It’s been almost 4 years since I wrote my initial preview on Factorio and since then it has seen a wide range of updates, fixes and polish. With the recent version coming up to 0.18.14, from version 0.12.30~ of when I last played, Factorio has changed quite a bit during its early access stage. Just like before, Factorio is still a game about making factories, devolved by Wube Software LTD though now it is reaching a decade in development time. I thought now would be a good time to update the old preview and see how far the game has come.
Just like in the past, the story mode of Factorio is rather short and sweet, though has seen a few updates since its first introduction. There are 3 options in the campaign menu, Introduction, Transport Belt Madness and Tight Spot, which have stuck around for quite some time. They are mostly set up as tutorials to teach you how to create factories and automate them, alongside plenty of the in-game mechanics you will be using in Freeplay.
As a more linear approach to the game, the campaigns are a good starting point, as Factorio has quite a bit of meat under its iron exterior. While it is good for newcomers, it can feel incredibly slow and unnecessary for veterans of the title.
Factorio is a simulation game through and through, simulating a massive interconnected factory with conveyor belts, automated arms, automation machines, supply trains, research and much more. Your first goal is to start gathering resources to craft all of these components to your factory until you can finally automate the gathering process as well as the creation process to make it a completely hands-off factory. Going through the stages of Factorio is both fun and rewarding, as all your work is rewarded with better gear, faster productions and even more challenges to face with a cycle that can last easily 20+ hours if you’re wanting to escape the planet and dozens of more hours if you want to research everything.
The game is pretty simple to start up, mine coal or chop wood to fuel furnaces and diggers, this then progresses into automating the smelting of copper and iron so you can make circuits to then create better conveyer belts and grabber arms. Continuing from that you will craft science packs to unlock new tech like rocket launchers or power armour to eventually making a rocket to leave the planet.
While the main goal of Factorio is still to leave the planet, with the introduction of space science packs the game can continue past that point even further than before. With advanced space tech combined with infinite booster research, like adding more damage and range to your weapons infinitely, you could play for an infinite amount of time, though let’s settle for just 300 hours right now.
While you’re upgrading your facility you will, however, start to generate pollution, which angers the native aliens. As the eco-crazy bugs start to smell your pollution they will attack anything that produces it, including your character, and so you will need to build weapons for both yourself and the base. Setting up walls and turrets, from bullets to lasers, there is always something that needs your attention even if you automate their creation and upkeep.
With all the updates to the graphics and UI, some of which have made the toolbelt, research and inventory so much sleeker and well-designed, Factorio still gives me a sense of the old Command & Conquer games when Westwood was the developer. This is compacted even more when the music and atmosphere are similar to the more quiet sections of those games where you’re just amassing your units for combat, instead, you’re building turrets and ammo. One of my issues in the past was the lack of upgrades and research options for combat, but now they have been improved with all the new combat drones, infinite damage research and AI, you can also just nuke enemies. The main update I liked was the improvement to rocket launcher distance, which made them a viable choice for combat.
Sadly the music still takes a background stance with the game, mainly accompanying the sounds of machines at work and failing to loop at times leaving you with only those sounds. While you can create a setup of sounds and lights in-game it doesn’t dissolve the main issue of quiet music, instead opting to put on my own music whilst I play.
Overall, Factorio is still an amazing game, even more so since I last reviewed it in 2016. It may be stuck in early access hell for a while longer, as stated before they will be releasing version 1.0 in September of this year. I am eagerly awaiting what the full release version of the game brings to the table as well as what will come after in the form of new content. It has been stated in the past that when Factorio goes full release it will get a price increase, so now is as good a time as any to get in on the action.
Factorio is developed by Wube Software and is available on PC.
You can grab it here if interested
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Factorio is a game in which you build and maintain factories. You will be mining resources, researching technologies, building infrastructure, automating production and fighting enemies. In the beginning you will find yourself chopping trees, mining ores and crafting mechanical arms and transport belts by hand, but in short time you can become an industrial powerhouse, with huge solar fields, oil refining and cracking, manufacture and deployment of construction and logistic robots, all for your resource needs. However this heavy exploitation of the planet's resources does not sit nicely with the locals, so you will have to be prepared to defend yourself and your machine empire.
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