star­link: batt le for at­las

Star­link: Bat­tle For At­las

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Sa­muel Ri­ley

Pub­lisheR Ubisoft De­vel­oper Ubisoft Toronto For­mat Xbox One ETA Au­tumn 2018 If your typ­i­cal Ubisoft ti­tle in­volves climb­ing more tow­ers than King Kong af­ter a coke binge, then this lat­est ad­ven­ture should prove any­thing but or­di­nary. Fol­low­ing on from the suc­cess of Sky­lan­ders and LEGO Di­men­sions, the French based­pub­lisher has now un­veiled its take on the toys-to-life medium.

First un­veiled at this year’s E3, Star­link: Bat­tle For At­las is a space­based dog­fight­ing ti­tle that com­bines real-life fig­urines with an enor­mous dig­i­tal play­ground. Plonked atop of your Xbox One gamepad – but rid­ing just high enough to avoid nick­ing any knuck­les – Star­link utilises a cus­tom con­troller bracket into which play­ers slot their pi­lot, fol­lowed by a star­ship.

It’s a clever lit­tle setup – a wee bit un­gainly per­haps – but clever nonethe­less. Smarter still are the mod­u­lar el­e­ments – in­ter­change­able add-ons that can be clipped onto the fig­urine to elicit var­i­ous boosts and buffs. Fancy ditch­ing your shields for a tad more fire­power? Sim­ply swap out an ar­mour node for one with a mini­gun, laser beam or flamethrower. Hell, you can even stack them one on top of the other, like a cham­pion Bucka­roo player or a glut­ton at a buf­fet – though you’re likely to be pe­nalised where speed is con­cerned.

Early im­pres­sions sug­gest that swap­ping out th­ese bits and pieces on the fly is key to mak­ing progress, though whether you’ll need to pause the game and set the pad down in order to do so is another mat­ter en­tirely. We rec­om­mend you start train­ing up a pit crew in ad­vance.

As for the game’s set­ting, de­vel­oper Ubisoft Toronto is promis­ing a total of seven unique star-sys­tems within the At­las galaxy, rang­ing from deadly as­ter­oid belts to arid desert plan­ets. You can choose to ex­plore th­ese set­tings from any one of three per­spec­tives – space, at­mos­phere or plan­et­side, with the lat­ter han­dling much like a hover tank or a Spar­row from Des­tiny.

Cre­ative di­rec­tor Lau­rent Malville has also con­firmed that play­ers will have the freedom to ex­plore At­las at their own pace, though cru­cially this sense of dy­namic progress will also ap­ply to the game’s vil­lains, aka the For­got­ten Le­gion. Spend too long gawk­ing at a star clus­ter, or scan­ning strange crea­tures, and Le­gion boss Grax will take the op­por­tu­nity to go off and con­quer more quad­rants. Stop­ping him will in­volve be­friend­ing other races and turn­ing them to your cause. So a lit­tle bit like San An­dreas’ old gang war­fare gim­mick, with a dash of Mass Ef­fect 3 thrown in for good mea­sure. Ex­cel­sior!

With its dy­namic set­ting and mod­u­lar de­sign, Star­link: Bat­tle For At­las al­ready looks like be­ing a win­ning ad­di­tion to the toys-to-life genre. If only au­tumn 2018 was just a hy­per­speed jump away.

“Ubisoft is promis­ing a total of seven unique star-sys­tems”

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