Ryu’s Musings – Fallen: A2P Protocol

Posted on June 20th, 2015 by Ryu Sheng |

fallenTitle: Fallen: A2P Protocol
Developer: Red Katana
Publisher: Red Katana
Format: Steam
Genre: Action, SCIFI, CyberPunk

Synopsis:

A post-apocalyptic, turn based, tactical combat and strategy game where you lead your caravan on a quest for revenge.

In a World saved and destroyed by a new energy source, a quest for revenge will unveil the deepest secret on how it all began to fall apart.

This post is late, very late, in part due to real life throwing a curve, but also because I decided to wait on the developer. My hope was that they would alter some of the elements I’m going to talk about. Sadly I can’t wait any more so these are my thoughts!

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I do need to stress that this is an alpha build, and that the game is ever changing so make sure you bear that in mind. What I’m talking about may and probably will change over time. As such I plan to do several posts on this games, firstly, so as my thoughts stay up to date and new changes are talked and explored as they come out. However, it’s also down to me having some hope for this game.

Although the post I am about to write will be critical of the game, I want to stress that I actually want it to succeed. I think it’s got the potential to be a good game. It has all the elements needed to be successful, it’s now just up to the developers to take those elements and put them together into a solid game.

A2P is dubbed an X-Com like game, I’m not so sure about that, I’m more inclined to say it’s more Jagged Alliance like. I think this a distinction that needed clarifying, since while both Jagged Alliance and X-Com are similar games, they play differently enough to not really be called the same ‘type’.

I’m not sure what to make of this game, since I honestly have no idea what the frag is going on in the game. The game starts and literally throws you into the deep end, with no clarification or history. You’ve no context for the setting, and more importantly, on the characters. Why should I care about my character? What’s so important about him? Why is he a moron?

Took me a little over 7 hours to slog through the game, and damn it was a slog at times, and at the end I was still none the wiser as to what was happening.

Now, as I’ve already said, this is an alpha build, so I expect in the completed game some sort of cut scene or monologue to set the stage. However right now, it needs some sort of splash screen, with a few paragraphs of text setting the scene. Tell me who my character is, what’s going on in the world, and why I’m where I am doing what I’m doing. Basically give the game some context and set the stage a little.

The missions need some variety, as it stands now they all play out the same way. Go on a map, kill everything, which isn’t that fun after a while. Especially since the combat itself feels and looks anaemic. The sound effects and visual effects around the combat are both lacking, leading to a rather lack lustre combat.

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The graphics are not too bad, a little weak, but that’s the limitation of the Unity engine I believe. Though I did find it annoying that you couldn’t actually shelter behind things. You seem to be standing a foot away from what you’re hiding behind, which makes it look like you (or your target) aren’t actually in cover.

I’m not sure if this is an engine issue, in which case there’s nothing to be done. However, if it’s just an art issue, I hope they move the characters closer to the cover. Now granted that’s a small issue, but for me I found it jarring, and actually immersion breaking.

Also tied to the art is the character outlines. It’s hard to build up atmosphere or tension when you know what’s coming, and from who. Normal NPC’s and your team all have a green outline, whereas everything that that’s going to attack you has a red outline. Hard to worry about attacks when you can see who’s going to go hostile! That definitely needs to be removed.

Right now the game isn’t fun (for me) I found it a slog to get through the missions currently available. This is partly due to the above reasons, but also I think due to map size and encounter density. Some of the maps are large, but with very little going on, limited encounters. So you move forward painfully slow and just feel bored. That aspect needs to be addressed in some way.

That said, I do feel that the Developers have the framework for a solid game here. Personally I love games like this and can spend a lot of time on them, however they need to have a solid story to them.

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So the big question is: Is it worth buying? And the answer is: Are you a gambler? Honestly when it comes to early access I’ve learnt to avoid them, yet this game has caught my attention. The developers are active as hell, churning out updates, large and small. They spend time communicating with people and listening to their concerns, and they seem (to me at least) to have a solid road map in mind. What’s more they’re not asking the earth for the game, £10, which is what I spend on lunch every day. What’s more with the Steam summer sale currently running it’s even less. So, YES, it is very worth a gamble on.

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My advice however would be to buy it now, financing the developer, and let it sleep in your library until it hits beta. That’s when, hopefully, most of the issues I have will have been resolved and things will be smoother and make more sense.

 

A huge thanks to the developer for providing me a review copy.

 

Also, as a thank you to the developer and to help promote the game keep an eye on my twitter, as I’ll be doing a stream over on Twitch in the coming few days where I’ll be giving away 5 copies of the game!

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