Let me first say that I have not been a huge fan of city building games for some time, I loved the originals for this genre and spend oh so many hours building my cities but then my interest just faded. I am happy to say Frostpunk – The Last Autumn has changed that for me, I have had a wonderful time playing through this expansion. My hat goes off to 11 Bit Studios and while I do have an item or two of criticism I am looking forward to more bone-chilling adventures set in this world. This is our Frostpunk – The Last Autumn review.
In The Last Autumn expansion, you take on the role of the individual hired to build one of the generators that will be needed in case the worst comes to pass. The developers have done a great job of creating the environment, everything looks wonderful from the new building to the narrative splash screens that pop up to illustrate the story as it progresses. I liked how the environment drastically changed the longer you take to build the generator, to the point where certain building and access to resources eventually becomes restricted. The sound effects and background music I found were also spot on and complimented the gameplay. Unlike other games I never found them to be overwhelming or repetitively annoying.
The gameplay in this expansion has been changed up somewhat compared to the original game. Here you are racing against the clock while trying to keep your team’s discontent and motivation under control. At the same time, you need to make sure to complete the milestones set for each phase of building the generator. Instead of sending out scouts to explore the surrounding area you are sending out teams to collect the resources needed to complete the project. Replenishment of your workforce and acquisition of cores to construct specific buildings mainly come in the form of requisition requests to London and then it takes a day for those resources to arrive. A counter slowly builds in between requisitions so the longer you wait the more you can requisition in one order.
The new buildings all looked great and fit the expansion’s environment very well. It was nice to have new technologies to play with that fit the narrative, I found the Generator Construction tree specifically a nice addition to the game. The new laws, labor, and administration, also made for an interesting choice on whether I was going to heavily support the workers or engineers. Every element fits with the core narrative being told and kept me engaged until the wee hours of the morning.
One thing I was surprised about was that the scenario tooltip indicated this to be more difficult than the core game. New hazards like toxic gas and the workers going on strike were a bit challenging but not particularly difficult to overcome. While I have had limited experience with the main storyline after playing through the expansion I found it to be easier overall and was able to complete the story scenario on my second try, I admit the first time through they fired me which was at least a step up from being banished in the main story scenario. Oh, I also once again discovered that in video games I can be a horrible leader as my wife, who was watching over my shoulder as I put certain laws into effect, would look at me on occasion in mock horror… I swear that I am not a monster, but sacrifices were needed to get the job done and serve the greater good.
Depending on how experienced you are with this style of game you may find the expansion scenario to be a bit short, as a casual player I found it to be just about right, I would have like to have seen a bit more narrative towards the end of the scenario and maybe more random challenges thrown at me along the way. For an expansion at this price point, it was a fair amount of gameplay and story. I was disappointed that many of the new features, such as the new building and laws, could only be used within The Last Autumn scenario and no other gameplay modes at this time. The price for this expansion on its own is $16.99 US, which if you are mainly interested in the story content could be considered to be a bit high. A better option for fans of the game may be to pick up the season pass for $24.99 US which will also include the first DLC, The Rift, and a third pack to be released in the future.
Environment, sounds, gameplay, and narrative have all be stitched together extremely well in The Last Autumn expansion to make for a great overall experience, it ate up hours of my life before I realized it. The only caution I might have for players is that the narrative can be pretty dark at times, in the same vein as Frostpunk’s main story. If you are looking for a great addition to the main game or want to jump into Frostpunk with this expansion, then I highly recommend picking it up.
A game key was provided for the purpose of review.
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