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Posted by , 14 December 2016 at 11:03 pm UTC / 3730 views
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Planet Explorers [Steam, Official Site], the open world sandbox adventure RPG has finally left Early Access. The developer accepted my request for a key so I could take a look.

Sorry for the lateness on this one, but the developers took a while to send over a key and you need to put real time into it to get a feel for it.

I'm a massive RPG fan, so I was pretty excited to give Planet Explorers a proper go. I tried it a long time ago when they had a demo available and it was promising. Sadly the end result feels rushed and low quality overall. There are a couple bits I liked, but overall it didn't fit together.

The character creator is quite nice, as you're able to customize many aspects of your appearance. Your face, eyebrows, nose etc, really gives me a good first impression of the actual game itself. It's one thing to play a game with a set character, but I absolutely love tinkering with my appearance.

I checked out the Story mode first of all, which was instantly buggy. During the tutorial a text prompt came up with a brief introduction, but the audio for it started at the end. I was only given part of the last sentence. The rest of the audio seemed to work fine.

I love the fact that there's three different camera styles to choose from. You have two different top-down views which handle the mouse differently, or first-person. The game certainly has a few customization options to play it how you want it.

The tutorial does at least do a reasonable job of teaching you the basics, but it is all pretty straightforward.

I wasn't a fan of the intro video when you finish the tutorial at all. The captains voice wasn't synced properly with his mouth and it was quite low quality overall and the picture was rather blurry. Considering how short it was, it felt really rushed.

You crash land and come across a lady sat on the floor, which is where your first questing begins! Sadly, the voice over for her was rather robotic, and you could really tell where they've cut the audio of the conversation and stuck each bit on. They over-pronounced each single word at times too, it was quite irritating for the ears.

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While the game certainly looks nice, the single-player campaign starts off in such a mundane way with you going from A to B and doing small boring tasks. They have a really cool sandbox-style building RPG and they have you cutting down a tree and fetching water, they could have thought of something a little more interesting to get you going. Right after that you go and fetch a medic, who needs you to run all the way back to the crash with him. Once he's there, you then again have to run all the way back to the little camp with them both. It's a lot of boring back and forth.

They created this really quite beautiful looking world and they have you simply going from A to B doing fetch-quests, which sadly did not give me the best impression of it once I got going.

General issues
On a multi-screen setup the game displays on the wrong monitor, with half of it cut off which really wasn't great. It seems to pick the width of both of my monitors and try to display it in the middle. Its a problem with a fair few Unity games and it happens quite often, but usually there are ways around it like editing a config file. It's due to their custom-launcher, which isn't a usual launcher. Their launcher is essentially another Unity game, so it overrides any settings you change.

If I turn my other monitor off it works, but if I launch it again with it turned on I get the same issue. Luckily, my script to fix screentearing (this works for a few games that do it, very handy!) can be run once the game is launched to turn on my other monitor again and everything is dandy.

I emailed them about it and the only response I got was "try windowed mode".

During one quest early on, I was sent to find a guy named "Chen". When I got close to him some random loud obnoxious music started playing and I honestly thought it was a pop-up advert from running Chrome in the background. I alt+tabbed to look and when I came back to the game it just stopped. I had a chat with this fellow and he offered to give me a new script to create a better pickaxe, but before he finished talking the loud obnoxious music came back and stopped his voice over. This is with music volume down to nearly zero. I captured a video to show the issue as it was so bad:

The hitboxes on rocks, planets and so on are too big too. I've repeatedly got vehicles stuck on invisible walls requiring a lot of patience to get unstuck from. There's also this that tends to happen:
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You can also see that the interface is cut off on the right.

The audio for voice overs is really crap, the quality of the voice recording sounds like it was done in a really small room and you can often hear the background noise.

Overall it's really not great and I was expecting a lot better of it. They have this beautiful world full of wonders where they get you to do simple mundane tasks with a lot of back and forth between the same places. Then there's all the annoying bugs too.

I wanted to try more, but I couldn't stomach it, it's far too buggy right now and the general gameplay does not make me feel like I want more. I want to give it another chance, so I will likely play again in a few months when it gets some more patches, but it's not good right now.

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melkemind commented on 14 December 2016 at 11:59 pm UTC
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It sounds like Chen was trolling you, which maybe isn't so good for an NPC.


neowiz73 commented on 15 December 2016 at 12:05 am UTC

this is no more a RPG than Minecraft is. its main sale point is a sandbox adventure game. some developers will stick RPG on anything with a character you customize. the only other RPG aspects is the storyline in story mode and the skill point system for adventure mode.

the character audio is a bit odd, I totally agree, the audio was literally thrown in the last parts of the beta stages. for some reason the sound is anchored to the NPC's body. so when in story mode to hear all the audio you have to be near the NPC speaking to actually hear it. instead they should have positioned the audio on Your character so you can hear it all, no matter where the NPC is.

that video of Chen sort of surprised me, I never actually heard all of that my one play-through of the story. I caught the tail end of it as I was getting close to him, but these sort of audio bits have changed the last few updates since 1.0.
there is the dialog volume in the settings, which controls that. but turning that down will make other dialog harder to hear at times.

That opening song is good with that lady singing but then that guy starts out with the whole crooner bit killed the song all together.

I think the overall premise of this game is really great as far as the sandbox adventure goes. aside from I really liked the game more-so without the sound. I think the devs just tried to do too much for their resources.

The good thing is the dev team seems devoted to continuing the development. So hopefully things will get better as time goes.

the best aspect of this game is the custom build system for vehicles and items in the game. plus the build system for structures is by far the best out there, so far. as long as the multiplayer gets better tweaks plus adventure mode gets a few tweaks then it will be really solid for the sandbox aspect.


oldrocker99 commented on 15 December 2016 at 1:35 am UTC
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One Kickstarter game I just haven't been able to get into. I'll try it again.


AnxiousInfusion commented on 15 December 2016 at 2:15 am UTC

It's been a long time since I played it but isn't there an adventure mode where you have more freedom to do whatever right from the start without all the maid errands from RPGs?


Xpander commented on 15 December 2016 at 8:39 am UTC

i tried with a friend when it released or few days after that. multiplayer wasn't working. we were on the lobby, could chat fine, but couldnt start the server and joining other servers made it download lots of items( i guess player made blueprints) once it finished it failed to join a server. havent tried the game since.

other than that it looks pretty good but i dont like singleplayer in those types of games.


Tchey commented on 15 December 2016 at 9:12 am UTC

I played it in 2014, completed the part of the Story then. One of my best advanture game memory. I played it again at release, completed the Story, accepted the few bugged scripts and odd AI, dicided it's still one of my best advanture game memory.

It's a sandbox with a story. It's a story within a sandbox. You can do the quest (going from A to B like mostly all games) and nothing else, or you can take time to build you explorer, jeep, motorbike, chopper, boat..., explore, build more, explore again... There is nothing to gain from exploration, no hidden loot, no special event... Only the immense pleasure to climb the mountain, use the jumpjet to be even higher, and open your wingsuit to fly all the way down and enjoy the landscape.

They mananed in my opinion to create a real atmosfere, not just a random generic world. I love the fauna, the flora, as soon as i step inside i feel i'm exploring Planet Maria.


Seegras commented on 15 December 2016 at 10:19 am UTC

I think the whole story mode is mainly geared towards make you explore everything, and try out everything.


Picoboom commented on 15 December 2016 at 1:17 pm UTC
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Good to know that Planet Explorers isn't done baking. I'll continue waiting to play it.

I've been waiting to play it for years, and I've no problem waiting a bit longer for the devs to complete their polishing. These guys have been regularly posting and patching since early on, and they've not slowed down since the game came out of Beta, and I have every confidence these bugs too will be squashed.


Kels commented on 15 December 2016 at 2:45 pm UTC

I've been interested in this game for ages now, but like Picoboom, I think I'll keep waiting until it's actually done. Maybe by that time Planet Nomads will swoop in to scratch that itch instead, who knows?


stan commented on 15 December 2016 at 5:20 pm UTC

For me the first problem is there is no text in their launcher. I don’t remember if I’ve been able to launch the game, but if I have then there was other game-breaking bugs early on. Too bad as it looks gorgeous.


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