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Gratuitous Space Battles: The Outcasts
Score: 96%
Publisher: Positech Games
Developer: Positech Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Editor/Strategy/Puzzle

The Origin:

The Vla-hurk civilization was an advanced one, with the technology to not only replace limbs and organs, but to enhance their capabilities. However, the rise of a new religion, the New World Religion, turned the public opinion against cybernetic augmentation. Soon, the cyberneticaly enhanced are shunned as a lower, less pure class. This went on for a thousand years, until those who chose augmentation decided to abandon their home-world to become a spacefaring, nomadic society... but not before nuking the entire planet from orbit. Now, they move from system to system, never to step on a planetary surface again.

What You See:

While other races have notable design identities, The Outcasts have, perhaps, the most iconic and easily identifiable, while simple design. The entire fleet is comprised of heavily circular designs, with frigates and cruisers hulls that are built with a circular, disc-shaped infrastructure and built out to varying degrees, some with sections with visible wire-frame infrastructure and others with an open circle in the center, making for a donut-shaped disc, to fighters which, while somewhat pointed, have shapes closer to that of an egg.

Gratuitous Space Battles: The Outcasts Trailer

What You Get:

The Outcasts includes the entire fleet of Outcast ships, of course: 3 Fighters, 3 Frigates and 4 Cruisers, for a total of 10 new ship hulls to play with. The Outcast ships are done by the same artist who did the original GSB artwork and feature large engine sections and cool-looking power generator sections that feature a pulsing glow. These technologically augmented warriors have a few tricks up their cybernetic sleeves... with 6 exclusive new ship modules.

Of course, there's also flavor text, load-screens and other Outcast-specific elements, such as ship names and crew names that round out the Outcast expansion with the fit and polish you'd expect. I especially like the Outcasts theme music; it has a moving, military sound, but built up from an eerie, haunting deep-space airy piece. It's not easy to describe, but it's a nice piece. I noticed it while in-game the first time I heard it.

The Outcast Fleet:

  • Fighters:
    • Chromium - 3 Modules / 1 Hardpoints / 3 Power / Cost: 46
    • Iridium** - 3 Modules / 1 Hardpoints / 4 Power / Cost: 51
    • Titanium - 3 Modules / 2 Hardpoints / 4.3 Power / Cost: 68
  • Frigates:
    • Caesium - 6 Modules / 5 Hardpoints / 9 Power / Cost: 135
    • Gallium - 7 Modules / 4 Hardpoints / 9 Power / Cost: 80
    • Thorium - 7 Modules / 5 Hardpoints / 11 Power / Cost: 156
  • Cruisers:
    • Palladium - 7 Modules / 8 Hardpoints / 7 Power / Cost: 195
    • Plutonium - 9 Modules / 7 Hardpoints / 9 Power / Cost: 160
    • Radium* - 11 Modules / 7 Hardpoints / 10 Power / Cost: 180
    • Strontium - 9 Modules / 7 Hardpoints / 8 Power / Cost: 150

New Exclusive Technology:

  • Holographic Decoy Projector - [Cruiser] A fake, yet very convincing, target to attack.
  • Multi-Target Tractor Beams - [Frigate] Slow down bothersome Fighters by the bushel.
  • Sniper Lasers - Frigate] Lasers typically suffer from limited range. Not these.
  • Rapid Firing Pulse Gun - [Frigate] Great against pesky Fighters.
  • Solar Power Collector - [Frigate] Power generator that taps the energy of the suns.
  • Dual-Stage Missiles - [Frigate] Missiles that speed up when they get near your target.

New Scenarios:

If you want to try your luck fighting against the Outcasts, there are two new maps specifically for that. Well, you can also use them in Challenges, as well. Additionally, you can use the Outcast race in any other maps from the game.
  • The Jabbah Nebula - Large map, Cost limit: 40k, Pilot limit: 150
  • The Eltanin Clouds - Medium map, Cost limit: 40k, Pilot limit: 150

The Verdict:

The Outcasts expansion costs $5.99 USD. That's the same price as the other race expansions, if bought separately. The question each gamer must ask themselves is whether the expansion is worth 6 bucks. I realize that times are tough, and if you're counting every penny and trying to decide whether to pick up the Outcasts or eat dinner tonight, you should probably go with the more nutritious option and just play the base game (assuming you have GSB already - you have to have the base game to play the expansion).

If, however, you're looking to buy an alien race expansion for Gratuitous Space Battles and you're trying to choose between The Outcasts and another race, I would highly recommend The Outcasts. The expansion is well made, highly polished, and includes six exclusive technologies to give you an edge. The Decoy Projector alone can provide a lot of interesting options and, as the text says, looks like it would, indeed, be fun at parties.

*Most of the Outcast hulls have boosts to speed. The Radium is the only non-fighter** Outcast hull that doesn't feature an inherent speed boost. Instead, it features a boost to Armor, Power Output and Hull Integrity, making it a good basis for an engine-less design, should the Vla-hurk get tired of their nomadic existence and decide to create a new stationary home out of overly weaponized Cruisers. Just sayin'.

**The Iridium Fighter is the other* Outcast hull that doesn't feature a speed boost. Instead, the Iridium features a 25% armor boost.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 Call of Duty: Black Ops 2: Nuketown Zombies Microsoft Xbox 360 Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated