Review: Broken Roads

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Broken Roads is a Fallout inspired cRPG with an Aussie twist, that unfortunately struggles with the basics of the genre.

Apart from the massive release of Baldur’s Gate 3 late last year, you’d be forgiven for thinking that traditional cRPGs were few and far between. Previously a staple of the wider RPG genre, the AAA space has moved away from them as far back as 2008 when Fallout 3 moved to first/third person. That’s not to say there haven’t been some absolutely fantastic games in the genre since then (hello Pillars of Eternity and the Wasteland series), but they have been a little bit more niche.

Niche is exactly how I’d describe Broken Roads. A cRPG from the team at Drop Bear Games, it’s a thoroughly Australian take on the post-apocalypse. Set after the majority of the population has been wiped out by bombs, your character joins up with a group of survivors to brave the Outback. Well after you’ve finished the tutorial mission anyway. And somehow that was no easy feat.

Choose you Fighter

There are 4 different starting classes (or origins) in Broken Roads; Hired Gun, Surveyor, Barter Crew and Jackaroo and each one determines your base skills and attribute bonuses. They also have differing starting missions but all end up in the same place for the story. I chose the Barter Crew, because I like negotiating and persuading my way through RPGs, and I think that may have been a mistake. The game has a ‘morality’ system where you can choose between Nihilist, Humanist, Utilitarian and Machiavellian. You do a quiz at the outset to see what you align with most and when dialogue options come up you can answer in specific ways to change your alignment. In theory anyway, in practice I was never really given any dialogue options that didn’t align with my test results so I’m not sure how effective of a system it is.

I ended up between Humanist and Utilitarian and they were quite similar, with the main difference being the reason you might do the right thing, rather than the actual action taken. If I had known prior to my playthrough that the initial choice would have such a large impact I may have tweaked my answers somewhat. Even if I’m not sure the game knows the difference between Machiavellian and psychotic.

A Swing and a Miss

The combat is… challenging. As I said above I chose a charisma character as that’s my preference, however the tutorial section’s first hurdle was a forced combat section between 2 enemies. No allowance to talk your way out of it, just fight until you win. And gosh, did that take a while. Even though I have put some points into a more melee focus both my ranged attacks and melee had a chance to hit of 55%. Luckily the combatants also whiffed a lot, but I still had to reload my save multiple times until I managed to get lucky enough that the cover mechanic either: seemed to work, or glitched out the ranged attacker to make her just stand and miss her turn. Unfortunately it didn’t really improve with more party members and more levels. The combat is slow, the controls are a big janky as you can’t move the camera and the high penalty of things like wounds and other debuffs to your action economy made most of it a slog.

The same complaints roll into the quest design, which seem to be a long line of fetch quests. I know that a lot of games can be boiled down to that – but here I was just frequently unsure whether what I was doing was relevant to the plot or not. Things that seem like they should be side quests are made prerequisites to continuing the main quest with no real sense of direction. There is a journal, but it’s infuriatingly vague about certain objectives and I frequently found myself just exhausting everyone nearby’s dialogue in the hope I’d move on.


Clearly a lot of love has been poured into the setting of Broken Roads. The love for the Australian setting shines through with characters’ slang terms being highlighted for you to see what they mean, alongside lots of cultural references and in-jokes. It also tries to grapple with some thoughtful ideas around indigenous cultures and colonialism. There are characters that are eccentric enough that talking to everyone for quests can provide some real moments of charm, and some silly quests that lighten up the experience. There’s also the punt system, where you can take a chance on something you might not normally succeed at by spending points, which is a fun little addition.

All in all though, it’s hard to recommend Broken Roads. There are some good ideas here, with the non-binary morality system and some of the more magical realism story beats as you progress but they just aren’t implemented well. It’s a slow trawl through the Outback and seems to fail at clearing the hurdles it set for itself.

tinyBuild and Versus Evil provided us with a Steam copy of Broken Roads which we used to capture the screenshots.