobile.
If you look closely here, you can see that we have 2 energy going out (top right of the bar), 9 income from the energy mine, and 8.5 from the mire. Miring available land appears to be a lucrative, and probably necessary way of boosting the economy. And we presently have 100 storage. I like the color-coding of the different income sources here.
Don't worry, I'll totally forget that Amicus pointed this out by the time the information is useful.
As it builds, we get a build % on the left-side ship selection bar, and also a visual - the 'ghosted' effect that we saw in the Prologue. The text that's cut off here most helpfully says 'Wait for the ship to finish building'.
It appears that there are two basic stages to shipbuilding. When it gets to 100% on what I assume is the structural stage, this 'crackling' effect appears and components are gradually assembled on the hull or whatever.
Found myself getting ahead of the instructions a fair bit in this mission.
Got a good chuckle out of this. Kami is here to give us the technobabble we all know and love.
As noted, this option doesn't change the direction as quickly, and I'd say it's general inferior to the click-and-drag method. Which is probably why this is one I remember while forgetting the other way.
Also quite useful and something I need to remember to use more often.
I find it weird that we have all this character exposition and then also these pop-up text things . .. it's almost like they were added in after the fact. Anyway, as it happens my Lathe is pretty much on top of the new location.
The Destroyer is the wedge-shaped ship directly above our new energy mine. Looking at the three ships so far, you can see the small red dots ... those are the short-ranged laser weapons. The yellowish things are longer-ranged cannons, which the HQ and Destroyer have, but the Lathe does not. Bluish things towards the rear of each ship are engines, the destroyer doesn't have the prominent red lathe at all, and so on.
Me: "THEN WHY ARE WE GOING THERE?"
Yes, naturally Ticon Corp 'acquired' the transmission sent by the now-defuct Hale Corporation.
All of that sounds extremely familiar.
Ok so at this point I feel there are some basic things I don't understand. There's no mention here of the Particulate ever leaving Redacted Space to attack GalCorp space. I also have no idea how much of the galaxy/universe is contained in each, which would be useful, but basically I don't see why we need to do any of this in the first place. Maybe redacted space is expanding and the particulate threat is taking more and more territory or whatever but there's nothing at all that says that. It's just 'redacted space is off-limits and going there means immediate forfeiture of everything and only the desperate would do so ... so of course that's PRECISELY what we're going to, we must do so and there's no point in any other course of action, who could possibly think otherwhise'.
Eh, I just get the sense something's missing here. Saving humanity from the ravages of the creeper in the previous games was pretty straightforward; we defeat it or die (and actually, die anyway later on but that didn't show up until CW3). Here, it just seems that we could just leave the particulate alone and there's no clear reason I can see why we don't.
Director Ogun is a man of few words. We already have more characters introduced, and it's only the first mission, than I believe that we had in any of the first three games. Kind of hard to keep track of everybody.
Text may be a bit small here. It reads:
Particle Fleet posted:
Destroy the Particle Emitter. Move the Lathe ship close to the Emitter to destroy it. Use the Destroyer for protective fire and acquire the nearby Energy Source
That is easily done, and soon the destroyer which has good range compared to our other options is firing away at the red particles.
Here's a fully zoomed-in view of the action as we move in on the Emitter.
The process of taking down the emitter itself is very Nullifier-like ... it has a green health bar and we lathe it to death, then it explodes. By now the hostile particles have been pacified.
I'm sorry, who are you and what is your job here? Also, fifth new character introduced, not counting the two from the prologue.
Make that six. I don't know what Danu's exact responsibilities are either.
Right away, Captain Ahab sir!
As usual, the list of record times and general mission completion screen greets us upon winning.
Yes, nevermind that Rift Space was destroyed back in CW2(?), we're jumping there anyway.
And now we've unlocked the second mission, Indelible, which will come up next. Clearly we have technology of some kind to deal with, and some new resource which looks suspiciously like a CW2 Ore formation. Our dubious task is set; we are jumping into redacted space to confront the particulate threat.