Raiders Of The Broken Planet is a 4v1 multiplayer game from MercurySteam, best known for their work on the Castlevania series. It’s a 4vs1 multiplayer action game in which a team of four “Raiders” face off against 1 antagonist. Think Evolve, or the cancelled Fable Legends and you see how well this type of concept is going.
The plotline, at least in the opening Prologue is interesting, set out in deep space, factions fight over a literally broken planet, looking to harvest a resource called Aleph. A sort of wonder material that, can among other things manipulate matter and is a key component of hyperspace travel engines. As usual with these tales, whoever controls the resource, controls the universe.
The Raiders are lead by a character named Harec, he and his team hide out in one of the many fragments of the planet as they desperately try to prevent further destruction to their world by the three warring factions addicted to the Aleph. There are also natives who renounced technology in their past after centuries of war and destruction and instead used the Aleph for healing and other above board purposes until the invaders showed up to strip their world of it all.
I really wanted Raiders of the Broken Planet to be good, it has, aside from the interesting story and lore, got a great look to it, cartoonish but with a gritty overtone, like something Epic Games would put out. The sound design is also solid, the opening score has hints of Star Wars sprinkled in to give the cutscenes a sense of epic sci-fi scale.
A bizarre direction choice seemed to have been made however in some of the cutscenes involving the raiders, quick zooms and camera panning, mixed with lighting fast edits make some of the viewing a labour on the eyes. A steady camera and better-paced edits would have given the backstory setting a more real and immersive feel, instead, we get a purely erratic camera motion that seems to make no sense.
The gameplay too is a bit hectic, being in third person means the player needs to work harder to see the environment, there is little indication that enemies are onto you until they have begun shredding your body with bullets, this is a disadvantage unless you continuously swoop the camera around your character to detect them. Direction within the missions is also lacking a little, a prompt here or there would be handy in the chaos as the enemies come thick and fast.
This isn’t to say it’s all bad though, the point we’re trying to make is that it could be a little more finely tuned and polished as it seems generic in places. For example, two back to back objectives involve defending points on the map from enemy engineers and their armed henchmen, the setting may have changed but the object of the mission was exactly the same and lacked imagination.
From what we played, we gathered that most missions will involve either defending points and characters, fight your way through bad guys to push a button or making a run to a certain point without dying. All of this in a game where the antagonist is controlled by another player seems lacklustre as the objectives are so linear and simple if all the opposing player has to do is stop four other players from hitting a button or defending an objective. There doesn’t seem much point to having a player-controlled enemy without something more unique for them to do would have made this a bit more interesting in our opinion. 4vs1 is a tough concept to pull off and what we saw there wasn’t a huge amount being done to make it stand out and sell the game.
There doesn’t seem much point to having a player-controlled enemy without something more unique for them to do. This would have made the game a bit more interesting in our opinion. 4vs1 is a tough concept to pull off and from what we saw there wasn’t a huge amount being done to make it stand out and sell the game.
The biggest setback for us was the multiplayer missions being player hosted and not on dedicated servers. This caused multiple issues with lag, disconnects and host migration. It’s a pet peeve of mine to have player hosted games still out there when a more robust option is available. It’s hard to really want to play something that could easily be disconnected or lag heavily at any point, it’s a constant axe over the head of the game.
To avoid this you can play solo, however, you don’t have a team of AI, it’s just you against the exact same number of enemies as you would face with three of your buddies to back you up. It goes without saying that this is a much more difficult task and not something you could just kick back and play. Having a less hectic solo mode with an AI squad and no concerns about lag or disconnects would have been a huge bonus.
Overall Raiders of the Broken Planet isn’t a bad game, it has its flaws, sure but with a bit of attention from the devs and their coming updates it could grow into something really quite good, it just needs some edge and identity to really take it forward. For now, it seems a little stunted and awkward but harbours a potential I for one hope to see fulfilled.
Raiders of the Broken Planet is available now in Prologue (Free), Alien Myths (First Mission) or Founders Pack (Full content) editions on Steam, PS4 and Xbox One.