Frozen Synapse 2 takes the turn-based tactical shooter in a very exciting direction. The original game had a crafted campaign that saw you playing through designed levels and learning about the backstory of the city you inhabited.
The sequel's campaign takes place in a wholly procedurally generated city with a plethora of different factions fighting each other, running missions, and trying to take control of the city.
Every building can be entered, every faction can be assaulted, and when a mission is done the game isn't over.
One example Mode7 gives in describing the new world is how you can use the city as a strategic space:
Everything in the game is “on the map”, from money and supplies to VIP’s, hostages and even the player’s own in-game avatar. If a faction is transporting their ill-gotten gains back from a raid, the player can set up an ambush and try to snaffle the bounty themselves. If the player’s base is raided and they are killed, the game will end. Which is nice.
While the sequel is built on the same core mechanics that made the original so good, Frozen Synapse 2's single player is a wholly new and fascinating step for the game.
I was a big fan of Satellite Reign and backed it pretty much on day one. That was also a game that offered up a city and a set of tools and left you to tackle the space how you wanted. But even that had limitations: the city was a designed entity, with spots to exploit baked into the map. Every area was designed to let different agents' abilities be useful in that specific situation. That's not a bad thing, it was a great game and a big part of that was its well-designed city.
But I'm really intrigued to see what can be managed with a completely procedural city – one where you have to adapt your plans to the space because you know a designer hasn't designed the space around what you can do.
The strategy map isn't the only change, there's also going to be lots of new classes and perks for your troops that will make your teams become more individual. It also makes the death of your men into a palpable loss whereas before dead soldiers could be replaced with like-for-like copies between missions.
Stealth is also now a viable option. Previously the AI knew you were in the level, it didn't know what you were doing but it was actively searching for you. In Frozen Synapse 2 it doesn't know you're there until it spots you. At which point the guards will try to activate the security system and bring in aid.
Finally, and this may not excite you as much as me, but CURVED WALLS.
That is all.