1.0 Early game play feedback

I’ve found the time to play through the tutorial missions and then into the early game. Whilst I’ve been following PP since it was announced, I’ve only played one or two missions with each Backer Build release as I’ve not wanted to spoil the game for myself. To which I’m hopefully giving feedback here from the PoV of someone with knowledge of the game, but who is inexperienced in playing it so far:

First impressions of the tutorial is that it feels very bare bones, with hindsight I probably didn’t need to play through it, especially after having played backer builds, but I thought I’d give it a go to see what was new since BB5 and to be able to give feedback. I didn’t think it especially did anything wrong, but I did find it somewhat bland. I completed mission 1, and 2, and then quit the game, in part this was because I didn’t feel in anyway hooked by the experience, I wasn’t giving any kind of ‘just one more mission’ type of feel, but in fairness I also had other stuff on irl.

I think you were also a bit unlucky in terms of release date in that it was right bang in the middle of a Steam sale, for me personally I’d bought two other games off of steam in same day or two that PP came out, my habit in this case it to give a each game a couple of hour to see what, if anything, I might want to refund whilst I still can. I played PP first, gave it a couple of hours, gave a 2nd game a couple of hours, and then got properly hooked to the 3rd game for the best part of the next week. I was waiting for the first patch of PP to hit having read other players’ experiences on the forum, and hoping in particular that I’d soon be able to redefine keys, but I also just did not get any urge or desire to want to go back into PP.

So anyway, this weekend I came back to PP with a bit of time to try get the game proper started, I polished off the 3rd tutorial, and then went into my 1st scavenging mission… or so I thought, what I actually did was answer a blind multiple choice about searching or playing on a football pitch, gained some resources after picking what felt like an arbitrary choice, and then got to fly somewhere else. So okay, I know that other people are liking the writing within the game, and maybe it’s a different perspective having played Chaos Reborn, but what is the difference between that encounter, and the encounters that were placed in realms within Chaos Reborn? Is there some consequence that is going to come back later as a result of my making that decision, did I miss something about the encounter that meant that I should have picked one of the available options? Or are these encounters just going to be pot luck A or B each time until players learn the potential outcomes for each choice and/or look them up online somewhere? I’m prepared to accept that I haven’t given PP enough time to resolve any potential long-term outcomes for me, but my gut reaction, having seen the same setup in CR, was to think that this going to be all pot luck.

Going back to the tutorial for a moment, the AI is still far more interested in attacking crates than going for PP troops. What is the reason for this beyond the AI being programmed to prioritise that way? I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’m not at all interested in the background lore behind the game, so if it’s explained there then I’m one of those player who will never read that reason. I will read what is in game, and I didn’t see any reason give for the AI prioritising resource crates there. I also don’t understand why all resources across the globe are being stored in these identical looking resource containers, I think the game would be far more immersive to find resources as they lie naturally within their surroundings i.e.; food in fridge/larder, tech in machine that can be stripped or laying in a junk pile.

Anyway, that AI behaviour serves to lull the player into feeling that PP is going to be far easier than it is. I finished off that 3rd tutorial with little difficulty, gained a bit of experience, did the pop question scavenging mission above, and then moved onto a haven where I was given a task to take down some rogue troops. And this is the point where IMHO PP should have been really taking off as a game (it should be taking off on that 3rd tutorial if the AI had any sense in its behaviours, but I can take a tutorial going easy on the new player). Facing other human troops was a whole different experience, and as I say this should have been the real kick off point of the game, however, I lost one guy during the mission. Something which I wouldn’t care about at all, or even feel actively encouraged to do better by if it weren’t for the fact that:

  • I lost him as a result of return fire whilst he was stood in full cover, and the solider firing back at him was stood completely open in the middle of a room (my guy was actually finished by a 2nd soldier bursting into the room during the AIs turn, but he was already bleeding out by that point.
    *In total the AI solider died from 3 attacks, 2 from the guy who took return fire, and then 1 from a second of my soldiers who finished him off. My own guy died from 3 attacks, the 2 return fires, and then the AI attack from the next turn. 3 attacks = a kill is fine if someone is in the open, but when behind full cover the same shouldn’t hold true, it felt like cover did nothing at all for me.
  • I currently have no means of replacing him as I haven’t completed research to allow me to recruit additional troops yet, and I know from BB5/forum discussion that the cost of replacing him will be prohibitively high.

I’m not prepared to save-scum, but I’m also not prepared to accept that I’m going to be playing a game from here on in where I’ll need to either make illogical moves (not firing at someone who is completely open) or exploit the system (perks like dash).

I hope that return fire and cover both get ‘fixed’ within the game, but if not, you absolutely need to show how these two mechanics work during the tutorial missions, don’t leave it until mission 1 proper where you’ll have set a player expectation of the game being too easy if they’ve played those tutorials to then slap them in the face with a new mechanic and with no forewarning during mission 1.

Beyond that I still struggle a bit with the graphics; I’m often looking at things on the map and finding it hard to visually identify what it is (which is which of my own troops, what the enemy type is, routes up and down buildings - the free camera option is good there though one you find it) and I find the class symbols over my own troops pretty useless when I have more than one of a given troop type (why not show their call sign or something else? Make it a unique identifier).

I can appreciate that for whatever reason that PP has released early, that’s certainly what players seem to be feeling. I can also appreciate that that by choice or contractual reasons that you’re not wanting to give any reason, confirmation, or contradiction of that thought. So I’ll watch what happens from here on it. But until the game is patched and balanced I don’t really want to play a great deal further at the moment, the game isn’t terrible, but as I said above it’s also not hooking me, and I can’t come to terms with some of the core design choices as they presently stand.

This probably sounds like bad feedback overall, but I am liking the game setup as a whole. I’m just trying to give the feedback that is useful to hopefully let you improve it, but I do overall want to be able to play PP if/when it’s patched up, and I’ll give it another go as those patches happen. Sound is fine. I like the concept and atmosphere of the game, and it’s playing playing smoothly for me on best graphics setting, I’m not experiencing bugs.