As demanding as playing on the hard difficulty setting is, this stand-alone hardcore mode offers an entirely new level of challenge for veteran pilots, with the additional caveat of disallowing improvement in starting conditions. Each run begins with the same fixed set of pilot perks, with ship perk upgrades only allowed at the end of each sector, provided you have collected enough credits.
Hardcore mode also introduces another nasty twist. When entering a new sector, players must select from different handicap modifiers, each having an adverse effect on overall gameplay. Essentially, players choose between the frying pan or the fire. In short, if you’re a diehard rogue-like fan, this will be a hell of a challenge and a whole lot of fun.
You’re gonna be pulling your hair out. You’re welcome!
As hardcore mode is not connected to the primary story, we needed a new end sector with a new end battle. Lots of Everspace fans enjoyed the end level placeholder boss fight from Xbox Game Preview, so we decided to come up with a design that borrows from previous gameplay mechanics, with a few added twits. Of course, the level design was created from scratch and the all-new Sector 7 provides a completely different look and feel.
Pro Tips for Survival
Avoid being hit
Super obvious, sure, but in hardcore mode, it’s even more vital to evade enemy fire and make sure you have enough energy to fire weapons or boost away when things get too messy. We promise: things will get very messy, indeed! Remember, in addition to only getting one life, losing that life means saying goodbye to any ship upgrades you’ve accumulated. Keep moving and use Boost often to fly around quickly and get out of a sticky firefight that isn’t going in your favor.
TLDR – Try to stay in one piece.
Watch your energy consumption
Boosting, shooting and using devices drains energy; entering a fight with a depleted energy core spells almost certain doom. If you’re low on energy, find a spot to hide to quickly regenerate, or craft Energy Injectors and use them directly from the crafting menu.
Prioritize your targets
Drones need to die quickly, or they’ll harass you non-stop. They deal a lot of damage, but have just a few hit points, so take them out first! Keeping this mindset, look for targets that can be destroyed quickly to increase your likelihood of survival. Elite and Mk 2/3 enemies might be more dangerous, but spending precious time chewing through their higher defenses while letting their weaker support live could spell your doom.
Use your secondaries and devices
It’s wise to be frugal, but you can’t use either if you’re dead. If a fight is going poorly, use whatever is at your disposal to survive. You can still craft new secondary weapons and devices if you have the resources, or gather new ones when the opportunity presents itself.
Position yourself aggressively
Enemies can’t shoot behind themselves (though Outlaws are good at strafing). Take advantage of this by using circular dodging, approach enemies quickly and get positioned behind them. This puts you close enough to never miss a shot while keeping you in their blind spot. If facing a group, boost to the last target and try to take it out before the others circle around. Get used to repeating this until you’ve mastered it. It’ll be a lifesaver.
Seek allied assistance
The mining corporation G&B Prospects are almost constantly being attacked and raided by outlaws, which explains their investments in so much security. So, try to arrange a not-so-friendly introduction when you got too many outlaws on your tail. Due to the peace treaty between the alien Okkar and the human race G&B units will ignore Okkars unless alien firepower hits their precious mining facilities. Perhaps you’re floating near those large G&B gas canisters and some Okkar shots that missed you happen to blow them up. Angry G&B forces in the area are gonna want payback. This also works with trader ships as well, which are remarkably durable and well-armed. Use them to your advantage!
Keep some distance
Not the best dogfighter? Well, most enemies aren’t the best snipers, either. Pick up a shock rifle or flak cannon and pick off targets at long range while they try to close in. Shock rifles can hit targets up to 4km away (3.4km for Pro), while the flak cannon has a 1.9km range. Most enemies only really become dangerous within 1km.
Be ready to be move
Always have an escape plan. Have an energized boost, or a teleporter device handy. When you’re in a bad spot, use them to back off, giving yourself that sweet, limited breathing room to quickly decide what to do next.
Try a different ship
Some pilots just don’t do well with certain ships and find themselves making much better progress and having more fun when they choose one that better suits their skills. It might just be that the current ship you’re flying doesn’t mesh well with you (yet), so consider changing things up. You can always come back later and give the ship that’s giving you trouble another go.
Loot as much as possible
You also want to take your time in each sector. Kill all enemies to collect as many credits as possible and gather all the resources available for much need upgrades later in the run. Modding weapons and devices can be a real game changer! Before you enter the next sector, make sure to invest credits in energy core upgrades and more device slots before anything else. Trust us, you’ll thank us later.
You’ve been introduced to hardcore mode, you know what to expect, and we’ve pumped your brain full of tips to survive the onslaught waiting for you. Practice some runs at the hard difficulty to prepare yourselves for the ultimate challenge, or beast it up and jump directly into hardcore mode. Enjoy, and see you on the other side!