The Protagonist Ex-1 Review – Test – Sci-Fi RPG inside an alien spaceship

In this The Protagonist EX-1 review I present the classic role-playing game with turn-based battles in a sci-fi world

The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Sci-Fi RPG inside an alien spaceship
The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Sci-Fi RPG inside an alien spaceship

In this The Protagonist EX-1 review, I’ll show you this turn-based sci-fi role-playing game as we fight our way out of an alien spaceship. The game offers party RPG a la Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights with tactical combat, many switch puzzles, and secret rooms blocking our way out of the alien spaceship.

German Version:

Switch Dark / Light Mode:

This article is available here as text, but also as a YouTube video (German voice-over, many subtitles). This way you can choose how you would like to enjoy it most.

The Protagonist EX-1 Review Video

German Voice-Over, many subtitles

The Protagonist EX-1 Review – Intro

Hi there, this is the Zap. In this Protagonist EX-1 review, I’ll tell you about this dark indie sci-fi role-playing game with turn-based combat and plenty of puzzle challenges. In the review, you’ll get details on how Protagonist EX-1 is played, what’s inside if I enjoyed it and at the end, there’s also a rating from me. But most of all, I want to give you all the info so you can decide for yourself if you might enjoy the game.

The Protagonist is being developed by Canada-based 3Mind Games and was released as an Early Access title on March 2nd, 2021. I received a free review sample from the developer, my thanks for that. However, this should have no bearing on my review, as I always test all games with the thought in the back of my mind, how would I feel if I had paid full price.

The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Game Type
The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Game Type

Protagonist Ex-1 – Game Type

The game is a classic role-playing game from an isometric perspective. The battles take place in turn-based mode, we can run, shoot, delay, take cover behind obstacles and later on learn many more skills.

We are in a 3D world, looking into it from above at an angle. The camera can be rotated in 45-degree increments, so we can always keep track. We determine the movement of our main heroine by clicking on the floor and so we run freely through the levels. Only in the battles, everything becomes turn-based. Then we are bound to a box grid because every step and every action consumes action points.

Protagonist EX-1 – Story

The Protagonist Ex-1 Test
Story
The Protagonist Ex-1 Test
Story

In Protagonist, we awaken from a deep coma as the soldier Angel. A voice in our head called “Pilot” tells us we were on an attack mission against a race of aliens. These threaten the Earth and we wanted to stop them, but our mission failed and we are now sitting in a cell on the alien spaceship.

Our biggest problem, we remember almost nothing. We don’t know anything about this war, we don’t know who’s on our team, and we don’t have the slightest idea who we are, what we’re capable of, why these robots are shooting at us, and how we’re supposed to escape this steel prison.

We soon find some companions to assist us in this fight. Among others, the soldier Radical and a cybernetically enhanced dog named Buddy are our most loyal companions, but sometimes a real pain in the ass. Later we are joined by the mercenary Takka, whose body has been almost completely replaced by implants.

Besides that, the alien spaceship is a real labyrinth. Endless corridors and numerous rooms with locked doors block our way. Switches and shifting puzzles want to be solved. Crates loot from enemies, and numerous computers offer us valuable equipment, new blueprints, and also new implants, which we cannot use, however, without a proper doctor.

In addition to conversations with Radical and Pilot, we also keep finding diary entries and little audio logs that explain what happened and jog our memory.

Roleplay – RPG Systems

The Protagonist Ex-1 Gameplay
Roleplay - RPG Systems
The Protagonist Ex-1 Gameplay
Roleplay – RPG Systems

Here the game reminds me strongly of old Dungeons & Dragons classics from Bioware like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights or modern variants like Divinity Original Sin. It may not be able to fully compete with those titles. But for an indie game from a small team, it’s already close to the gameplay of those classics.

We get experience for each battle and advance in levels, which earn us new points for attributes and skills. Gradually, our heroine soldier also learns how to lead a squad, hack computers, analyze items, and make new equipment from the junk we find everywhere.

Among other things, a very wide range of melee combat is offered, various martial arts punch variants can be learned and improved, and later combos can be developed from them. Of course, there are also weapons, both for close combat and for shooting. There are character classes specialized in melee, ranged, technical or healing, and support.

I guess the aliens have a special fondness for switches, pressure plates, sliding crates, and destructible secret walls. And if that’s not enough to get your head spinning, they’ll soon follow up with floor plates that can be moved by mechanism and passages where our party has to split up because things have to be done in two different places at once to get the next door open.

Tech, Graphics, Sound

The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Tech, Graphics, Sound, Engine, GFX, SFX
The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Tech, Graphics, Sound, Engine, GFX, SFX

Protagonist EX-1 is developed with the Unreal Engine, largely stable gameplay and fundamentally higher graphics quality are thus ensured. However, the graphics of the levels is relatively monotonous but is gradually loosened up a bit. However, the color selection of silver-gray and blue tones is too predominant. Here, the game could be quite a bit more colorful.

The Protagonist runs largely stable. If I except for the fact that the game crashed once right after the opening cutscene, I had no more crashes after that. I once had the problem after a fight that the game was more or less stuck because it didn’t reactivate the free movement mode. Saving and reloading fixed that problem without any losses though.

The soundtrack is adequate, not particularly extensive, but most features make some sound. There is synth elevator music in the background that is not too annoying.

The game has English and French texts so far. There is also a partial voice output, but it currently covers felt only 20% of the game. So here is a lot of reading until the dubbing is completed. I assume that this is currently in the works. A German-language version is at least currently not available and also not planned.

The Protagonist EX-1 Screenshots InGame

The Protagonist EX-1 Test – Opinion and Conclusion

The Protagonist Ex-1 Test
Opinion and Conclusion
The Protagonist Ex-1 Test
Opinion and Conclusion

Overall, I find the combination of Early Access and RPG a bit difficult. Because you usually play through RPGs only once because of the story and a later re-run after Early Access is rather unlikely. I would prefer internal beta testing and a proper release here.

A bigger point of criticism in the current versions is the balancing. This starts with the hit chances or rather the very high miss rate, as this sometimes stretches the fights too much. Although, I gave most characters points on Accuracy several times.

The game is on a rather slower path as far as the pace of play is concerned. Everything is rather leisurely, hectic rarely occurs and you have enough time to think about your next steps. Additionally, small delays happen again and again in the battles, and this is where it gets a bit too slow for my liking.

Often an opponent has to finish his animation before it continues. Also, for some reason I don’t understand, the skill buttons get a sort of 3-second pause between actions before they are released for the next one. Here, you could make the game feel a bit more grippy and fluid by reducing these rather unnecessary pauses.

The balancing of melee and ranged combat doesn’t quite fit yet, most of the time enemies just shoot and as a result, you are better off even with ranged combat. The movement range is a bit short to really intervene relevantly in the action as a melee fighter. But that didn’t really dampen the fun for me.

Also, the skills are not all equally useful yet. So at least in the first few hours I didn’t find any Assault Rifles or Grenades recipes at all, so couldn’t make any either, there weren’t any to find. So I specialized in pistols with all characters and the skill for that was quickly at maximum.

After that, I started learning a few side skills and then almost randomly put points evenly into skills I never used. On the other hand, many hours of development time must have gone into the melee system, there are numerous skills to it and various melee weapons, but that work largely goes to waste, at least as I progressed through the game.

Besides that, I noticed minor inconsistencies in the controls. For example, that you can’t leave some menus with ESC, but have to click a button somewhere. In general, the game could put more shortcuts on buttons in some places and make the existing ones more visible. In this “quality of life” area, the game could still use some fine-tuning.

What doesn’t make me happy is the visual character design so far. The player characters are purposeful at best, not really pretty. That said, stop, yes, the dog is cute, I like him. But overall, the game would look even better with prettier character models.

Besides the main characters, you always find soldiers that you add to the group, and their models and pictures are always the same, it’s not appealing, nor good for distinction.

The variety in the enemies is also almost nonexistent so far. Most alien robots look almost identical despite different skills and classes, differing more or less only in colored stripes on the chassis. This looks a bit boring, and also makes the tactical approach a bit more difficult. Overall, it is to be hoped that more and more varied 3D models will be worked on, which would enhance the game in many places.

But all in all, the positive gameplay experience outweighs the negative for me, despite all the rough edges and minor problems. The role-playing system is surprisingly comprehensive for such a small indie title. The level design, aside from the graphics, is varied, the story is not uninteresting and the battles and puzzles are definitely entertaining.

The Protagonist Ex-1 Review – Rating

The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Rating
The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Rating

The Protagonist offers a wide-ranging mix of turn-based strategy combat, switch puzzles, and complex level design to keep us as players on our toes. And that’s interwoven with classic RPG party and some character classes, as well as an extensive story.

As you should expect from the Early Access label, there are still some construction sites, but still, for under €11 or $13, you get a game here in which you can spend some entertaining hours as a role-playing game lover and fan of turn-based tactics.

Considering the game’s offerings so far, Protagonist EX-1 gets a 75% basic rating from me. Minor balancing and game design issues make for a 4% deduction, but for the tremendously low price, there’s a whopping 10% bonus. This brings me to the current final score of 81% for The Protagonist EX-1. If the team rounds off the rough edges a bit more with further patches, it might become a little pearl for role-playing game fans in terms of price-performance.

The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Rating with numbers 81 percent
The Protagonist Ex-1 Review
Rating with numbers 81 percent

The Protagonist EX-1

Zap from Zapzockt.de

The Protagonist Ex-1 Review - Test - Sci-Fi RPG im Alien-Raumschiff _q
In this The Protagonist EX-1 review I present the classic role-playing game with turn-based battles in a sci-fi world
In this The Protagonist EX-1 review, I’ll show you this turn-based sci-fi role-playing game as we fight our way out of an alien spaceship. The game offers party RPG a la Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights with tactical combat, many switch puzzles, and secret rooms blocking our way out of the alien spaceship.
RPG
Graphics
Sound
Tactics
Scope
State of the Game (Early Access)
Price-performance ratio

Rating

The Protagonist offers a wide-ranging mix of turn-based strategy combat, switch puzzles, and complex level design to keep us as players on our toes. And that’s interwoven with classic RPG party and some character classes, as well as an extensive story.
As you should expect from the Early Access label, there are still some construction sites, but still, for under €11 or $13, you get a game here in which you can spend some entertaining hours as a role-playing game lover and fan of turn-based tactics.
Considering the game’s offerings so far, Protagonist EX-1 gets a 75% basic rating from me. Minor balancing and game design issues make for a 4% deduction, but for the tremendously low price, there’s a whopping 10% bonus. This brings me to the current final score of 81% for The Protagonist EX-1. If the team rounds off the rough edges a bit more with further patches, it might become a little pearl for role-playing game fans in terms of price-performance.

4.1

Outro

Do you like the combat on the alien ship and do you like turn-based RPG battles? Or are switches and shifting puzzles not your thing and you always get lost in giant spaceships? Feel free to write me your opinion in the YouTube comments or in the Community Discord.

You can find more gaming news, game reviews and guides on the YouTube channel or here at https://zapzockt.de – thumbs click and subscribe on YouTube and share with friends certainly can’t hurt and then I wish you a great day, ciao ciao, your Zap

Protagonist EX-1 Website

The Protagonist EX-1 Steampage

Protagonist Twitter

Protagonist Ex-1 Facebook Page

Reading – recommendations:

A lot of detailed games news and information about games and gaming can always be found here at ZapZockt.de

There are also many game reviews that might interest you, and if you don’t want to miss anything, subscribe to the newsletter. As a Google News reader you can also go there and read the latest articles.

Shopping – Tip:

Ad / Affiliate Link
Games can often be bought cheaper. Legal, reliable and safe is the way to do it at my partner site Gamesplanet. This game, all DLCs, many more tactics, strategy, and many more titles are available there and almost always much cheaper than at Steam, Uplay, Epic, or other shops.

Steam Keys günstig kaufen - Buy steam keys cheap - Game keys Spiele Keys
Buy games cheaper

For every purchase, via this link, I receive a small commission. So you get games cheaper and at the same time support my work, my thanks in advance for that.

Social Media:


Zap

Dirk "Zap" von ZapZockt.de, 40+ Gamer, zockt seit 1980 vor allem Strategie Titel, MMOs und Rollenspiele. Schreibt Game Reviews, Gaming News und auch mal über Technik, Hardware und YouTube. Mehr Infos findest Du unter Mehr über Zap lesen ◄----------► Dirk "Zap" from ZapZockt.de, 40+ gamer, has been gaming since 1980, mainly strategy titles, MMOs and RPGs. Writes game reviews, gaming news and also sometimes about technology, hardware and YouTube. Click here, if you want to read more about Zap.

You may also like...

scroll to top - nach oben