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With a recent migration to Unity 5, Fallen: A2P Protocol is looking better than ever. With the lighting, shadow, and overall improvement to the game's graphical fidelity that Unity 5 allowed, it was time to move onto refining some of the game's mechanics. The game's latest update provides much more than your typical bug fixes, and adds some new and interesting mechanics as well as tweaking a few features in order to provide an experience that is more entertaining overall.

For those who have never heard of Fallen: A2P Protocol prior to this, it is simply a turn-based combat game in the like of classics such as X-COM. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the game puts you in control of a caravan of survivors who are out on a quest for revenge. This quest for vengeance will lead to those involved understanding exactly how the fall of the world came about.

With limited access to ammunition and resources, it is more important than ever to use solid strategies in order to complete missions. Making sure that each shot counts is vital if you want to ensure that you have enough supplies to complete an encounter. Other interesting features of Fallen include a weather system that requires you to adapt depending on the current conditions. There is also a fair amount of RPG-like character progression, meaning that as your characters gain more experience, you can choose various upgrades to increase their usefulness in combat.

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With the new update, the ranged combat system of the game has received a major overhaul. For example, prior to the update, missed shots would do just that and nothing else. A newly-implemented feature allows these stray bullets to continue along their path and strike cover, enemies, or even other friendly units. For area-of-effect weapons such as grenades, a miss will result in the grenade landing somewhere other than where you intended, which can have potentially detrimental effects. Finally, the shotgun range ensures that the closer an enemy is, the more damage that is done, and vice-versa.

On top of a major change to the ranged combat system, there has also been a huge revamp of the GUI. The newly-implemented system displays two types of areas for your characters' movement paths. Blue squares mean that moving a character to that spot will still leave them with enough AP to fire, while moving into a yellow square indicates that you will not have enough AP to fire. On top of this, there have also been some smaller improvements to the visual appearance of some elements of the GUI.

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Battlegrounds will now feature loot caches that can contain various items for your party to use. Looting these caches is completely optional, and features a sort of risk-reward system as you must do so during missions. Choosing to ignore the caches and focus on the objectives is a valid option, but you will often miss out on rare items if you do so. On the topic of loot, they have also added "vendor trash" such as fur and cloth that serve no purpose other than to be sold to a vendor to make a bit of money.

Another very nice feature that has been added is free camera rotation. Prior to this update, you were only able to rotate the camera up to 90 degrees. While this was stated as a deliberate design decision, the developers have decided that implementing a free camera will do no harm to the overall game experience.

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One of my favorite changes from the new update is the weapon mastery system. This system ensures that the more a particular character uses a specific weapon type, the more proficient they become with that weapon. For example, if a character uses a shotgun for a long period of time, they will gain XP for that weapon. Eventually, they will become more proficient with that weapon which provides an increased hit chance when using that weapon type.

Secondary stats are directly related to primary stat choices. For example, if you decided to choose a talent from the strength tree that gave you an increase in melee attack power, you may also gain an extra point of strength for doing so. Finally, debuffs have been added that result in being hit by particular weapons. For example, a hit from a katana may result in a bleeding effect, which will deal damage over time to the character affected by the debuff.

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It's always nice to see developers supporting their Early Access titles, and while Fallen: A2P Protocol is by no means a perfect game, it is well on the way to becoming a major contender in the genre. In the next update, we can expect additional maps, missions, and a brand new enemy type.

Full patch notes can be found here and here (2 parts).

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Fallen: A2P Protocol is currently available on Steam Early Access for $14.99.