Betas can be misleading. Destiny’s original beta suggested there was far more content than there was, where as Destiny 2’s beta introduced new problems that weren’t an issue in the final game. In the case of Raiders of the Broken Planet, the beta suggested an interesting idea that falls short. Now that the first level pack has released, is Raiders of the Broken Planet the next big free-to-start game or was the beta more than enough to show it isn’t worth your time?
If you played the beta, then you might be familiar with the first two missions of Alien Myths. The first one is about rescuing Shae from Dr. Kuzmann, with the following one about activating pillars and defeating orbs to save one of the protectors. The other two have you saving the remaining two protectors and start the story.
Once all three protectors are safe, Alien Myths ends with an ominous to be continued. Judging by the names of the remaining three packs in the 2017 season, there will be a turn, followed by a betrayal and finally a climatic showdown with the council. This is all speculation, as there isn’t much of a story to latch onto.
Alien Myths feels more like an introduction to the world of Raiders of the Broken Planet, than a chapter itself. Considering this is a free-to-start game, with the first two missions being part of the beta, it leaves this DLC pack in a weird place. Fans of the series get about half of what is already a small expansion, with newcomers getting very little to sink their teeth into.
These problems aside, Alien Myths does a poor job of selling the world of Raiders of the Broken Planet. First and foremost, the matchmaking system is either really bad or there are very few players, with both possibly being true. The leaderboard suggests that in two days there are less than 10,000 players, which may or may not include people who tried the free version, which is extremely low. On average matchmaking takes a couple of minutes, with rooms disbanding if anyone is not ready when you finally do get a match.
Once a game starts the other problems start to show. First and foremost, there is a limit of one character per match, with only five to six options. So, even if you can’t play as certain characters, your options are to deal with it, hope someone switches or leave. This can be a massive problem as certain characters are much easier and more enjoyable to play than others.
The missions themselves are part objective and part fighting enemies. Some of them, like the boss at the end of Alien Myths, starts to move into mechanics like you’d find in Destiny or The Elder Scrolls Online, which paint an optimistic picture for the franchises future, even if the present isn’t that great. Most times you’ll be beating up enemies, getting a resource and then depositing it to progress. A few mission change it up, though most play out like this.
In addition to doing PVE, it’s possible to play as the antagonist. This increases the loot for PVE players, as now missions include a human controlled enemy that wants to stop you from progressing. Playing as the antagonist is a fun change of pace, as you’ll often dominate enemies you get the drop on, at the cost of getting dominated by anyone who sees you coming.
After a match rewards are distributed, which is one of the worst mechanics. Unlike most games, prizes are distributed by what people want. So if you pick gold, you’ll receive all the gold from that mission, unless someone else picks it, which result in both players getting half. It’s possible for all four players to pick the same thing, though most times people will go for the larger payout.
The goal of most players aren’t the normal rewards, but the occasional schematics. Every mission has a couple of possible drops, which may or may not end up as a reward. Unlike the other rewards, only one person can get the schematic, so if two or more players pick it, one will get it and the rest will receive nothing. It’s a frustrating way to progress, if only because it requires a lot of RNG and makes little difference in the grand scheme.
This is especially annoying when you consider how big the grind is and how few options players get. With the first expansion, there are a total of five stages, the ability to pick the antagonist and a mission that has to be soloed. Even if you get the coveted schematic, you’ll still need 5,000+ cash, something that requires around five successful missions to obtain and antagonist rank. This means multiple missions, as the antagonist, just to get a new weapon, after however many missions to get said weapon. It’s a vicious cycle that could easily be solved by having more options.
Raiders of the Broken Planet has the potential to be a lot of fun, though it’s quite honestly one of the worst experiences I’ve had this year. Limited options and a high introductory price is a poor combo, especially when so many things rely on RNG. When you figure getting the character you want, along with the rewards or any reward relies on luck and/or the choices of others, it’s hard to get into it. Combine this with a small fan base and it’s hard to get behind the concept. Ideally later expansions will bring more to the table, but in its current form, it’s just not worth the time.
[Editor’s Note: Raiders of the Broken Planet – Alien Myths was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]