Heat Signature – A Going Over – Part 2

We’re picking up with Heat Signature where we left off in part 1.

Factions in Heat Signature

There are 4 opposing factions in the game. Pretty much at war with one another, they are vying for supremacy and resource control in your little pocket of space.

Sovereign

Your friendly (galactic) neighborhood evil corporation. Well, not so much evil, more like goal-oriented, ruthlessly efficient, scare everyone else shitless types. They use pretty much all types of tech, but have a tendency to favor lethal weapons.

Foundry

Engineers, the lot of them. Foundry were the first faction in the drift and they built all the stations, even though they no longer control most of them. They tend to be using a lot of wrenches for non-lethal use and have a propensity for armored guards in higher level missions, so stock up on AP guns / blades. There is also a nonlethal, armor piercing “jawbreaker” weapon you can find that might come in handy for certain situations. Their ships tend to have larger rooms, so sneaking around might not be so easy without teleportation tech or stealth fields.

Glitchers

They are a faction of nomadic professional soldiers. Their ships tend to be irregularly shaped and are the biggest in the Heat Signature universe. This can cause problems in time-bound missions and when you need to bail in a hurry. They have lots of teleportation tech, keep this in mind when running against them. Triggering alarms tends to bring a large amount of guards right on top of you.

Offworld Security

Basically the cops of the Heat Signature universe. They tend to have fairly small, tightly-packed ships with “flying wing” configurations. Think B-2 Spirit. Pretty much the easiest faction to go up against. They tend to use non-lethal weapons, so at worst (unless you blow yourself up), you’ll end up being tossed out the airlock if caught. From there, you can easily pick yourself up using your pod, re-dock and try again without too much lasting damage. Offworld Security guards on harder missions do however tend to have lots of shields though.

Mission Types in Heat Signature

Although the circumstances for each mission may differ widely, the missions will fall in one of the following categories:

  • Hijacking – board a ship, kill or disable everyone, take control and pilot the ship to a friendly station. Or for specific missions (Liberations), set a collision course for an enemy station and then get GTFO said ship before it impacts.
  • Rescue – board a ship to collect and extract a prisoner. Killing/disabling the crew is not mandatory, although it makes getting back out while carrying said prisoner a whole lot easier.
  • Assassination – self-explanatory. Board a ship, kill a specific NPC. Make sure your target is DEAD though, it’s not enough to knock them out. Killing/disabling other guards does not factor in the mission objective.
  • Capture – similar to assassinations, go in, knock your target out (without killing them), get back out.
  • Theft – retrieve a specific item from an enemy ship. I like to use Visitors for those – takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but it makes it a whole lot easier.

Randomly, a mission may also have one of the following clauses, modifying the rules of engagement you need to work within:

  • Bloodless: Pretty easy to achieve. You may not kill anyone other than the target (if applicable). You can however still knock them out with non-lethal weapons. Be careful not to knock people out of observation windows – an environment kill is still a kill.
  • Silent: Also fairly easy. You cannot allow any alarms to be raised. Make sure you aren’t seen before you are ready to strike.
  • Enigma: You cannot leave any living witnesses behind. This means “don’t be seen”, or make sure to kill those that saw you (not just knock them out).
  • Pacifist: Quite hard to do on large ships. You may not knock out or kill anybody except the target.
  • Ghost: Basically Enigma + Pacifist. You may not be seen and you cannot kill or knock out anybody except your target (if applicable). I generally tend to avoid these except for Theft missions. If you have to do them, stock up on high-capacity or self-charging gadgets like stealth shields, teleporters and keycard cloners. Bringing more than one weapon is pointless, as using them defeats the purpose and you might as well just GTFO.

General tips on running missions in Heat Signature

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Whenever you start out with your first character (or a new one), you won’t have much in terms of gear. Or money, for that matter. So take on missions that are doable and that have a chance of netting you some gear. The non-silenced guns most guards are carrying are not good gear to collect and keep, so focus on more silent options. Like taking on a mission where the guards have a bunch of wrenches or long blades. Yeah, stock up on those, to the point where you have 5-6 of each.

Always steal everything that isn’t nailed down. On a lot of missions you’ll find rooms with crates containing items. Get all of them, time permitting. They will come in handy, especially if you haven’t unlocked a lot of tech in the stores. This is a lot easier to do if you…

Go Rambo on everyone*. Unless the mission clause dictates otherwise. It’s a lot easier to avoid awkward situations if you methodically kill or knock out everyone on a ship. Some randomly wandering guard can’t corner you, or raise an alarm when he sees a corpse if he himself is one. This usually entails using silenced weapons, along with a few gadgets you can get your hands on. Taking out the pilot has the added benefit of neutralizing the countdown on time-bound missions.

Focus on problem-solving items. Guards with personal shields are a problem, for example. To a lesser extent, armor can also be a problem. Make sure you have the tech to deal with them before charging headfirst into a mission. I’ll admit, I’d rather go up against 50 armored guards rather than 10 with personal shields. It’s hilarious to use a subverter on them to turn their shields inside out and then watch them shoot themselves in the face. That, however, tends to cause his other 9 shield-equipped friends to come running, and unless you brought enough for everyone, it’s A Bad Place To Be™.

Conclusion Time

So there you have it – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing this game, having given it about 60 hours so far. I’ll most likely play it in the future, to force myself to explore weapons and tactics combinations I’ve ignored so far, like traps (I’ve barely touched those) and to seek new challenges, like ships full of armored AND shield-clad BAMF’s, – which I’ve made a point to avoid so far if I could help it. If you happen to like this kind of roguelite game, don’t overlook Heat Signature – it’s a Damn Good game, and its creator is worth the support and praise.

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