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Review: Raiders of the Broken Planet – Wardog Fury (Xbox One)By Nikola Suprak At 28.04.2018 10:35

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Wardog Fury throws people right into the story so far, so hopefully everyone has been playing along because otherwise it isn't particularly clear what is going on. It is a bit like walking into a movie halfway through, although the four missions provided in this pack do provide their own narrative that fits within the overarching story. The planet is a broken, dusty wasteland and the heroes are a group of raiders fighting against the evil forces that are exploiting it and its people. This rag-tag group of heroes is looking to recruit one more who they did some weird genetic experiments on and is partially mad, and they destroyed his weird old dilapidated house. The first mission in Wardog Fury involves recruiting this new hero to the cause, and the subsequent ones will have the player facing off against some very bad folk.

The story is fairly forgettable, and the game seems to know it is forgettable because it is almost impossible to see unless playing the game single-player. This is all about shooting and punching bad guys, and that is something Wardog Fury does well. This campaign is broken up into four missions, and each usually has a couple of objectives to complete. The missions are well varied here, and you will go from using bombs to blow up large machinery to escorting and defending specific points of the map, to a huge epic boss fight to close things out. Action is divided between shooting and hand-to-hand combat, and you and three other players will need to fight back waves of enemies while completing the main objective. Additionally, there is a fairly big cast of characters to play from here, each with their own unique abilities and boosts they can bring into battle. There are only four available at the start and this DLC place will actually unlock a new character the first time the first level is completed. Other characters can be unlocked by reaching a certain level. All of this true of the base game, and what this DLC specifically adds is the one new character and the four new missions.

The base itself certainly has its issues, but as an addition, something like Wardog Fury was sorely needed. If someone liked the basic concepts the main title introduced, it is almost necessary that at least one of these DLC mission packs are purchased. The game simply isn't playable in its original format, and playing one mission over and over again gets boring almost immediately. Even the four missions here can get tedious fairly quickly. They are fun and well designed the first time through, sure, but this is a game that was designed to be played hundreds of times and replaying the same four missions over and over again grows stale really quickly. It is almost not worth it to just get a single mission pack because the replayability is one of the main selling points and replaying over and over with just four missions is not sustainable. It's a bit strange it was released piecemeal like this, because this is one of those products that absolutely needed to be a full package to be really appreciated. Playing through 12 to 16 missions on repeat is bearable, but with only four missions, the basic premise simply doesn't work. Wardog Fury is good, but it really needs the other mission packs, as well, to be fully appreciated.

Unfortunately, while the campaign itself is plenty of fun, it doesn't fix many of the underlying issues. The primary one here is the game essentially requires it to be played online but it doesn't have the player-base to support that model. To make your characters stronger, experience is doled out, along with money, faction points, and new weapons. Out of all of those things, though, only money is available in single-player, raising the point of why anyone would want to play that at all. At the same time, the action doesn't really want to start up until there is a full party of four, and to find that many people playing the specific mission you may want can take an unreasonably long time. During review, there were times where it would be sitting for upwards of ten minutes before finding a match, and it isn't worth sitting around to play something that has probably already been played ten times before. This is a game that practically forces people to play multiplayer, but at the same time doesn't make it possible to really play multiplayer.

While the gameplay is fun, as well, it also has some issues itself. The mix between shooting, hand-to-hand combat, and high flying antics, sounds like a lot of fun, and honestly it is. The levels are well designed to encourage this, and the variety is good enough that nothing ever blends together or feels same-y. At the same time, though, they put too much emphasis on the hand-to-hand combat at the worst time. It far and away does the most damage compared to any of the starting weapons, and certain mission objectives require hand-to-hand combat to collect the items that are needed. The shooting is far more enjoyable, but the hand-to-hand is more effective. The system itself is basically just rock, paper, scissors, with three different moves to use that are both strong and weak against one of the others. It is a pretty basic system, and while it works well enough, it isn't the primary way most people are going to want to play. It is weird to make this a focus at all when the shooting works so well, and a bit more complexity needed to be added to this system if it was going to be pushed so far into the forefront.

It is probably worth mentioning at this point that this is designed as an asymmetric multiplayer experience, with four raiders working together to complete the objectives, and one guy working with the AI to interfere with them. This might seem like something that should be mentioned right away, but the vast majority of people that play don't have anyone as the antagonist. Not because it is selected to be that way, but because not many people want to play as the antagonist. Not only are the raiders far more fun to play as, but the antagonist is not balanced well and has a much harder time at winning. It is a fun change in pace once in a while, but honestly it almost feels like a bit of an afterthought. The raiders are all unique and interesting and fun to play as, and the antagonist is just sort of there. They don't have the same sort of lore or mechanics, and the game plays just as well if they are there or not. This is a good multiplayer affair, with a not so great asymmetric opponent tacked onto it, and the bit of good news here is that it seems to know that and it can just be played with the normal party of four and no antagonist.

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Final Score
[i]Raiders of the Broken Planet[/i] is slowly moving into actual 'good game' territory, but it sadly might be too late by now. [i]Wardog Fury[/i] is a nice expansion and the asking price seems well within reason. Unfortunately, the way the game is set up, and the paltry playerbase, makes this hard for someone to jump into. This is a bit of a strange game to review because most of the major issues here are infrastructure-based and the action itself is actually fun. It is a release that a lot of people will want to like, but it doesn't always seem like it wants people to like it. It is hard to say for sure if the entire experience is worth it without playing the other campaigns, but [i]Wardog Fury[/i] by itself is enough fun to warrant a look. If you can find someone to play it with, that is.

6

/10

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