THE PROTAGONIST: EX-1 – Early Access Preview

From the Canadian 3MindGames studio comes the protagonist: A sci-fi turn-based tactical RPG. You play Angel, who wakes up in an unknown alien spaceship without recent memories. Fortunately, Pilot will contact you, and he will guide you through the spaceship to escape from them and to found your lost squad members.

Exploring the aliens’ installations

During the adventure, you will have to explore the alien ship. There, you will have to find your teammates, fight enemies, solve puzzles to advance and explore alternative routes to obtain useful items or data (the game’s collectable). Angel has hacking capacities, and they will be necessary for moving for the different parts of the enemy territory. If you want, you can activate a light, called Pilot’s light, which will guide you over which way to walk, but a little sidetracking will give you extra rewards and will be necessary to resolve some puzzles. The camera is isometric, but you can zoom in or out when you want and rotate it. Then, at combats, you can move it too.

Puzzles will be everywhere, and you will have to solve them to advance

In some moments of the journey, you will have to make some decisions; these will have their consequences in different ways. For example, some decisions lead you to secondary missions.

Battle against the aliens

The battle system is tactical turn-based. You move through the scenario in the classic grid. Different actions are available, and every action consumes action points (AP). You can move your characters, attack your enemies with your melee or ranged weapons, using the martial arts system or using some support abilities, like healing or buffing. Also, you can delay your turn.

In the turn order bar, you can select where do you want to delay your turn. This function is useful because sometimes at the start of the battles there won’t be enemies in a short-range, but after they move and attack you, they can be on the range to use your melee or martial arts skills to finish them.

Of course, if you prefer you can start attacking with your long-ranged weapons or even mix both strategies, use a couple of AP with a long-range attack, delay your turn, and then consume the rest of our AP with short-range attacks. There are more options like hacking your enemies if the character has the skill, but it’s up to you how to manage the battles.

Here is the first fight, Angel has an interesting set of actions from the start, and it is expandable

The martial arts system consumes 1 AP, but it has its points system. You can select among different attacks (punches, knees, elbows and kicks), with different strength (light, medium or heavy), which consume the martial points. You can create devastating combos if you have enough martial points. Besides, every main character has a special combo, which will be usable after filling a gauge with martial arts attacks. Levelling up certain stats will grant you more martial points to spend.

Finally, in this section, some combats are optional, you can fight some extra enemies to obtain more scrap or avoid combat against others if you don’t see a clear victory.

Managing your squad

You start with the protagonist, Angel, skilled in leadership and hacking. After a few minutes, Radical joins your team, a melee fighter who likes knives. During your adventure, you will recruit other characters. Some characters have their role in the story, they know Angel from before, and they have specific classes. Aside from them, there are common soldiers, to which you can select their classes.
In a start, you can make them medics, engineers, infantry or hackers, but you will unlock new classes advancing thought the story. The initial squad size is four members, upgradeable to six members, depending on the leadership skill of your characters. Also, you have to split your team into two squads to solve some puzzles, which sometimes involves combat, so every help is required.

Here is Taka, the Demolition expert (AKA Heavy Infantry). After finding him, you can create heavy infantry soldiers too

When you level up, every member of the team receive stats and skill points, you can put them as you want, having a lot of customization options. Determined points distributions will favour determined classes, like giving more accuracy or handgun proficiency to one large-range damager, life point to your tank or strength to your main melee damage dealer.

Crafting and Equipping

Crafting is part of the core game. You can create weapons, armour, shields, implants and items. To do it you need the schematic, which you will obtain during your gameplay, and scrap, the game currency. You will get some schematics during the story, but the majority requires extra exploration. For creating a weapon or a shield do you need the weapon/shield schematic and the type of damage (or resistance) blueprint, like electric or slashing. Other items like armours just require the item schematic.
Every character can equip two weapons, four items and various shields and implants. These improve the character’s stats, being the first received the one which strengths the accuracy.

You can craft a lot of stuff for your team

Graphics, Soundtrack & Other stuff

The graphics are great, the characters are well recreated, and they have interesting backgrounds. The soundtrack is good, and it accompanies well the gameplay experience. The game has tons of checkpoints, so if you lose a fight you will probably load a game just before this battle. Also, you can do manual saves.

Playing the game, I experienced one important issue, related to the save and load function. After solving a puzzle, I save the game and quit it. Sometime after, I load the game, and I was stuck in a place without an exit because I unlocked it after solving the puzzle, but I couldn’t do it again, so I could not advance. It happened to me twice, so my recommendation is to save manually before puzzles for the case.

Currently, the developers are compiling the bugs and fixing them, so I suppose that it will be a matter of time. Besides, they inform that more missions will come to give an end to the story. The game looks very promising, and if they fix properly the bugs, it can be one of the important releases of the year. Let’s see the evolution of the game.

Written by
PhD in the wrong country | Dad | Lover | Always available for a good talk | Old School Member | Gamer since I was 4. Turn-based system is my favourite system for games. My favourite genres are turn-based RPGs, turn-based strategy, Point & Click adventures and Fighting games.

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