Escalation is an expansion pack for Ashes of the Singularity. Ashes of the Singularity is an economic simulation strategy game from the makers of Civilization 4.
However, you do not have to have Ashes of the Singularity to play Escalation. It is a super-set of what is in Ashes of the Singularity. If you already have the base game, make sure Escalation shows you the discounted price. Escalation does not replace Ashes of the Singularity (both are updated simultaneously). Any DLC you purchased from the base game will continue to work in Escalation.
Escalation is a massive scale real-time PC strategy game that requires Windows 7, 8, or 10 with 2GB video memory, DirectX 11 or DirectX12, 4 CPU cores. There are 12 new missions that further chronicle the story of Ashes of the Singularity. In Campaign 1, Memories, the events from Imminent Crisis are shown from Haalee’s perspective, and reasons behind the birth of the Substrate are revealed. Escalation, the second campaign, sees the PHC struggle to fight the Substrate threat while internal rebellions threaten to break them apart.
The gameplay sees you waging wars with more than a dozen players at once. Features include strategic zoom, where you can zoom out and the map changes to a new strategic map that showcases the entire battlefield. The Substrate uses a new economic system that keeps them from wasting resources, and they have unlimited storage. Game options also allow you to configure the world that you want to play on. There are 9 new map option sliders in both single player and multiplayer games.
There are also new orbital abilities such as orbital jam (Substrate/PHC) which protects a large radial area from orbital abilities for a short time, Sapper (PHC), which can be inserted anywhere you have vision an builds small turrets that can harass or entrap enemy forces, and Sabateur (Substrate) which can be inserted anywhere you have vision, and it specializes in destroying buildings.
The New Worlds include Crystal Worlds, Lava Worlds, a huge map size, multi-tier terrain, and dynamic weather. New structures and defenses include Barrager (PHC), Oblivion (PHC), Disruptor Cannon (Substrate), Pulverizer (Substrate) and many more, which you can read about in detail in the forum post.
And finally, new units include Hera (PHC), Instigator (PHC), Marauder (PHC), Strategic Bomber (PHC), Charon (PHC), Mobile Nullifier (PHC and Substrate), Caregiver (Substrate), Harbringer (Substrate), Harvester (Substrate), Masochist (Substrate), Rampager (Substrate). You can read about them in detail via the link above.