We recently had the opportunity to play in the closed beta for Raiders of the Broken Planet. Is this new game any good, or worth looking into?
Raiders of the Broke Planet is a new game from the minds behind Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and this isn’t the first time we’ve covered it. What is Raiders of the Broken Planet you say? It’s a new take on the 4v1 genre that has you vying for the most powerful substance in the universe, Aleph. But how does this 3rd person shooter meets combat game stack up in the gameplay department? Does it manage to meld the two together in such a way that’s actually fun, and doesn’t skimp out on either?
Well, there’s the tricky part. Neither main element is bad in any way, they just both sort of feel like they could have more substance. The shooting mechanics are solid enough, and while each Raider feels unique enough so as to have different perks and usefulness on the battlefield. The shooting mechanics are only so different. Which is to be expected, and fair enough. The different classes (characters) all have different style of weapons, and each are useful for different things. However, it’s the lack of combat options that disappointed me.
The hand to hand combat is really where it falls flat. On the plus side, the impact feeling you get when you connect a blow, but there are only 2 buttons with which to attack with, and no combos of any kind. There are base attacks, and a charged grapple ability mapped to a different button that will allow for massive damage and an instant kill. It would be nice if they added more depth to this style of gameplay, as it would diversify it more making it stand out. It’s what had me interested in the first place, and while it’s not bad, it’s just sort of repetitive.
The story of the game all takes place online with other players filling in the roles of the other Raiders, and this area also lacks in diversity. The levels aren’t particularly long, however each section has you doing pretty much the same thing every thing. Either defending a position or item, or pushing forward while waves of enemies spawn until your task is completed. The arenas aren’t massive, but they do provide enough space for the team to spread out, which is nice.
The game is a 4v1 after all, so what about the flipside to our “heroes”? Well, it’s also a mixed bag. You get to play one of the Raiders in this, but he’s gone rogue, so your mission is to stop the other 4 players. You don’t particularly have any specific advantage over them, however with your AI buddies running around with you, it’s quite easy at times to use your grapple move and get that easy 1 hit kill. They game doesn’t point this person out to the 4 players, but it’s almost always evident by the way they play, and their over use of said grapple.
Playing as the “antagonist” is the only way to get a specific currency in the game, but after playing that mode, the allure quickly fades, and I felt myself wanting to play on the “good guys” side more often than not. It’s different from most 4v1 games, but instead of feeling like you’re super overpowered, you just feel like one of a AI baddies, only stronger and smarter.
To be completely fair, the beta only provided 2 levels to play on, and it didn’t seem like the developers handed out many codes. Getting into a match often took upwards of 10 minutes at times. The second level I couldn’t even get into a match since apparently nobody was playing it. Even after sitting in the menu watching the “searching for match” wheel spin for 20+ minutes while I browsed the news on my phone.
All in all, the game has a ton of potential to be really fun. What is in place is quite solid already, I just feel it needs more diversity and options to prevent the experience from getting stale too fast. If they add in more powers, allow for stringing together combos in hand to hand combat, give us more gun options that change up the gameplay, and different styles of missions other than the waves of enemies I can see the game being tons of fun. It’s already got the basics, I think it just needs more time in the oven, a bit more gameplay distinction to change things up once in a while, and the game will be a hit for people who like this genre.
The game is still in beta, and still has a few phases to go before officially launching sometime later this year. Not to mention it’s going to be episodic, with 4 future campaigns to increase content and options. I think Mercury Steam doesn’t have too much to worry about. So long as they listen to the feedback, and make some meaningful changes. For those interested, you can still sign up for future beta access on their site.
We’ll continue to cover Raiders of the Broken Planet through its development, so be sure to check back on future changes.