Raiders of the Broken Planet is a third-person shooter with an emphasis on cooperative play. You and up to three other players team up to complete a series of objectives across a full-fledged campaign. What makes Raiders different is its “antagonist system,” wherein an additional fifth player can invade and work alongside the AI to stop you and your team from completing their mission. The E3 demo didn’t have multiplayer enabled, however, so I wasn’t able to see that particular element in action.
The mission I played tasked me with helping a fugitive escape from his prison. The first stage began as a simple case of defense. The target’s cell stood suspended in the air, held by chains that the enemy sought to destroy, thus sending him to his death. My job was to protect him while one of my comrades moved him to a safe position.
An easy enough task on paper, but actually quite difficult in practice. Enemies poured into the hanger from all directions, focusing their fire on the suspended cage. For the first couple minutes, I was able to hold them off easily. They attacked in manageable numbers, spread just far enough around the area that I didn’t have to worry about being overwhelmed. Then they suddenly began spawning in greater numbers and I found myself unable to keep up. I ran through all three of my lives very quickly.
Raiders of the Broken Planet is hard as a single-player game. In its current form, it’s difficult to handle the constant waves of gunmen while also doing whatever your current objective asks of you. Not impossible, but often overwhelming, particularly during the later stages of the demo. Granted, I was partially at fault for playing too aggressively (as per the character’s play-style), but still. Game director Enric Alvarez told me they’ll be adding a difficulty slider in the final game, thankfully, as feedback they received from their closed beta had similar criticisms about the game’s difficulty level.
After my first attempt at the demo level was a failure, I gave it another shot and tried to be a bit more careful. I’m told if I make sure to not move or shoot too much, I can avoid detection, as running and shooting build up a bar that highlights your position. The tip paid off, as I was able to survive with ease thanks to smart application of that knowledge. I’m able to get the drop on adversaries and make better use of cover. Since the enemy was focused on the cell, with a bit of patience, I hid behind cover and waited for them to come into view to take them down with ease, the enemy never quite knowing where I was. Soon enough, I had the first part of the mission finished with time to spare.
As the second part of the mission began, I felt myself getting more into the game’s rhythm. It’s third-person shooter/brawler blueprint starts to coalesce, with jumping between shooting and punching foes feeling more natural as I progress through the level. The objective in this second stage is to make my way to some turrets to shoot down enemy ships. The space is larger than the previous stage, giving me more options for cover and a bit more time between enemy spawns so I can work on completing the objective with ease.
With the enemy aircrafts down, it’s time to move to the third stage of the mission. This time I have to destroy some generators. Only instead of contending with the usual waves of gunmen, I have a single, much more powerful unit to deal with. I try sneaking around at first, seeing if I can reach the objectives without him noticing me. It works; until I open fire on the generator and he suddenly runs up behind me and kills me with a single punch. I try to take another crack at it, but I end up being spotted immediately and die just as quickly once more, losing my last life and bringing the demo to a close.
Raiders of the Broken Planet feels like a solid shooter, overall. I feel like its multiplayer component – the antagonist system, especially – will be what makes it interesting. Kind of a shame they weren’t able to demonstrate that system on the show floor, but if the game makes good on such promising ideas, it could very well turn out to be worth your while.
Raiders of the Broken Planet is set for release sometime this year on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’s currently performing regular closed beta tests, which you can sign up for on the game’s website.