Arcen Games releases seem to come out of nowhere, and they happen a lot! Like every six months, it seems, there’s a new release from them. I had taken a break from playing any new games to smash through my gaming backlog, so I missed Bionic Dues in November. I was going to skip taking a look at The Last Federation as well, but once I saw the unique combat style in the trailer for The Last Federation, I had to give it a shot!
Everything about this game is unique. The premise is not universal domination but instead the creation of a peaceful federation. You can use pretty much any means to get there, from bribery to gifts to winning elections to genocide. If you can ignore that peace formed at the end of a sword is no peace at all, getting all the races on your side (or out of existence) is a lot of fun.
Games from Arcen tend to be text heavy at the start, which for me is a drawback. Not that I mind reading, but I like a game that shows me how to play as I play, not one that stops gameplay in order to pass along hints. The Last Federation still has walls of text that interrupt gameplay, but since this is a strategy game, I was less inclined to get frustrated at this. Besides, once you get the basics of this game, it’s pretty easy to figure out what to do next.
Gameplay is done mostly from an overview screen which gives you an insight into all of the planets and races in your galaxy, along with their economic strength, medical abilities, military power, etc. Selecting one of the planets lets do do nice things, not-so-nice things, see past things you did, and more detailed information on the race.
By far my favourite part of the game is the combat. It reminds me quite a bit of Armada Online in that your ship automatically fires at nearby enemies, you simply have to guide it near one to engage in combat. The trick this time around is that combat is turn-based, meaning every few seconds, it stops to let you pick what you’d like to do next. You can manouver your ship away from enemy fire or around a shield using this method and it really gives the twitch gameplay portion a touch of strategy!
The Last Federation is receiving quite a number of updates as players provide feedback, which is another really nice thing about a release from Arcen Games. It’s not an alpha or beta product, but they still tweak things and add new features over time.