Are you missing innovation? Tired of playing monotonous projects seeking to empty the wallets of all solvent people on planet Earth by conveyor production? Then let me please you: innovation has arrived. But on the side from which no one expected at all. Moreover, it looks like some kind of joke, because no one else, but Ubisoft made, perhaps, one of the most interesting in terms of originality and uniqueness of games. Canadian division Ubisoft Toronto consisting of just over ten people created one of the most notable projects of recent years – Starlink: Battle for Atlas… Thanks to the brainstorming of the developers, it was possible to bring to mind the toys-to-life-concept of interaction between the player and the virtual world. In a game dedicated to the exploration of space, this idea took root as well as possible, giving Ubisoft a huge field for experimenting and testing new ideas. To learn how the world’s most conveyor company created something so interesting, read the review on Starlink: Battle for Atlas.
A Space Odyssey
When the game was first shown at E3 2017, few people were interested in it. It was like trying to revive the long-suffering No Man’s Sky. The game looked very much like a brainchild Hello Games not only visually: flying, shooting, setting, large open world. It all came together. But Ubisoft Toronto has focused on singleplayer with a storyline and a decent amount of side quests. In Canada, they realized that the industry is not yet fully ready for universes, on a scale with real space. You need to focus on detail and innovation.
So what is it like to Starlink: Battle for Atlas? In the game we have to put together a team of brave boys, space explorers, flying toward adventure. We will explore the galaxy Atlas, visit the new and new worlds, completing quests, which give the NPC on different planets, beat with a great variety of monsters (as with conventional “slabochkami” and bosses). We are waiting for a huge number of characters, pilots, each of which has its own character, history and real modelku!
Once in a new world, you are not limited only to shootouts with enemies: you can explore the planet, find interesting places, stock up on resources, and complete an assignment from the local leader of the pack. But if you want to use your lasers and machine guns, the game will easily provide you with such an opportunity. The combat in Starlink: Battle for Atlas differs from most of the mechanics presented in similar games: you don’t have to just maneuver and shoot, occasionally switching weapons. Here you will need to find an individual approach to each type of enemy, defend and make decisions on the go. It is really striking with what care a small Canadian unit approached the study of the world and ecosystem. On the surface of each new object, you will meet your own, special inhabitants. Interaction with physical objects adds a zest to what is happening: you need to change the machine gun to a laser – if you please, right in the heat of battle, change the cannon on your real model to a suitable one. If you need to switch to another pilot, then you are back in the real world! This approach takes the gaming experience to a whole new level.
Have you flown?
In general, I would like to thank the French (and the CEO Yves Guillemot in particular) for the colossal work done. And if you played Skylanders or Disney infinity, then you are already familiar with the first experimental toys-to-play system. There, the player was asked to transfer whole objects into the virtual world with the help of special stands, which often interacted rather crookedly with the environment. This is not the case in Starlink: Battle for Atlas.
The player here acts as a real designer of spaceships: you have not only to attach figures to a gamepad / special stand, but to really assemble your iron horse. You literally design the pilot’s workplace, hull, guns, customize the wings (if your ship has any) and all that. Moreover, unlike competitors, the brainchild of Ubisoft Toronto in no way imposes hundreds of dollars on the player in additional spending. If, in the same Skylanders, certain objects were often simply needed and gamers had to buy them in addition, then in Starlink: Battle for Atlas the situation is completely different – you can go through the entire game using the basic configuration without any problems. But I strongly advise you not to skimp and take the deluxe bundle pack version, which is only five dollars more expensive and includes six ships, ten pilots and fifteen guns. These figures provide the ability to customize the ship as you like: you can attach a huge laser cannon to one wing, which will even tilt the ship slightly to one side, reducing maneuverability. And there are a great many such variations. There are more than twenty ships available now, what can we say about weapons of other objects! The most important thing is that these are not just cosmetic trinkets – you can change weapons as you like, depending on the enemy and the conditions of the battle, on the go, doing it in the physical world. Each of your decisions will immediately be reflected in the game and you will be at the helm of a much different ship. In general, reality and virtual universes are increasingly intertwined.
And all of these items can be developed and improved as they are used! For example, the more often you use the gravity gun, the stronger it will be. You will also be able to use some abilities that were not available from the very beginning of operation. In Starlink: Battle for Atlas, this mechanic awaits you in everything: you have a favorite pilot – which means the game will soon reward the hero with the discovery of a new ability, love a certain ship – a field will appear that can periodically reflect enemy shells. As you discover more and more new skills, you will not only explore the worlds from a different angle, but also get to know each of your pilots well. Ubisoft Montreal did a really good job with the stories and dialogue for a game like this. Although they clearly did not stake on the plot, there are a large number of players who are ready to go through Starlink: Battle for Atlas just for the sake of history.
If you are going to get acquainted with the project, we highly recommend the Nintendo Switch version. There is plenty of exclusive content here and everything is managed just fine. These games are just made for the console of the Japanese giant. The only disadvantage that the Russian player will feel in contrast to the Western or Japanese is, of course, the lack of necessary figures. You can play and go through a completely digital version with only one physical ship without any problems, but this is not the same feeling at all. I want to touch this!
The game looks amazing, despite the cartoonish graphics. One of the greatest strengths of No Man’s Sky after the release (and that version was in many ways just terrible) was the work of the artists. And Starlink: Battle for Atlas was able to repeat the success of a competitor. You wouldn’t need super-demanding hardware for the project if a PC version were presented. So I would like to congratulate the console players with the release of such a wonderful project! The future is already on store shelves, we strongly advise against skipping it.
The interactive entertainment industry has taken another major step forward: even if Starlink: Battle for Atlas looks like a huge space sandbox with a bunch of everything, but it’s very interesting to play! Interacting with the world of the game by constructing real objects is pretty damn fun. And the main thing is that all your changes are really felt on the screen – there is no feeling that the next weapon model is just a beautiful trinket. So far, this is almost the only game that you want to play only on a switch, while having an alternative on large consoles.
LID2PRO reviewer verdict
If the mechanics of Starlink: Battle for Atlas had been implemented even before the release of Skylanders and Disney Infinity, then it would be 10/10. Like this.
The beauty of cosmic worlds is simply captivating, they do not get bored, do not seem to be of the same type. The enemies are impressive, the dynamics are only getting stronger. What else do you need from the technical component?
The dialogues for such a project are well voiced. The sounds of shooting do not really hurt the ears, the speech of units and other effects at least do not spoil the overall impression. It is not worth asking more.
The plot is present in the game, although the tasks are often of the same type. It will be interesting for you to meet all the characters and take part in their adventures. There is practically no multiplayer in the game (there is a split screen into two parts and that’s it).
All physical objects attached to the gamepad do not interfere with the controls, they only add spice. You will get unforgettable emotions by managing what you yourself have created.