The Raiders Are Back and Better Than Ever
Mercurysteam has been hard at work at what is clearly a passion project for them, serving up the latest campaign for their co-op-focused shooter Raiders of The Broken Planet. Hades Betrayal brings a massive overhaul to the game as a whole, and with this new content, and all of these new changes, it’s clear that Mercurysteam is focused on putting out a quality product with Raiders Of The Broken Planet: Hades Betrayal. Between the creative as hell characters, the satisfying combat, and the overall aesthetic of the game, there is a lot to like about Raiders of The Broken Planet. The massive overhaul that Mercurysteam has put into motion also shows there’s no better time than now to jump into this unique experience.
The general gist of the story, for the uninitiated, is that Harec, an inhabitant of the planet, is banding together a group to help push back the unwelcome visitors who’ve come to his planet to steal as much of the near-omnipotent resource Aleph. This energy draws attention from all sorts of undesirables, including the Hades Division. The story in Hades Betrayal is solid, with some standout characters coming into the spotlight as well, such as Schneider (any chance of him being playable in the future, MercurySteam?). Harec wants Ayana to join his band of no-goodniks, and through some really questionable plans and general ass-hattery they eventually manage to convince her to join. Ayana’s an excellent addition to the Raiders, having one of the more interesting combinations of weaponry and unique skills. This happens to make her a real treat to play as she comes packing a “mortar rifle” which is essentially a proximity mine launcher. She also has the unique ability to use a winch to render enemies defenseless, allowing you to buy a bit of a breather, or help get them off your buddies back. I, unfortunately, didn’t get too many chances to try her out in multiplayer, but her playstyle would be quite welcome in any team, regardless of the combinations that may get cooked up.
The Power of Progression
MercurySteam has paid special attention to a huge gripe that many have had with Raiders Of The Broken Planet, in that the lack of a true progression system lead to much disappointment. Mercurysteam has instead made it so there is a brand new system, rife with character customization, loadouts, and all sorts of ways to tweak your Raiders according to your playstyle. I could focus on dealing heavy damage to elite enemies, or turning into a crit-machine, to touch on a few examples. Some ways obviously appear to be objectively better than others, but the added freedom is a very nice change for both veterans, as well as those who choose to step into the game. The game as a whole just pops visually, too. The Broken Planet feels downright massive at times, with well-designed enemies, characters and stages all serving to help put together a real visual treat.
The game, like its Raiders, are a little rough around the edges though. The melee combat follows a simple “Rock-Paper-Scissors” approach, with quick jabs/kicks, fatal grabs, and evasion all coming into play. The chaotic nature of the games shootouts leads it to be a little tough to focus on the visual cues needed to take advantage of this though, so at times when I was focusing on an admittedly large boss, I had gotten grabbed from behind and immediately killed more times than I felt were fair. This isn’t F.E.A.R levels of AI, where you genuinely felt outsmarted. The swarming tactics of the Hades Division just felt unfair at times, with some situations seeming to have a near endless gauntlet of enemies.This only gets amplified if you have nobody to play with, as Solo play feels like a huge chore compared to have people watching your back.
When attempting missions on solo mode, I was overwhelmed. Some of the missions were incredibly hectic, with me juggling an unconscious hacker, sentient landmines, and wave after wave of enemies. Tackling this all alone was no small feat, and while it did feel good to finish the mission, the struggle was admittedly, too real.
Best With A Friend
It’s a shame that the solo experience feels so lacking in comparison to the multiplayer one, as the few times I got to enjoy the co-op gameplay were admittedly great, and I could see this being a genuinely fun game to sink some serious time into with friends. Mixing and matching squad combinations helped keep things fresh, presenting new ways to approach the various objectives of Hades Betrayal. The amount of effort that has been put into each character is apparent and serves as a reminder that MercurySteam is a capable studio as a whole. The competitive aspect also comes into play with you choosing what end of mission rewards to roll for. You could either end up winning big with blueprints or going home empty-handed (while still reeling in gold and experience).
I feel like MercurySteam came just short of the mark, in this case. They have made massive steps towards turning Raiders of The Broken Planet into an excellent product, and with further fine-tuning in the next planned expansion, they have a real chance to put the proverbial cherry on top and make the entire overall experience a co-op game worthy of being played in co-op or as a standalone person. As it stands, I can’t say that I’d recommend sinking too much time into Raiders if you don’t have people to play with, but that could very well change with the sheer amount of effort MercurySteam puts into revisions of Raiders of The Broken Planet.
***A PS4 review key was provided by the publisher***
- Bombastic characters
- Nice mission variety
- Overhauled Progression
- Solo feels unbalanced
- Hard to find games
- Unfair AI at times