Disclaimer: This playthrough is based on the PS4 version of the game. This copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a fun, space-combat adventure with nice looking graphics and a captivating storyline. From the start, I liked the crew of characters in the game, but was sad that I only got to see them in cutscenes or the times they popped up on my screen to tell me about missions and places I may be close to on a planet. It’s a fun game, but can also be challenging and just plain infuriating at points. However, it’s mostly a stress-free, straightforward game and is nice to pick-up when you need a breather or are looking for something fun and unique.
Always starship combat
One aspect that was cool about this game is that you are always in a starship. This means you rarely get to see your character, but it’s really fun to fly around and interact with things while being inside of your little ship. One of my favorite parts was the customization. I don’t think you could ever be tired of the possibilities of how you can modify your ship. There are so many mods to collect, and I like that you can switch weapons at any time. That can be very useful, especially when coming up against a powerful enemy. What’s really nice is that the game tells you which weapons are most useful against an enemy and if you already have it equipped. If you don’t, you can easily go in and change things around, which really helps. Trust me.
One downside to starship combat is the actual in-space combat. The in-space combat is probably what I like least about this game because of how unnecessarily difficult it is. I struggled a lot with defeating enemies while in orbit, and it never seemed to get easier, no matter how powerful my weapon and ship mods were. It was clunky and didn’t really work for me. I avoided it when possible and died a lot when I was forced to do it to progress the story. The enemy ships appeared to be fluid and still powerful, but that was not the case for me and mine. I really did not like this part of the game.
On-planet spaceship combat was a lot of fun and easy for the most part. I don’t know what was happening, but I repeatedly had an issue during fighting where my camera would turn behind me. I couldn’t figure out what was happening, but it happened in almost every battle, so it did make things a little difficult. There were also times when combat got hard because a lot of enemies would spawn, making things harder especially for a single player. I died a lot, because of everyone and everything in the area shooting at only you, which is incredibly frustrating, but it didn’t take away from the game. I did like that when one ship is destroyed, you could choose to continue on with another ship. This basically gave you five chances to complete a combat mission, which I was thankful for because at times you need them.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas did not do a good job of explaining the controls. They mentioned a few of the main controls, but it landed mostly on the player to figure them out on their own. I honestly discovered how to use my power move (which I had used by accident earlier in the game) about halfway through the story. I think it could have done a better job with just explaining what each button does because it does take a while to get used to them all.
Another main issue was the leveling system, because it doesn’t make sense. You gain experience after every mission (at least) and the experience bar flashes briefly. If you’re like me, you’re not paying attention and miss it almost every time. There is no other place to see your progress toward reaching the next level. Also, the only way you can see your level is not in the menu but in a little box in the bottom left hand corner of the screen which easily gets lost. Also, I was mostly focusing on the story and eventually came across a really hard battle where I kept dying. After multiple casualties, I realized I was fighting a level fifteen boss at level six. I highly recommend doing side quests, because the story does not level you up as much as you need to be.
There were also times when I’d be doing the main campaign, and it would want me to build or make something. It does not do a good job of telling you where those things can be found. My longest missions in the campaign were where I had to craft an item or build an observatory, because I had no clue how to do it and had to go through my menu multiple times to figure it out. I feel like some objectives could be explained a lot better because, as a beginner, I literally had no clue and got so frustrated trying to figure them out. I do kind of like the building aspect of this game because it adds another element and makes it more fun. I also really like the bots that help you, but you have to repair them a lot if they decide to assist in combat.
A need to complete
The story progresses rather quickly and can be challenging if the player doesn’t upgrade their gear. I liked that I was always getting new mods so my ship changed constantly. Though the linear story progresses quickly, I liked when the game gives you time to level up and protect the planets on your own. It made the game so much more fun. The story and cutscenes were beautiful. It will tug at your heartstrings, but it also motivates the player to finish the game. I really enjoyed how unique the characters were, and I loved seeing them put in different situations. They had to overcome a lot, but I think that made me grow attached to them, which is nice to see in a video game.
Oh my goodness, the ending was beautiful and amazing. It had high stakes, and the final mission wasn’t easy. Starlink: Battle for Atlas makes it so easy to get into the story, which makes the overall experience better. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to make it through the various levels of the ending sequence without dying, which is a feat for me. I loved how each level got harder and harder and it made you think to develop a strategy. You couldn’t just go in blind or shoot randomly, you have to have a method to your madness. I loved how it ended, and I loved the hook it threw in after the credits to keep the player playing. The story may be short, but there is definitely other content to keep you occupied once it is complete.
Overall, there were some faults with this game, mainly just the game making things confusing for the player. Once you figure it all out, it is a blast to play. I don’t know about multiple playthroughs, but I’ll continue playing because this game makes me want to. There are quite a few planets to explore, so the game doesn’t just stop once it ends. I loved the graphics and how they added to the entire feel of the game. The characters were unique and it is interesting to play all of them since they all have their own quirks. The music added to the game and helped raise the stakes at points. I recommend playing this game, but you’ll have to stick to it when things get frustrating, but it’s worth it.
Featured Image: PlayStation