It is hard to cover just how many improvements, bug fixes and additions have been made to Distant Worlds 2 in the recent Aurora patch, and that’s on top of the patches that have already addressed many issues with the game since launch. Distant Worlds 2 launched to middling reviews, but what was unanimous was that there was an excellent game there waiting to be unleashed. Earlier this week saw the release of a new DLC for the game that introduces two factions – Ikkuro & Dhayut.
It’s evident that CodeForce have putting the hard yards in as recent Steam reviews are shown as Very Positive and the playtime for reviews (both good and bad) are often in the hundreds of hours – the main metric I go by for these sorts of games. Even if the review is negative, if the player has 500 hours in the game, there’s something there to bring them back for 13 working weeks’ worth of playtime. The full changelog for Aurora can be found in this pdf which is well worth a read and Slitherines 2-hour update gameplay video really activates those neurons.
A nice update for getting into the feel of the game is far greater differentiation between factions. For example, certain species won’t bat an eye if you favour orbital bombardment as a tactic, whereas others start firing up the industries to bring Freedom to you as soon as possible. Steam workshop support has been added – at this point it’s basically essential for a sandbox game in my opinion, leveraging the creative juices of the community can greatly extend the enjoyment and lifespan of a game. A raft of interface improvements, both in control such as key cycling between entities and in display such as species habitability on planets, all reduce friction allowing players to get into the game much more easily.
Fleets and fleet templates received some large improvements. You are no longer limited to a single variant of a hull type so you can have picket and bombardment destroyers in the same template. A large number of fixes and logic tweaks also went into the system that all allows for improved depth and helps with the automation that makes Distant Worlds 2 such a unique high-level beast. Similarly, the retrofit path panel added to the ship design screen allows players to specify how a design should upgrade in the future, automated ship design generates designs by hull rather than by role, and there can be multiple designs/hulls per role.
There are seven playable factions in the basic game: from the xenophobic Haakonish, who are dedicated to intergalactic commerce, to the Ackardians, who are specialised in the industrialisation of their aquatic worlds. Now this new Factions DLC adds Ikkuro & Dhayut. The Ikkuro are focused on happiness, growth, and harmony. Their self-repairing ships are a mix of technology and biology, and they can use their understanding of the various galactic biomes as well as unique terraforming facilities to achieve unprecedented levels of habitability. The Dhayut are master deceivers and paranoid schemers. Their fast ships bring mistrust and slavery wherever they are found as their ability to infiltrate other societies allows them to manipulate other empires in ways that others cannot hope to achieve.
The Distant Worlds 2 Aurora update went live on March 3 and the Ikkuro & Dhayut DLC launched on March 16, so you have many great reasons to dive right back into it on Steam. Keep an eye out for our review of the Factions DLC once we’ve given it a decent play through.