Starlink: Battle for Atlas Review

Introduction

Starlink: Battle for Atlas is an action adventure game that took advantage of the Toys To Life mechanic. It was developed by Ubisoft Toronto and published by Ubisoft. It was released for consoles in October 2018 and saw a PC release in April 2019.

Review

As part of the crew on the spaceship known as the Equinox, you and your teammates who are part of Starlink find yourself in the Atlas system. Hoping to find new life and means of survival, your journey starts here. Unfortunately your ship gets shot down by the faction known as The Legion, and your captain gets captured. Stranded and lost on an unknown planet, your journey starts on a planet known as Kirite.

The story for the game sets up some big stakes, almost right away. Between your ship captain getting kidnapped and being in a new universe, I was expecting it to go nuts in a few places. Though there’s a set piece or two that had a lot of high octane action, the story honestly stays pretty flat. Most of the story is spent trying to find your team’s captain and there isn’t much in the way of side stories. The only real one is learning more about the people on your team. So you find out what they did before they got on the team and why they were picked.

The one thing I was worried about is the way the Toys To Life mechanic works. Depending on if you get the digital or physical version of the game, you get characters in different ways. You can either buy their physical figure, or buy them digitally to let you play as someone else. But the story stays true to one form, no matter who you play as. I was really impressed. I just wish it had gone a bit different than the cliché of “we need to save the galaxy from the big scary person!”.

The main draw of the game was that it was part of the Toys To Life fad. If you don’t know what this is, you basically get physical figures and a way to bring them to life in the game. With this, you get a ship dock attachment. You put the pilot into it, then attach the ship to it all, then you get the three weapons that it came with to swap out at your will. The big thing was that the ship base hooks right onto your controller so that you have it in front of you at all times. The down side to it all? It’s only moulded for the controller type of the platform you bought it on. So I played it on PlayStation 4. But I played it on my PlayStation 5 so that means I couldn’t attach the ship to my controller, so it had to sit by my TV the whole time. So if I wanted to swap anything, I had to stand up.

You unfortunately don’t get to unlock anything in game. Do you want to play as different characters, or ship, or use different weapons? You’ll need to find the physical version of it all, or buy it digitally. So you’re only given access to a machine gun, fire shot, and ice missiles if you don’t want to shell out the extra cash. Not many customization options in all honesty. So for the most part I just stuck with the machine gun and fire shot on my ship, as they were easily the best choices.

The gameplay of the game consists of you traveling around the planets or space in your spaceship only. You cannot get out for anything. This means platforming, and tight areas are done while in your ship. This was frustrating, so sometimes your ship would just slide off. The combat in the game is kind of like a third person shooter, except in a ship. Each trigger fires the weapon that’s on the corresponding side of your ship. There’s a few difficulty levels in the game, but nothing felt hard. Even the hardest difficulty was easy for the hour I played on it. So long as you strafe while in combat, you’ll survive. The enemies just have a huge pool of health.

There was not much side content in the game. As I said earlier, there were no side stories I could take part of to learn more about the world. There were some activities that could be done on each planet Like discovering all the animals, or plants and minerals. Then outside of that there’s just taking back spots from enemy forces. One activity that wasn’t unlocked till about ¾ of the way through the game, but the game doesn’t tell you that. So when I tried doing it and I couldn’t figure it out, I just left. There are some activities called Warden Towers that unlock fast travel locations and give you a small amount of insight on the Wardens and what they used to be, which was cool, but I thought the fast travel points would be the facilities you build and level up to help protect the planet or get more money from.

There was a point in time where I explored a few planets in rapid succession instead of doing the story, but I was so excited about exploring space only to find out it was empty. Space? Empty? Who knew! But there was nothing to do in it other than getting rid of some enemy spaceships that all worked the same way. Destroy the turret, kill the enemies, fly to the core, blow it up, run away. There were no big derelict ships to explore, no aliens to find, no hidden planets. It just felt like a means of transportation between the planets. Plus while you’re flying, you have to avoid giant colourful walls, or have to deal with annoying enemy spawns. As happy as I was to do nothing but story all the time, I did want a bit more to do in the world.

Rating

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Great Space Shooter
  • The Ship Can Be On Your Controller
  • Not A Billion Collectibles

Cons:

  • Space Dock Can’t Go On Ps5 Controllers
  • Can’t Unlock New Weapons/Ships
  • Space Is Empty

Summary

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this game, and all the little things sound like they add up to a poor experience, but I didn’t mind some of them when spaced out. I really enjoyed exploring every planet and soaring through space. I just wish there was more in space and that you could get out of your ship. It was weird to play a Ubisoft game though and not have a trillion things to do. I do recommend this to anyone who wants a fun space adventure!

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Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: Ubisoft Toronto
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Ubisoft
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £69.99/€79.99 Europe / $59.99 North America
Trophy Information: 42. 40-platinum 1 / Gold 3 / Silver 13 / Bronze 25

Starlink: Battle for Atlas: E3 2018 Gameplay Trailer

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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