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Frostpunk: On The Edge

Posted by GG Goblin On August - 26 - 2020

All good things must come to an end.

 
11 bit studios’ excellent but grim strategy resource management game Frostpunk has taken players on a wild ride of trying to keep ever more miserable humans alive through a post-apocalyptic deep freeze. However, all good things must come to an end, and the final expansion is now available to enjoy. While the last expansion took players back to before the beginning, in a time when the weather was a little bit less chilly, the final expansion, On The Edge, moves to the other end of the timescale, having the player set up a new community away from the city of the main game. With diminishing resources for this new settlement, it won’t be long before the player will find themselves on the edge.

 


 
Much like the previous expansion, The Last Autumn, On The Edge is a separate scenario for players to enjoy, and it will have them heading out of New London to set up an outpost in the mountains. Veteran players will be happy enough with the majority of the mechanics in this scenario, with the player responsible for keeping things ticking over in the fledgling settlement. Frostpunk’s excellent narrative carries on through this new expansion, creating plenty of memories that players will take away from the game, while also presenting the player with plenty of difficult choices. However, there are a few things that make life on the mountain that little bit different from the core game.

 
While the player has been tasked with setting up this new settlement in the mountains, it doesn’t mean that they are completely in control. The new settlement exists at the whim of New London and the player will have to request their help when it comes to establishing new laws, which means that it will very often not go the way that the player wants. Problems for the player means problems for the city, and so they become less and less willing to help, almost as if they don’t really care what happens at the new settlement.

 
Being on the side of a mountain, resources are very lacking and the player will have to rely on others simply to survive. Frostland is littered with small settlements that the player will find themselves trading with for the resources that they need, and will have to set up trade routes to these settlements. The problem with this is that other settlements will always want something in return for their goods, and so the game quickly becomes a balancing act, between trading what the player has in surplus for whatever they need, and also doing whatever the other settlement wants the player to do, potentially upsetting others. Good relationships are required for trading to happen, and refusing to help out a settlement will not lead to good relationships.

 


 
As I said, this is a balancing act, more so than the core game. The story is excellent as the player makes their break away from New London, but this break makes everything that bit more stressful, as the player will have to rely on others for survival. Building the trade routes and helping other settlements to grow, whether in their own direction or as guided by the player, will give the player the resources that they need, but never enough that the player can get comfortable. Food is perhaps the most important resource, and one that the player will initially have to rely on being sent from the city, but without a generator to keep the heat on, the cold is also a big issue. New London’s apparent lack of care for the settlement will eventually come to a head in the excellent story, and once again the player will be left with difficult choices.

 
As a final expansion for the gruelling Frostpunk, On The Edge feels appropriate. The scenario is brilliantly written and provides a narrative journey that is easily as good as everything that came before. When it comes to new mechanics, there are a few, such as setting up safe trade routes and maintaining relationships, but they are perhaps not as interesting as the previous expansions. Also, while the moment to moment gameplay is very edge of the seat as the player carefully balances everything they need with what they can manage without and deals with one problem after another, the scenario seems to become easier as the player progresses, and forces limits on how the player approaches the game. Still thoroughly enjoyable, and very difficult, just slightly different.

 


 
Look, On The Edge is the final expansion for what has proven to be one of the stand out strategy games of recent years, and as such is an essential purchase for any fan. This expansion has a different feel to what has come before, but still maintains a gripping story as the player struggles to keep people alive. Perhaps not as enjoyable as The Last Autumn, On The Edge still manages to be a good time for all Frostpunk veterans.

 

 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 



 

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