As you can no doubt tell from last November’s in-depth review, the original release of Galaxy on Fire 2 really tickled iFanzine’s fancy! We count ourselves among the untold thousands of happy Fishlabs customers who’ve been eagerly anticipating the extension Valkyrie, which the developer rolled out as an In-App Purchase on April 28. Now that we’ve spent lots of quality time with the add-on, we can report that while the new ships, equipment, and locations are nice, it’s really Valkyrie‘s generous helping of brand new story missions that make it a truly Galaxy-class IAP worth forking over an extra $4.99.
Galaxy on Fire 2 wrapped up by letting players continue to freely explore the cosmos as Keith T. Maxwell, fresh off his victory over the malignant Voids. In the extension, Keith – now famous but still up for anything lucrative – falls in with a shadowy organization that employs him as their test monkey for cutting edge weapons technology they’ve pirated from others. Galaxy on Fire‘s hero decides this not cool once he’s essentially assigned to steal from the researchers he made friends with in the main release, and his turning coat against his new employers leads him to a climactic confrontation that’s arguably way cooler than anything he got himself wrapped up in previously. The add-on lasted about three hours for me versus eight for the original release, though part of that differential comes from the fact that Keith gains money directly from Valkyrie‘s story missions, whereas the player has to rely solely on time-eating sidequests to keep him afloat in the original release. The amount of additional story content is impressive, especially considering the amount of new voice work recorded to help bring this new story arc to life.
Valkyrie feels like it’s unabashedly designed simply to show off some of the new vehicles and equipment Fishlabs has designed for the game, but there’s no doubt that this aspect is well integrated into the additional story arc. It may, however, miff some fans who were looking forward to bringing their souped-up ship from the main release with them everywhere. In many respects Valkyrie challenges the player’s core piloting skills, as Keith temporarily hops into ships the player has no experience with yet and must accomplish some daredevil tasks despite the disadvantage. That’s not to say it removes the player’s freedom completely, as Valkyrie wraps up with the same near infinite open-endedness that the original release did.
Some of Valkyrie‘s non-story content appears during a playthrough of the original release as well, should the player proceed with the In-App Purchase before finishing Galaxy on Fire 2‘s original Void storyline. However, there’s little advantage for the average player in purchasing Valkyrie early. Truth be told, the lion’s share of cool stuff shown off in Valkyrie‘s release trailer will be seen only by diehard completionists willing to scour every space station in the galaxy looking for the sparingly distributed new ships and items.
One complaint that’s easy to raise with Valkyrie is that the new story arc is difficult to trigger in the first place: the player must visit a certain space station after finishing the original storyline before the extended story kicks in, and no instructional appears to be provided. If you’re about to download Valkyrie, save yourself some exasperated forum scouring and head directly for Kanado Station in the Magnetar System, then exit. Valkyrie‘s new story missions should then kick in.
iFanzine Verdict: Valkyrie is a winner precisely because it builds on the main game in a manner that feels fresh and challenges the player in ways not experienced in the original release. Completionists will get the most out of its non-story content, but the new Galaxy on Fire lore alone should justify the purchase for most series fans.