After a surprisingly successful noontime operation at the farm, the Dispensables rest up for the push onto Drassen. Ira has some medical skill, so she patches everyone up while Chopshop repairs what he can before night falls.
In the wee hours of the morning, I move the team onward to the Drassen airport. It’s the very next zone to the east. It’s time for my first night op, and time for Mantis to really hit her stride.
After the jump, the drink will flow and blood will spill
Armed with a set of throwing knives and a silenced Heckler & Koch MP5, Mantis moves out. Buzz and Meltdown take up positions in the darkness surrounding the well-lit entrance to the airport, but they’re really just there for support, while Mantis becomes one with the night.
One by one, the soldiers in Drassen fall. Throwing knives! For you! In your neck! Most of them never even know she’s there. The luckier ones are able to turn around and raise their weapon before Mantis takes them out with a silenced shot.
Why the sudden increase in ability? Well, her “loner” trait means Mantis performs better when she’s not near any other mercs, and her “stealthy” ability lets her get closer without them hearing her, by which point she’s well within range for throwing knives.
With the airport now mine, I can order shipments of weapons, ammo, and other gear, which will put an end to my worries about ammo. First, though, I have to take the rest of the town.
The central zone begins as a repeat of the airport. Mantis sweeps through the north end of the town like a shadow, while Buzz and Meltdown follow in her wake to provide backup if necessary.
It’s necessary. As Mantis moves to clean out the southern buildings, something arrives that’s worse than reinforcements…dawn. The sky begins to lighten, and it’s enough for the last couple of guards to spot Mantis. She takes off, running for cover, and while the guards chase her, Buzz charges in behind them to mow them down. No harm, no foul.
The defining characteristics of Drassen’s central zone are a sleazy bar and a child sweatshop run by a woman named Doreen. With the zone now mine, most of the townspeople ask me to get rid of Doreen, so I let Buzz do the honors.
Buzz has some serious issues with her ex.
The last zone in Drassen is the town’s silver mine. Taking the mine will provide me with a much-needed source of income, which will let me hire more mercenaries and buy better equipment.
It’s now fully light outside, but the daytime doesn’t become an issue, and I take the mine without any problems. During the fight, however, Mantis has a crowning moment of awesome that makes me a very proud commander.
After making a break across an open area for the cover of a building in the center of town, Mantis rounds the corner to spot a soldier with gun raised only a few feet away. Mantis has her MP5 as usual, but hey, ammo is already running a bit low. It’s time for some hand-to-hand combat.
One shot to the head and he’s down for the count.
Mantis then proceeds to beat him to death with her bare hands.
The town of Drassen is now mine. Over the next few in-game days, Deidranna sends a counter-attack to try and retake the town. This is another new feature of the 1.13 patch. In the original game, the queen makes a big fuss in a cutscene about sending her best soldiers, and then I guess they get lost, because they never show up. By default, after you take the town, 1.13 sends waves of elite troops to retake it. This makes it suicide to go to Drassen first, and yet the game explicitly tells you to go there right away. Basically, the crazy counter-attack is an option for difficulty junkies, but thankfully, you can disable it.
Even so, after taking the town, every nearby patrol makes a beeline for Drassen. It’s a close fight, but I’m able to fend them off, though Meltdown has a close brush with death, and the sheer number of soldiers makes things messy.
When not defending against a counter-attack, I train the town’s citizens into a veteran militia that can defend Drassen without me having to baby-sit them. I also heal Meltdown, repair my equipment, and use my newfound wealth from the mine to renew Buzz and Meltdown’s contracts.
In celebration of my string of victories, I also get a priest drunk.
Dufresne, known to his friends as Sam, lives and works in the Boston area as a game designer. His hobbies besides gaming include the guitar, LEGO, and the occasional regime change.