It's hard to fight off a ship-wide invasion without at least a little protection. Forutunately for survivors aboard the Von Braun, there's a wide variety of armor types available, which should suit just about every character, from newbies with low stats, to the bulkiest space marine. Below you'll find a list of all of these, a description of each type of armor, and evaluations.
|Light Combat Armor
|Description: Provides +20% defense bonus. Requires Strength level 2.
|Assessment: Light Combat Armor requires very little in the way of stats to equip, and will be the first armor type you stumble across, likely in MedSci. Unless you've got no strength when starting the game, equipping this armor is a no-brainer, and it will help keep you alive in the early stages when you're still doing a lot of melee combat.
|Standard Combat Armor
|Description: Provides +30% defense bonus. Requires Strength level 4.
|Assessment: You'll likely run into Standard Combat Armor around Hydroponics. While it provides a decent amount of protection, the extra 2 Strength for only a 10% increase is a bit of a wash, especially when the Powered Armor is available around the same time. Unless you don't want to keep charging your armor up, the Standard Combat Armor is a temporary solution at best.
|Heavy Combat Armor
|Description: Provides +40% defense bonus. Requires Strength level 6.
|Assessment: The Heavy Combat Armor is an interesting proposition. Found around Recreation, it's got the highest Strength requirement of any armor, but provides 40% damage reduction, without the need for charging like the Powered Armor. If you don't want to keep running back to Recharging Stations, or don't have Electron Cascade available, this is your best choice in protection.
|Description: Provides +50% defense bonus. Requires Strength level 3, and power source (drains 1% every 5 seconds).
|Assessment: While the Powered Armor initially sounds like an annoyance when you find it during Hydroponics, with a rather fast rate of energy consumption, it's not as bad you'd think. Considering the frequency of Recharging Stations in all but the latest parts of the game, and the availability of Portable Batteries, to speak nothing of Electron Cascade, you'll have a large number of options in keeping it charged. Additionally, the Powered Armor can store up to 160% charge with the Maintenance skill, meaning combat-oriented characters are probably going to have even fewer problems keeping it going. Unless you really don't like being tethered to a wall socket, the Powered Armor will probably be with you for the majority of the game.
|Description: Radiation and toxin resistance +75%. No minimum requirements.
|Assessment: Far and away one of the most useful armors in the game. You'll first find one in Engineering, quite appropriately, as much of the area is contaminated with radiation. Equip it either in hazardous environments or when coming up against enemies like Annelid Arachnids. It takes up four inventory slots, but they're well-used. Only skip this if you plan on using Psi to protect you from hazards... or lots of hypos.
|Description: Provides +20% defense bonus, +30% radiation and toxin resistance, and +2 Psi level. Requires 3 Research (Technetium (Tc), Hassium (Hs)), drains Psi Points when in use.
|Assessment: The WormSkin Armor, like many of the Annelid items, is a bit more of a curiosity than genuinely useful, appearing near the endgame on the Rickebacker. While it may sound good on paper, the fact is that it doesn't provide enough protection from any one thing to be truly effective. Even when taking the +2 Psi into account, you'll have to make up for that with the level 3 Research required, the time and materials needed, and the Psi Hypos necessary to offset its drain on you. Unless you really can't sacrifice the inventory space for two separate suits, or just have to have the free +2 Psi, skip this and stick to the Heavy Combat Armor or Powered Armor, plus the Hazard Suit.