Fallen: A2P Protocol Preview

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Fallen: A2P Protocol
Developer
: Red Katana
Publisher: Red Katana
Platform: Linux, Mac, Windows
Price: $14.99 USD- Available Here

Kickstarted back in August 2014, Fallen: A2P Protocol is a tactical RPG that pays tribute to the glory days of the genre. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world inspired by the likes of Fallout. Fallen: A2P Protocol is currently on Steam Early Access and still in alpha

Currently, the game has a handful of campaign mission along with a few side missions. Developers Red Katana estimate that most people should be able to get through the content in four to five hours. It is quite clear that the game is still in active development as plenty of content is filled with placeholders. The heart and soul of the game is ready to roll, the combat system.

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Combat uses an action point system. For starters, each character has 10 action points that can be spent on anything involving movement, attacking, or moving inventory. A larger pool of action points can be earned with certain character skills. Each character has a small inventory and armour slots for their body. Ranged weapons require ammunition, which also takes up space in the inventory. Ammunition is extremely limited, so players are able to swap out their empty ranged weapon for a melee weapon without an AP cost; however, reloading the weapon with another magazine will cost a small bit of AP. Once the player has expended all their AP, any enemy that is within visual range will take their turn.

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As a tactical RPG, positioning is of utmost importance in Fallen: A2P Protocol. Being able to hide behind cover is the difference between life and death. The game makes it very easy to identify cover during movement. All raised surfaces in the environment that provide cover are marked with a floating blue shield, while those which don’t provide cover are marked in red. Enemy units are hidden from the player until they enter a character’s line of sight. From there, players will be able to keep track of their enemy’s movements. The mechanic adds a bit of uncertainty and fear to moving around, but at the same time it makes kill all enemy maps a bit annoying, as chasing down the final enemy can cause the player the start wandering around the map randomly until the last enemy pops up.

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I have enjoyed the combat system so far. Red Katana has struck a good balance between ranged and melee weapons in the face of the limited ammunition. Because attacking is expensive and the maps are rather large, players have to balance expending precious ammo to rain down attacks from afar or spending turns to close the gap and attack with a melee weapon. Currently, there is no vendor implemented in the game, so ammunition must be scavenged from certain points on the map or looted from dead bodies, making it even scarcer. Once the inventory management system is improved, the greater challenge will be managing the limited inventory space, keeping enough ammunition, weapons, and med kits to win a fight, while keeping enough inventory space open for looting dead enemies.

Fallen: A2P Protocol adds a new strategic element in the game with the varying weather effects. Each map comes with its own weather forecast and weather changes constantly while in game. Effects can be as benign as a sandstorm that reduces vision to as deadly as a torrent of acid rain.

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Character progress through four skill trees currently. Two are for ranged characters, one is for survivability, and the last is for melee combat. The skill tree isn’t so much a tree, but rather four separate ladders. Currently, players get four points per level and must purchase the previous skill to be able to purchase the next one. The system is a bit rigid, but it does allow for the development of well-rounded characters. The game is extremely generous with points right now and levelling up is easy, which I suspect and hope is a temporary state while the game is in alpha.

The controls are a little rough right now. The button placement on the right side of the screen is a little awkwardly placed and the AP buttons are a little glitchy right now. It gets easier with a little practice, but the escape key is the magical key that will solve most of the AP button bugs.

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Currently, the start of a larger story campaign is in place. Six out of an eventual 16 story missions are currently available.  Fallen: A2P Protocol’s plot will be completely linear. The theme of vengeance and betrayal already run strong in the alpha build, but it’s hard to say how the story will turn out at this point. One thing is certain,  Fallout’s influence on the world is unmistakable.

Fallen: A2P Protocol has a slightly cartoony look. The environment is looking pretty good right now, though currently a touch repetitive. The characters look excellent, except for the awkward run animations that have a very unnatural gait.

The audio presentation sounds good so far. The sound effects are solid.  The music is enjoyable to listen to, striking a very epic tone.

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Fallen: A2P Protocol is definitely on the right track. The game is by no means finished, but the combat system is growing into a game worthy enough to pay tribute to the games Red Katana is trying to pay homage to. Red Katana has created the foundational lore for a great post-apocalyptic setting.

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