Everspace 2 Union: Contracts/Heartland Update Delivers Huge Content Drop

The first big update for Everspace 2 is here, and it brings with it a ton of content and increases the game's difficulty with a few balance tweaks.

Everspace 2 left the hanger and entered the deep, swirling space of Early Access in January 2021. Since then, developer Rockfish has been steadily working on the first major update to the space-flight simulator and shooter RPG. The Union: Contracts/Heartland update introduces a massive cargo load of content to the game for free.

The update is currently available for both Steam and Good Old Games versions of Everspace 2

Union: Contracts/Heartland adds six new missions to Everspace 2: three primary missions and three side missions. On top of that, Rockfish said in a release that there are "addition side activities" available as well. Though many of those activities will take "place in the second star system," neither the release nor a news post on the game's Steam page mentioned what those activities are.   

The central force of these new primary missions and side missions is an old face from the original Everspace: Elek. The outlaw once again needs rescuing, it seems, and is this time in clutches of the arachnid-like Cave Crawlers. Players will need to fight their way through an underground cave system to rescue Elek, but once they're freed, they become a new companion and gain access to a number of upgradeable perks. 

The update also introduces a "new" ship class in the Bomber, which makes its return from the original Everspace. According to Rockfish, "The Bomber is a missile and mine specialist with access to unique explosive weapons and warheads." Another perk of the Bomber is its capability of regenning hull HP on enemy kill. 

For those who enjoy the puzzles in Everspace 2, a mechanic that's brand-new to the series in this release, Rockfish has made adjustments to some old puzzles to make them a tad more difficult, while also adding "new types of puzzles in combination with the second boss encounter ..."  

To get a feel for how this impacts Everspace 2, Rockfish shared a massive 15-minute gameplay video for the update that looks at gameplay, the new ship, and much more. Give it a watch below. 

The Steam news post about the update provides more insight into other parts of Everspace 2's development, including the purpose of the game's racing challenges, which the developer envisions as adding variety to the game. 

We want to provide various gameplay mechanics that you can delve into while progressing through the game in your preferred manner. Much of these side quests are optional objectives to pursue whenever you’d like to take a break from the main story campaign.

That said, we aren’t implementing all these different types of gameplay mechanics for nothing. Some super-duper loot will require top maneuvering skillz AND brainz to obtain. No worries, we’re not gonna force anyone to solve lots of complex puzzles and tight pursuit missions to progress through the story campaign à la Uncharted or Tomb Raider.

Lastly, as updates often do, this one squashes a few persnickety bugs and provides a bit of game balancing for difficulty. The full set of additions and changes can be found over in the Everspace 2 news section on Steam

According to the Everspace 2 roadmap, the next big content update will come sometime this summer. Called Zharkov: The Vortex, this update will introduce the game's third eponymous system, a new companion, new primary and side missions, and new activities and challenges. It will also increase the level cap. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Everspace 2 Early Access back in January, saying that it's already "polished and enjoyable ... an open-world space shooter where adventure awaits behind every asteroid." We praised it for its graphics, gameplay, and story. You can read our full run-down here

[Sources: Rockfish, Steam]

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Published Apr. 28th 2021

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