Atlas Rogues came into Early Access on November 18. Since then, I have played several matches with the four starting freelancers and my current conclusion is that I would not recommend this game – yet – unless you’re a former Atlas Reactor player and want the nostalgia or are used to playing Early Access games with all its potential issues!
As I am writing this, I wanted to log on to play and take a few screenshots, but I get a “failed to connect” error message. It doesn’t seem to be a global error, though, as I can see people discussing the game in Discord and they’re playing right now. I also have an unfinished challenge (something like an achievement) that I can’t do anymore because it asks me to finish the Tutorial Mission. I already did finish the Tutorial Mission and there is apparently no way to re-do the tutorial. And I should have unlocked a new freelancer, Titus, but they’re having problems with the unlocks not registering. Also, when I finished the last mission of my solo run before the reactor explodes, I was stuck. I only saw the ending screen of the match, basically, and nothing happened. After a few minutes, I exited the game, restarted and saw that it hadn’t counted the last mission, so I had to do it again. (See below for an update on most of these issues!*)
One thing that bothers me personally is that you can’t change the camera mode. Especially during the enemy phase, the camera zooms in and out constantly the moves around the map. This causes slight simulation sickness for me. It’s not that bad, so I can play a few matches, but it’s not comfortable either. I would definitely prefer to unlock the camera and not have it move automatically. Yes, I may miss a move of an NPC then. But it’s better than feeling sick!
I chose to start this blog post with the negative aspects of the game, because it is in Early Access and it’s frustrating to buy a game only to then figure out its many flaws. However, Early Access means it’s still in development and you should expect bugs and issues. So there you go. It’s currently on sale for $14.99 €. Come December 1, this will increase to $19.99 €.
Now, about the game. My major concern was that Atlas Rogues doesn’t feature the simultaneous turns anymore and will instead have an enemy phase and an ally phase. So, it’s the classical turn-based combat now. Everything you do during your (the ally) phase will happen on a “first come, first served” basis. This means that you need to communicate and coordinate when playing with friends as it does make sense sometimes to first get shields from Helio before jumping over half of the map to attack an NPC. It also makes sense not to have all your freelancers hug each other in one corner of the map because you’re vulnerable to AoE then.
The interface for the multiplayer games isn’t finished yet and it’s a bit fiddly to invite others or to create a new hosted run. I only played single-player so far and had to use the four starting freelancers: Helio, Garrison, Zuki and Lockwood. I can’t stand Helio, but I had no other choice. Again, this is frustrating, but it is what it is. And Mobi, the community manager, already stated that they’re working on this unlock bug*. So there isn’t much else to do than being patient.
Maybe you’re wondering now: She’s been complaining about this and that… so she hates this game, right? But I don’t! I am actually positively surprised how much I like the game. True, I still miss the simultaneous gameplay and I still miss Atlas Reactor! But I see the potential here. And when I started the game yesterday after work and being sick and not feeling well, I had only intended to play one match. Four or five matches later, I finally quit the game. How bad can it be then, eh? So yes, I do have fun in the game! I especially like not having a time limit anymore. Being able to spend as much time as I need to choose which actions to do. At the same time, as soon as I choose something, it’s locked in and carried out. I have made so many mistakes already because of that! I can’t help it, I am used to Atlas Reactor still where you locked in your choice of action, but had until the end of the turn timer to change your action!
I also remember being able to lock in a certain path when moving. There are boosts on the map and sometimes, you don’t want to go three fields left, then one to the right, but three fields right, then one to the left in order to grab this boost! I did find something that said “waypoint!” but it seemed to be something to plan your whole move without carrying it out immediately. I’m not sure I can explain this well, but eh, let’s just say: I want to be able to grab that boost on the way! Bookahnerk showed me that it’s “shift + right-click” to plan that path. You can also delete this planned pathing by hitting the escape key or executing it with the spacebar.
Other than that, I can’t wait to get more freelancers. Garrison was one of my favourites, so I’m quite happy having him. He’s more the “tank type” who can take in a lot of damage. Lockwood is fun with his pistol shot being able to bounce off walls. In Atlas Reactor with the timer, it was sometimes difficult to find a good “bouncing path” to reach an opponent from behind – and thus, skipping their cover – so I appreciate it much more now. I don’t remember using Zuki much, but I like most of her actions and she’s fun enough. The problem with her is that I try to keep her as far away from the action as possible. She is still often the first and more often than not the only one to die during the matches. And then there is Helio. His strength is giving shields to his allies. Maybe I underestimate the power of them. But I know I had support characters that I liked so much better (Dr. Finn, for example). As soon as I get the chance, I will switch him out!
So basically, knowing that there are so many other freelancers coming in the future (6 more can theoretically be unlocked already), I know I’ll have even more fun then. But for now, they need to work on the most glaring issues like challenges not unlocking their rewards*! And there are some stability and connection issues which need to be sorted out. Once that’s done, even for 19.99, this will be a great game!
(*Please note: After finishing writing this blog post, I was able to connect to the lobby server again- and I can choose Titus! And after starting a new run, I start with… a tutorial mission, which finally let me get this one challenge!)