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"Owen. You killed Davis!" Alas, poor Davis, the VIP Owen and Tom F were supposed to protect lay dead, victim of a grenade throw gone bad. Who could have imagined that a convoluted plan to bounce a grenade off a fellow soldier's riot shield through a window could possibly go awry. Such was lunchtime in the PC Gamer office today when we tried out the New Red expansion for our strategy game of 2011, Frozen Synapse. Find out exactly what went down in Tom's account.
It already looks as though the co-op mode will prove to be the highlight of the update, but the Red expansion comes with a clutch of neat new features. There's a new riot shield unit that can deploy a silver barrier when standing still to repel enemy fire and deflect incoming grenades.The expansion also adds a 15 mission single player campaign and 10 challenge missions with additional rule mutators to add extra challenge.
It also adds red mode. What does that do? "IT MAKES THINGS RED" say Mode 7 in the Frozen Synapse Red trailer. The expansion is available to buy now for $9.99 from the Mode 7 site and Steam.
Full co-op for the single player campaign and all new single player content
A new unit (riot shield)
A new multiplayer game mode (“Upload”)
15 mission single player campaign
10 single player challenge missions
Three mutators (gameplay modifiers for advanced users)
6 additional music tracks by nervous_testpilot (2 previously available in the Humble Indie Bundle)
MP3 and FLAC download of all Frozen Synapse: Red music
Original music tracks “Deeper” and “Focus” unlocked during gameplay
“Impeccable Micro” - a chiptune album from _ensnare_ (MP3 and FLAC)
The infamous “Red Mode”…
Frozen Synapse's new DLC adds co-op play and a new shield unit. Owen and I tried out both at lunchtime, with disastrous results. Our 20 minutes of planning resulted in the 33 seconds of catastrophe below, so I should explain what the hell we were planning.
Our objective was to defend the NPC (cyan coloured) from incoming attackers, so I said I'd hold the north (I'm in green) and Owen (yellow) would hold the south.
My plan was solid: my machinegunner would provide overwatch from behind cover, my shield unit would block the only north entrance, then drop her shield a second before the turn ends, so my grenade guy could fire past her to flush out anyone who was hiding from my gunner.
It didn't go well. My shield unit put her shield back up at the end of the turn, ricocheting the grenade back at us. It didn't blow, but in my next turn, I have a very large and explosive problem at my feet.
Meanwhile, Owen was taken by surprise when an enemy shotgunner ran right up to the south wall, hugging it so he could peek in and blast us at close range. Shotgunners beat everything at close range, so Owen had to do something inventive. He moved both his shield and grenade units away from the windows, and had the grenade one shoot at the shield, angling it to ricochet out of the window and blow up the shotgunner. I was impressed with his guile.
What I didn't realise was that he hadn't simulated this. You can share your plan in co-op, so you can see how it'll play out, but only for the next five seconds. The grenade didn't land in that time, but I assumed Owen had seen from the trajectory that it would sail clear out of the window.
It did not.
It tinked pathetically off the shield and fell at its owner's feet. So in the same turn, both of us had to escape deadly blasts of our own creation, while enemies flooded in.
The difference was that my blast didn't kill the NPC we were here to protect.
What I love about the video is that it looks like Owen's two units disagree: the grenadier wants to do the shield-bounce, and the shield lady is having none of it. My guys manage to survive by dashing round a corner and huddling behind their shield, but it's no help: the mission was the NPC, and we killed the NPC.
The new DLC is called Red, and it's $10 if you own Frozen Synapse. If not, you can buy both together for $27. They're also both on Steam.
May 30, 2012
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Nathan Grayson)
The indie darlings of yesteryear are back with a vengeance. I mean, with titles like Wrath of the Lamb and Red, what else could they possibly be out for? A pleasant stroll? A picnic? No, this is a declaration of war – or at least “Hey, we still exist. Notice us>.” And I have! So everything worked out. Thank goodness. And wow, Frozen Synapse: Red, I must note in my trademark eloquent and considered fashion, contains a lot of stuff>. Foremost, the entire single-player campaign’s been retrofitted to include co-op, and there’s now another 15-mission campaign to top it off. You’re also looking at challenge missions, mutators, deployable cover, riot shields, and a new multiplayer mode. But most importantly, levels can be red now. Yes, that’s right: Mode 7 has included a new color>. Take that, Unreal Engine 4.
Mar 29, 2012
Product Update - Valve
In response to the fan outcry over the disappointing ending to Mass Effect 3, indie developer Mode 7 has changed the ending for strategy game Frozen Synapse to conform to community suggestions. Now it has a pony in it. And a dinosaur. And a message.
"This is the ending to a computer game," declares Frozen Synapse's new ending cut scene. "We don't care if you like it."
The new sequence was created in reaction to the overwhelming negative response developer BioWare has been met with since the release of Mass Effect 3, the final chapter in the saga of Commander Shepard versus the giant metal space squids. Distraught fans unhappy with the way the game's creators decided to conclude the story they were writing have made so much noise that BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka addressed the issue personally, informing the community that the Mass Effect team was working on "game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.
While this appears to be a win for Mass Effect fans, the issue continues to be hotly debated in the gaming community at large. Some argue that demanding a story be changed to better satisfy players' concept of what an ending should be is a blow against artistic vision and integrity. Others see this as an evolutionary stepping stone for video games, leading to a future where players don't just interact with the environments and enemies but with the story itself.
"We can't expect the outcome of our stories to conform to our own preconceptions" continues Frozen Synapse's new ending. While this new ending will only be around for a week or so its message and the accompanying explanation from of Mode 7's Paul Taylor should resonate for quite some time.
"This is not a criticism of Bioware or anything they have said / done. It is an experiment: I wanted to know how this felt. Honestly, it felt like vandalising my own work, which was interesting."
Mar 22, 2012
Product Update - Valve
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Alec Meer)
All the important games are changing their endings these days, you know. If you want a high profile, that’s the way to go – and as Mass Effect 3 teaches us, preferably after initially concluding your narrative with a last-minute bodgejob riddled with continuity errors, then subsequently bowing to fan ouctry. Frozen Synapse developers Mode 7 Games did no such thing, but have sensibly realised that the route to true success entails screwing around with their creative vision willy-nilly to suit whatever their community demands, and as such a new, happier (and far sillier) ending to their splendid turn-based strategy game will go live later today.
“I don’t mean this to be critical of Bioware even slightly,” Mode 7′s Paul Taylor tells me. “It’s just an experiment. I was so bowled over and fascinated just by the fact that such a change would even be considered, so I thought I’d see how it felt to do it.” (more…)
Feb 28, 2012
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Craig Pearson)
Onlive and the IGF are spooning for a fortnight. The sensual lovers are celebrating the Indie Gaming New Year by giving you access to 30 minute demos of 16 IGF finalists. The alphabetically sexy list of games is: Atom Zombie Smasher, Be Good, Botanicula, Dear Esther, Dustforce, English Country Tune, Frozen Synapse, FTL, Lume, Nitronic Rush, Once Upon a Spacetime, POP, SpaceChem, To the Moon, Toren, and WAY. (more…)
Feb 20, 2012
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Alec Meer)
They said it would never end. And then, on Saturday, it did. We’ve been posting our series of chats with the many splendid finalists in this year’s Independent Games Festival over the last couple of months, and, with the exception of English Country Tune (dev was worried about sounding boring), Mirage (dev didn’t reply) and Fez (dev wouldn’t confirm the possibility of a PC version) we managed to get mini-interviews with all the PC/Mac indie developers in the running for a gong.
In case you missed a few, didn’t understand what the hell it was all about or just like looking at neatly-ordered lists, here’s the complete series for your relaxed perusal. It’s a fascinating and diverse bunch of games in the finals this year, and if nothing else, it’s a rare chance to see what 18 different developers would say to the monsters in Doom if only they could talk to them.