Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Gratuitous Space Battles Expansion Packs

2:00 PM on 04.06.2010 // Josh Tolentino
  @unangbangkay

When I reviewed Gratuitous Space Battles last year I remarked that, despite its name, the game's design was actually quite lean and focused, providing a unique, hands-off approach to real-time strategy, placing emphasis on ship design and preparation rather than unit micromanagement, all dedicated to one thing, and one thing only: giving players a taste of vast, thrilling slugfests between metal death-machines sailing upon the sea of stars. And it succeeded quite poetically, propelled by by crisp visuals and a sharp, self-aware sense of humor.

You'll be glad to know, then, that that has not changed at all with the addition of two new Gratuitous Space Battles expansion packs from developer Positech games.

Read on to see just what they add to your experience.

Gratuitous Space Battles Expansion Packs: The Order and The Tribe (PC)

Developer: Positech Games
Publisher: Positech Games
MSRP: $5.99 each, available from Positech Games
and Steam

 This is actually a review of two expansion packs, namely "The Order" and "The Tribe", which add two new races to Gratuitous Space Battles' original four (one for each pack) and their attendant signature weapons. As might be inferred from the expansion packs' titles, the races are called "The Order" and "The Tribe".

Those names might sound hideously generic, and they are, but that's part of the game's charm, given that all the other factions are called the Federation, Alliance, Empire and Rebels. As ever, they serve as stand-ins for all the sci-fi's greatest tropes and conventions, unburdened by the need to cook up fancy languages or presumptuous naming conventions.

The Tribe are a diverse group of peaceful space-hippies, dedicated to bringing love, peace and good vibes to the universe through the total military destruction of all other warmongering life forms. Their bulbous, rounded ship designs practically wash the bad karma off their hulls. Tribe ships also have just half the armor and shield strength as the other races, but twice the durability, which can be a real downer for enemy tacticians who like to end fights in just a few laser barrages.

The Tribe pack brings in a total of eleven new hull designs (four cruisers, three frigates and four fighters), two new scenario maps, and "Kinetic Weapons", which are basically space machine-guns and space cannons. Kinetic weapons have an obscenely high rate of fire, but short range, adding a lot of "bang-bang-bang" to the "pew-pew-pew".

The Order, on the other hand, are a group of religious extremists who wish to convert the infidel races to their faith, or to irradiated space dust (they prefer the latter option). They fly around doing their god's work in asymmetrical ships that look for all the universe like a series of bright red space hulks held together by powerful tractor beams. Which is good, since that's exactly what Order ships are. Order hulls have very low engine output, but produce a lot of power, and are a great option for commanders who love spamming juice-hungry beam lasers at range.

Besides ten new hull designs (four cruisers, three frigates, three fighters) and two scenario maps, The Order pack contains four new weapon types. Radiation guns do damage on impact and degrade subsystems over time (as well as giving enemy crewmen extra limbs), and Nuclear missiles do the same thing, except that the enemy will yell "Oh no, they are launching nuclear missiles at me. NUCLEAR MISSILES." Firefly rockets are much faster than ordinary ones, and Limpet mines can attach to fighters and slow them down, making them easy pickings for all the slow-to-aim Radiation guns and Beam Lasers you mounted.

The packs themselves aren't without their own flaws, however. Since they are just add-ons, they naturally do not address complaints about the trial-and-error gameplay, nor do they add entirely new play modes or AI orders. If you didn't like

Also, Kinetic weapons, while sounding nice and loud, are not very impressive visually. The space bullets are mostly invisible, and the muzzle flashes tend to be obscured at short ranges. For the most part one can only tell if Kinetic weapons are being used through by hearing them.

The Order and Tribe themselves provide some interesting matches when placed in opposition. Will the Tribe's weak hulls last long enough to rush through the Order's beam/radiation spam and take out their lumbering vessels at range? The expansion pack races also come with the benefit of being unlocked straight out of the gate, requiring no in-game "honor" points to purchase (though some weapons are still locked until bought), unlike Gratuitous Space Battles' default factions.

Of course, one will need to purchase the packs in order to play online challenges that feature the new races and scenario maps.

Viewed from a pure value proposition, it seems that The Order pack provides more content, since new weapon types tend to outweigh the impact of new hull designs, but overall, both packs provide everything you might want from this sort of game - a diverse selection of ships and weapons with which to set up epic - nay, gratuitous - space battles.

You can grab the packs here or on Steam.

Score: 8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)


 

Photo Gallery: (3 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Josh Tolentino, Random Asian Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure unangbangkay Tips
When not posting about Japanese games or Star Trek, Josh serves as Managing Editor for Japanator, Dtoid's sister site for the best in anime, manga, and cool news from Glorious Nippon. more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
And when I said "as" I meant "this." The funk has ruined my mind.
SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
It's been ages since I've been as addicted to a game. That changed yesterday. I can't stop playing Crypt of the Necrodancer. Send help. My hands hurt.
JPF720 avatarJPF720
As I'm back to studying, I can't help but recall that while it took me a week to read 10 pages of psychology theory I managed to read an analysis on Killer7's plot, that was 100 pages long, in a day. Good times.
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
"I don't trust you, pal." "Well I don't trust YOU, guy." "I don't trust ANY of you, friend." This has basically been the Marvel themed Werewolf game we're having in the forums right now. Real popcorn material.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
"I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain." Then she explains anyway.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
id Tech 5 is a damn fine engine, but it's way ahead of its time. If The New Order and The Old Blood together need almost 70 GB of space, I cringe just to think what an open world game would need using that engine.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm definitely snatching Quantum Break on Xbox One so I can get dat crossbuy. Screw the haters, I'm excited for it and it's exactly what I hoped for when it comes to W10 exclusive gaming and crossbuy.
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
I've done nothing but read Pointandclickbait.com articles and now that's all I want to write like...
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
People who think that Smash 4 balance patches aren't coming because Sakurai said development has ended don't know anything. I doubt he'd just drop the characters and leave, given the potential balance issues. He's a professional, not an amateur.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Starting over from scratch after dying in a roguelike MMO
Occams avatarOccams
I've been listening to the live stream of the phone call with the remaining militia jackasses in Oregon all morning and its the saddest, funniest thing I've heard in a while.
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Next South Park RPG is releasing in the first fiscal year of 2017, apparently. It'll probably be fractured but whole. Can't wait! D':
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Waaaait a minute... From a design standpoint.. Wouldn't a bodysuit look better with shoes/boots, thus .GASP. precluding bare feet? Say it aint so! :'''(
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey guys, there's a new episode of PStoid up. You should go listen to it, I hear Phil takes his shirt off. I mean, it's a podcast so you can't see it. But you can IMAGINE it!
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
Yesterday, I brought a banana with me to my job for my lunch break. Some yokel must have swiped it, for I never saw it again, nor got to eat it. My response when: [img]http://i.imgur.com/wrZt8SO.png[/img]
darrenhupke avatardarrenhupke
"At launch, playing through most of the single player content will give you enough Fight Money to get Alex for free!" Will it be possible to earn enough FC by April for the next character DLC? I'm guessing not.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Right, looking for advice. Just redeemed four old XCOM games from a humble bundle a few years back, so I wanted advice on which one I should give a looksie to first. Got 5 choices, kind of thinking terror from the deep or apocalypse. Any suggestions?
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Never be first to avert your eyes when locked in a staring contest with a cat. You must push through the pain if you ever wish to become truly whole, to win this eternal conflict of wills. Bonus XP is awarded on Thursdays!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
S Magala Plate first fight! :D
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I have basic knowledge of two other languages (with certificates to prove so) and I decided today that soon I shall be fluent in both. One at a time though.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -