Starfield | Securing The Scientist
Satellite Reign is set in a world of cyberpunk where you control a group of characters to fight against the system of corrupted politician and the corporations they serve.
I own very few games myself that have this kind of art style. In most game reviews I don’t stop and enjoy the architecture and design elements of the game. However, this just seems like it would not be complete without some screenshots showing off some random elements of the game.
Looks like the perfect area to kidnap some people to use as clones! It is, after all, a market to do some shopping. I guess they did not expect I will be on the list.
They also did a decent job at creating a bit of a background and a why your team should move forward and commit quite a lot of unethical behavior all for combating the evil corporation. It’s always nice when you get that sense of resonating as you progress further and further down that rabbit hole.
This game is based on your control of four different roles as you play a party. While you can further customize them in what skills, gear, and clones you acquired for them. These were also the roles are all you get.
You have the Soldier who is like the Swiss army knife in combat. She has abilities from drawing fire, dealing out more damage and even explosives if you are in the mood. She also has a very important skill for disabling defenses and getting into the locked area with her Hardwiring skill. Without further investing in a skill like Draw Fire she just becomes another damage type in the group.
Next, up is Supported. She can do everything from healing to marking targets. One of the more interesting skills is called World Scan where the game graphics change when you enter into this mode. It helps you identify targets, lets you see how security systems are set up and other stuff. Overall this is one of the more unique and just cool skills in this game.
The Hacker himself just feels at least to me a more powerful and useful character than the rest of them. I would often time be doing stuff on him while letting the rest of the group just do their things. He is the one that can unlock doors, taking out security camera systems and getting you into locked down areas. He can also mind hack other citizen and have drones!!! Like why do I even need anyone else on the team this guy is amazing.
Finally, you have the Infiltrator. He is a rather strange character if I’m to be honest. He has one skill called Master Assassin for using a sniper weapon so you would think he be long range. Then he has a cloak ability to become invisible and move stealth like. Which I have happened to use him a few times to solo a compound by just running in using the cloak for getting to the objective.
Because this is a cyberpunk they get to have some fun with clones and the whole revival system. While you could clone into a generic shell. You can also hijack people and get a small benefit from using them instead. After you die their bonus stat benefits degrade so over time per use.
I do think it’s hard to make every single role in a party stand out to everyone. While I myself was more drawn to the hacker character I could see others prefer once I did not think much of like the Infiltrator. While there is some overlapping they do create some needed synergy during key moments when time mattered. They also each brought something that was needed for the party.
Districts And Maps
The map is broken up into different areas so you just can’t go where ever you wanted without meeting certain requirements. They at least did make the map have areas where you could blend in and then the more restricted spaces where you could get caught.
The game itself is broken up into four districts (Downtown, Industrial, Grid, and CBD) that require you to gain access to the next one to progress further along with the storyline. Since you are dealing with corruption I would often be given the choice of doing a task or just bribing my way through gaining access to the required keycards in some instances.
One of the nice things, when you do get to a new area, is having the ability to scout it out first before going after targets. In fact, the starting missions for each district have you set up the relay beacons that you can use for fast travel as well as go on information gathering.
I really loved how each district had an area in the public that you could blend in. Along with private corporation areas where if you got caught they either try to haul you out peacefully or kill you. This allowed you to play out a rebelling against the corporations when you needed and to play dumb when out in public to be left alone.
I found it from an ethical standpoint rather interesting when confronted with certain Intel gathered on individuals who had access to what I wanted. In one particular instance, a security guard had a drug habit and since it was only a video game well I got that card key without having to use force to gain it. I found myself on quite the bribing streak in this game. Makes you wonder who was the one more moral bankrupted the corporations I was fighting or the options I took to advance throughout the game.
Often times just surrendering instead of gunning my way through a fight was the best option. In fact, once you start killing and the alarms are blazing you become overwhelmed. You also were not entirely forced to play only stealth. You could brute force your way in or use some of your member's ability to quickly get what you needed and make a mad run for it. Often times finding a quiet place to sit and wait out your aggression timer. While seeing an area deescalate back down to normal security levels after failing to find you.
This game is heavily based on doing missions. For the most part, they reward access, a benefit, or a prototype item. Some of them will be all grouped up in a cluster inside of a massive restricted area while others will just be off by themselves in a smaller compound.
Sometimes it’s just bribing a guy for a keycard and other times you are helping some out with a situation they have found themselves in such as blackmail and they offer up access in return. This in return helps you progress to another district or unlock a back door into a compound.
I often found when on missions there were a couple of ways in. Going through the front door most of the time was not the best. Other times that was deceptively the best solution for what your goals where. This would lead to some information gathering normally paying an information broker for further details.
With you having a hacker on your team along with another guy who could hardwire for the most part you did not need to spend extra time jumping through hoops. I like it when a game gives you alternative paths so the player can decide if they are all about going in brute force guns blazing or want to try a stealth backdoor approach.
Outside of robbing the bank vault and setting up ATM siphons, this game is not as heavy on rewarding your efforts with in-game money. Instead one of the ways of doing this was simply making the game easier in some way but just for that specific district.
One benefit, for instance, was a time reaction delay if you wanted to play a stealth style. This could be anything from cameras taking longer to trigger the alarm to how fast backup arrive once you have triggered it.
The other type of benefit would be making the enemy weaker for those times you do end up in a fight. Enemies could have lower health or lower accuracy among other things. Making it a little easier for those who are not into stealth like me that set off every darn alarm there is in a restricted area.
I do like it when a game comes up with some creative rewards for your actions. Not everything has to be either in-game money or another slight gear upgrade. I’m sure we have all played those games where mission rewards where only these and sometimes you did not feel those upgrades were in fact better. These benefits also only affected the area giving them limited scope if you did or did not complete them. Since you were not forced to do them in any specific order I would sometimes hold off on something I felt would not benefit the playstyle I was seeking.
The most interesting part of the rewards is picking up prototype gear, weapons, and augmentations. Once you secured them you still have to make it out of the restricted area you are in. Prototypes are just that one of a kind and you drop them on death requiring you to collect them again.
If going back to collect them sounds like a pain thankfully you can also research them so you can just buy the item whenever you want it. Researching these items tends to be the biggest area I found myself spending money. They do have an in-game amount of time to finish research as well. I never found them to take too long to research and this is sped up by bribing more researches to help out. This game really enjoys you needing to bribe people!
I have in the past played with another person in multiplayer. I got say compared to the single player if you have good group synergy between the players it makes the game easier. If you struggle with communicating, and working with the other player then things can become a huge struggle.
You share everything from which characters you want to have control to research and other resources with anyone else you are playing with. This can make things like micromanaging easier. Since it lets you focus more on their individual abilities for maximum output instead of trying to do everything yourself.
We often found when going after an area that we could split up and test the many different routes to see if there was a weak point in base security. This also made it quicker when a mission had several checkpoints throughout the map to go after. Since you could be more focused on just one or two instead of all four characters for less idle time.
We found it best when we did split up for one to have the hacker for his hacking skill and another to have the Solider for his hardwiring skill. This gave us both a good chance at bypassing any locked doors or other security measures we came across. When working in the same area it just made it easier to deal with mulita step measures put in place. One might hardwire the power to cameras while another worked on the doors. While that not too hard to do in single player controlling all units it just makes it easier when everyone has a specific task that they only focused on.
While also playing in multiplayer you do not deal with auto afk feature which leaves the game easy to exploit if you understand how to gain money and experience. This to me is always a big issue when games leave it up to time spent in the game. Even more so when this kind of behavior is rewarded more than active play can be.
I do wish more games where you control a party allowed you to invite friends in to split up the characters and roles played. This makes it easy for one person to become very proficient while also still leaving the option of playing without that person there if needed. It would solve that whole “let’s make a static group of characters where we only play them we everyone is on.” If someone could not be there for that play session it’s not the end of the world. Someone else would just get to control an extra character. Unless they were the host and only they could start that multiplayer game as is the case with this game.
It was interesting in a game where you are fighting the big bad corporation and the government corruption feeding it. That I was off bribing, stealing, assassinating, enabling drug usage, kidnapping, destroying records and a whole host of other things. This game for sure was a by any means necessary and I used every tool in my arsine to do just that. Thankfully it was just a game!