Normally, after capturing Drassen and securing the services of Skyrider, the next logical step is to go for Cambria, the large town at the center of the map. The hospital at Cambria is an excellent place to patch up wounded mercs, and can provide enough medical kits to last me the rest of the game, if I’m willing to pay a bit of town loyalty as a price.
I’m not going there, though. Not yet. Just to the south of Drassen is Alma, the primary military base of Arulco. While a much more difficult target, the rewards significantly outweigh the risks.
After the jump, stat-heads rejoice
The first step is the hardest. Skyrider drops the Dispensables right by the military warehouses for another night assault. Unfortunately, most the soldiers here have night vision goggles, something I have yet to acquire. As a result, they can see farther than I can, and they spot me first. While Mantis and Buzz successfully take out the first sniper on the roof, he’s able to call for backup before he’s introduced to the business end of a katana.
He thankfully drops his night-vision goggles, which should greatly improve Mantis’ night-ops capabilities.
It’s not long before the cavalry shows up. On the way over, Skyrider said he spotted a patrol to the east, so my bet is that they’ll be coming from that direction. I set up a nice little firing squad and wait. Sure enough, the reinforcements charge my position, and better yet, they’re all bunched up. Boy, it sure would be nice if we had some grenades right about now.
Oh look, we do. Chopshop and Meltdown soften up the reinforcements with explosives. One guy actually gets set on fire. Then the Dispensables finish them off.
The rest of the soldiers guarding the warehouses are still shuffling around down there. I can tell, because my mercs keep hearing them. Lucky for me they stayed in there; if they’d flanked me while I was dealing with the reinforcements, I would have been in trouble. There are only three of them left, and mopping them up is a matter of minutes.
Between all the soldiers I just killed and the contents of the warehouse, I have all sorts of goodies for my team now. Including this little beauty:
This is a good time to point out the other side of the weapon variety in 1.13. All those new guns aren’t just for show; these statistics combine to make each one work differently as well. Let’s run down the list.
Starting at the top of the left column and going down, we have: accuracy, damage, range, aiming levels (lower is better), aiming modifiers, flash suppression, loudness, reliability, repair ease, minimum range for aiming bonus, and to-hit modifiers. That last value has been significantly increased by the addition of a laser sight, which you can see attached to the gun on the left, along with a flash suppressor.
The right column displays the AP cost to raise the weapon, fire a single shot, fire a three-shot burst, fire on full auto, and reload the weapon. The last four attributes at the bottom of the right column are burst accuracy penalty, bipod accuracy effect, how many full-auto shots can be fired per 5 AP, and finally full-auto accuracy penalty.
For a min-maxer, comparing all of these new statistics between weapons and weighing their pros and cons can take hours. Fortunately, the FAMAS G2 is enough of an upgrade for Buzz that I recognize it as such immediately.
With the significantly increased range that the G2 gives Buzz, taking the Alma mine is a cakewalk. In daylight, Buzz can spot and nail bad guys long before they can reach her. Moving on to the base itself isn’t much more difficult. I put her on the roof, and she’s a freaking force of nature, popping heads left and right. Soldiers that try to climb up there to stop her are quickly put down.
Look out below!
After three zones worth of Alma missions, the Dispensables are getting seriously geared up. Meltdown in particular gets an exciting new toy.
The M79 comes in handy when the Dispensables storm the command center. A stun grenade lobbed through the door knocks out just about everyone inside, and allows the entire team to gather around the General to watch as Ira “does him execution-style.”
That’s two towns down, so where should I go next? Fortunately, the mine owner has a suggestion. He tells me about his brother held prisoner in Tixa, the Queen’s secret political prison. Sounds like a place I should visit.
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.