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Raiders Of The Broken Planet is an online action-adventure game developed by MercurySteam, who worked on Castlevania: lords of Shadow before. Following a group of Raiders who fight back against those who would destroy their people. Fighting for freedom with guns, fists and special powers, you will play through several levels in this 4V1 game, akin to the versus mode of Left 4 Dead.

Story

The game starts us off with a little introduction to our setting, a broken planet on the far reaches of the universe. Humans were trapped here and soon broke off into factions, fighting amongst themselves for control over Aleph, a powerful energy source, to power machines and even bring back the dead with this games version of respawns. Harec, the leader, will bring together miscreants, criminals and machines to help him gather new allies, all the while fighting back against invaders.

The beta itself only gave access to 3 missions, a basic prologue tutorial with Harec, the next to infiltrate an airship to save a crazed man and the last to attack some ruins to save yet another member of your team. The 3 levels are rather short, the last only containing 2 areas, completing them all within 1-2 hours of gametime. You can also select to fight as an Antagonist, to fight the 4 player team and stop their progress into the last 2 missions.

Gameplay

Raiders is setup as an asymmetric game, with the levels designed for the player party to spawn in 1 place, the antagonist in up to 7 others. The game splits your combat between firing your guns to brawling with enemies in close range, as each character has a set amount of ammunition, and to gain more you must melee enemies to pick up their ammo, forcing players to dip their toes into both sides of gameplay. Shooting is rather simple, Aim, shoot, brawling follows a rock-paper-scissors approach, you can throw a punch, dodge or grab, punches stop grabs, grabs stop dodges and dodges escape punches.

Besides the normal combat, Raiders brings with it a selection of “classes” in the form of characters. Harec is a typical sniper, while aiming his shot will charge for 3x damage, he can also teleport to surfaces and turn into a shade that hangs there, allowing him to shoot whilst in stealth. Lycus is your brawler, with a shotgun for close range attacks, a shield that defends after bullets and fast movement combined with fast melee. With 16 characters in total, at least shown as hexagons in the beta, there should be a character to fill any role.

As stated before, the missions themselves are rather short, containing mostly defence rooms where you need to wait for a door to open or for your ship to pick you up. This style of gameplay becomes repetitive quite quickly, an Antagonist can mix this up a bit but only really adds to the difficulty. There is little replayability to be had with the levels as they are right now, besides the grind for new items, money and character advancement points that all work to improve your characters.

Raiders feel designed heavily for controllers, from the setup of brawling and gunfire along with Shift and CTRL being used for dodge and power. It felt rather odd to play with a keyboard, trying out the gamepad first felt much smoother. Thankfully this does fade with use, the main annoyance with the controller is the aiming speed which the mouse can fix in any game.

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Overall thoughts and feelings

It is hard to comment on the soundtrack as of yet, with only 2 real levels to playthrough. There isn’t much on offer, but I didn’t really notice the music at all, falling into the background like many other shooter or multiplayer games. The theme of sci-fi western that the trailer gave off doesn’t really follow into the game itself, seemingly more of a gimmick than a real representation. The sound effects right now are great, powerful guns and explosions all around which add to the gameplay immensely. Voice acting is alright, with some varying speech styles and accents, with no real annoying voice to be found as of yet.

The game itself doesn’t feel too difficult as there is plenty of cover to hide behind along with the AI doing the same. When you are killed you still have up to 12 more lives to use, with more Aleph being collected when you run out, forcing you into a sudden-death situation. The antagonist is what makes up the difficulty, as they can one-shot you with a grab or decimate your team with other brawling tactics. As of now, an antagonist doesn’t add any additional reward, at least prominently, which is a poor move. The added difficulty of the antagonist should increase rewards given, as they can be the difference between an easy run or an outright unwinnable one.

While there isn’t much to say about matchmaking, with the balance of loot and levels not clearly shown on entry, there is a lot to say about the connection. While in-game I noticed no lag at all, but most of my concerns are that with connectivity and speed of getting into games. Playing as Raiders takes up to 5 minutes sometimes, while playing as an antagonist can take up to 10 minutes. Besides the wait, the matchmaking will disable itself if it takes too long, kicks you out if someone leaves the group mid-matchmaking and can glitch out in other ways.

From what the Beta had to offer, Raiders Of The Broken Planet feels too weak of a game to warrant a purchase on release. With seemingly repetitive defence missions there isn’t much on offer in terms of gameplay. With 4 campaigns in the work it might prove to be more unique and varied, but sadly the little amount of the game on offer in the beta doesn’t instill too much hope. There wasn’t any lag but the connection was a major issue, with disconnects and up to 10 minutes of waiting to play as an antagonist. I didn’t think I would have compared a game’s matchmaking to that of For Honor’s so quickly.

Check out the website: http://www.raidersofthebrokenplanet.com
Sign up for the closed beta: https://www.mercurysteam.com/raiders-of-the-broken-planet/beta

View the 4 Divided by 1 Trailer:

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Computer Games Design Graduate from Staffordshire University with Animation and Motion Capture as my main subject. I am a neutralist both in world views and people, everyone and everything is equal. If sexism comes up in a game I will weigh it based on the themes at play and the story implications it has. Not afraid to give harsh criticism. Graphics and technology don't make the game, it's the gameplay that makes the game. Favourite Genres: RPG, Adventure, Action. Favourite Games: Joint 1. Final Fantasy VII (PS1) Joint 1. Jade Cocoon (PS1) 3. Persona 3 (PS2) 4. Tales Of Vesperia (X360) 5. Dragons Dogma (X360)

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