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FTL: Faster Than Light Review (BTA):
Ever wondered what it would be like to pilot a spaceship? Not sure how to help you with that one, but if you want to captain a spaceship, FTL is a game for you! Your mission is to successfully cross the randomized galaxy, staying ahead of rebel forces, with important data. On your way you will encounter hostile pirates, rebel scout ships, and more entities looking to destroy you. Fortunately there are also peaceful and even helpful aliens out there that will lend a hand, or at least not try to kill you.
You begin with a ship and three person crew, and with that you have to jump from point to point, aiming for the way out of the sector. With each jump there is a chance you will find an interesting planet or friendly ship, but there is also the chance you will find a pirate ship or other threat. When this happens you will enter into a real-time combat mode, but you can pause the game, and you will probably want to. You manage everything on the ship, including where your crew is positioned, what doors are open, and what modules receive power. Some ship designs do not have the power to drive everything, so you will have to shuffle the limited resource around to power your weapons. Once powered though, your weapons can attack any compartment in your opponent's ship, such as their weapons, shields, or engines. Of course your energy weapons will have some difficultly penetrating shields, but that is what missiles are for!
Your enemy also has the ability to target compartments and has missiles too, so when your ship's compartments are damaged, you will want to send at least one crew member there to repair the damage. This will not repair the damage to your hull, but will get a module in the room back up and running. If a fire breaks out though, you may want to open some doors and let the vacuum in a little. Just do not forget to close the doors when the fire is out, or you may kill a crewmate.
Upon defeating an enemy, you are able to salvage the resulting debris field for resources including fuel, missiles, and scrap (the game's currency). However sometimes the enemy does not want to be defeated, and will offer a trade to end the attack. Whether this trade benefits you or them depends on the situation.
While FTL may just sound like a space simulator/strategy game, it is definitely more difficult than many others. There are no saves, except so you can leave the game and return to where you were. When your ship explodes, you will have to restart. Complicating matters is the fact that you rarely can see where you are going. Until you visit an area, you do not know if there are pirates waiting for you or interstellar teddy-bears just looking for a hug. Once there you may find yourself presented with a choice of helping some people or ignoring their distress calls. You do not always want to be the hero! This game does not have much mercy for you, so your humanitarian missions can easily lead to at least one crew member dying.
That being said though, this is definitely a game you can lose yourself in. Look at a clock, tell yourself you are just going to play for a few more minutes, and when you look back to the clock you find an hour has passed. This happens in part because the game is fairly fast paced. There is very little waiting involved, so you can constantly feel like you are moving forward, and once you start moving you do not want to stop.
In case you cannot guess by now, I am definitely enjoying the game and I would definitely recommend it to others interested in a challenging strategy game. It is a well-designed and built experience that I am looking forward to playing more of. Go ahead and beat the average to see if you can cross the galaxy in one piece.