I’m a huge fan of turn-based role-playing games and turn-based tactics. I’m always happy to play something in that genre, especially if it takes an unusual twist. With a name like The Protagonist EX-1, I thought I was getting a satirical or comedic type game. It’s not—it’s completely earnest. Strange name aside, The Protagonist EX-1 has an interesting premise: board an invading alien race’s space station and discover the truth.
The Protagonist EX-1 is a turn-based role-playing game. In it, you control a team of highly trained soldiers tasked with a mission to infiltrate an alien space station. Things don’t go as planned, the team gets separated, and you have to get the band back together while fighting off synthetic lifeforms and solving block-based puzzles. There are two main modes of gameplay: exploration and turn-based combat. Exploration is pretty straight forward, and as you uncover more of the alien space station, more information is revealed.
The turn-based combat in The Protagonist EX-1 is based on an action point system. On the face of it, it seems pretty standard. But once I started poking around in the character skills and attributes, I found a combat system that had more moving parts than I anticipated. Not only are there specializations for different types of firearms, which is common, but its martial arts combat system even has skill points to put into things like punching and kicking, in a departure from the usual unarmed combat stats.
Tactically, The Protagonist EX-1 feels a bit simple. Combat is grid-based, and the alien station itself is designed with cubes in mind. There are no cover mechanics, and most strategy involves using action points wisely and smart positioning.
I’m not a huge fan of the story so far, but I would be interested in seeing how it pans out. There are some pretty big names doing the voice over work, though—like Tony Todd, and Temuera Morrison. Since The Protagonist EX-1 is in Early Access, it doesn’t have its full campaign—right now there’s about four to five hours’ worth of story-driven gameplay.
The Protagonist EX-1 is an Early Access game, and according to information developer 3Mind games has on their Early Access information section on Steam, it will be in Early Access for “a few months.” The full release is planned to have more content, including four additional characters—supplementing the current roster of four. There will also be new weapons, more enemies, additional areas to explore and enemies to fight.
The Protagonist EX-1 feels like it’s an Early Access game and will certainly benefit from more development time. It definitely has potential in both gameplay and story—but in its current form, it doesn’t really offer much that hasn’t been done before. It definitely has potential, though, and I’d love to see how The Protagonist EX-1 shapes up through its development.
The Protagonist EX-1 is available now on Steam Early Access
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