2Dawn's hellish, chaotic amalgamation of cannon-equipped muscle cars, slapdash choppers, and makeshift outposts - mostly crafted of tin sidepanel - all come together in the lawless hellscape that is Ravaged.
And that's really how the game goes: It's chaos in its purest form. This is a good thing, though -- Ravaged is an FPS that puts driving and vehicular combat in the spotlight, then complements that with the fluid mechanics we've come to expect of Unreal Engine games.
Before continuing on with the overview and description of the game's feel and mechanics, check out the below video; we got a chance to play with the devs and a few other media outlets, so what you'll find below is the destruction (and dev commentary) that ensued.
That's about the gist of it. Things explode, people die, cars flip, helicopters smash against hillsides -- you know, Tuesday.
Carsten Boserup, Community Manager of 2Dawn, told us that the game's story is reflected by its world. "The earth got hit by solar flares, which [set] the world into chaos; the world got turned around. There are two major factions [that came out of the chaos]: One faction is called the Resistance - they're what's left of civilization - law enforcement, school teachers, people who are trying to rebuild the community and get back to order. Then there are the Scavengers... they're the past world's criminals, cons, hardcore killers - they're only focused with living [day-to-day]."
The game is filled out with 10 vehicles - both air and ground - that are each advantageous for one role or another: ATVs make for excellent flag-capping vehicles, but birds in the air can run recovery and - given a good pilot - can snipe just about any driver, dune buggies are fantastic for drive-bys, and tanks stand point. Beyond that, sledge hammers, nail-tipped bats, tennis ball grenades, hunting rifles, and plenty more weapon variants will saturate the ground forces.
Everything fits the theme -- the idea behind the game is that resources are sparse, ammo and fuel are hard to come by (consequently, 'flags' in CTF are represented by fuel - which each team leaves carelessly exposed), and the two factions are warring over acquisition of these resources. The weaponry found on the Scavengers' team, for instance, are all hand-crafted and made with whatever was at hand (see: Tennis Ball Grenades). The Resistance is a bit more organized, but requires resources just as much as the Scavengers.
And at the end of the day, most mainstream FPS games have vehicles and a large array of weapons, so the differed representation of them doesn't make Ravaged inherently unique. I'm struggling to find a way to explain just why the game kept me entertained for hours -- but I think it comes down to this: Its fast-paced and unpredictable, making for an almost UT-like spawn-kill-die progression, but also tactical enough and filled with enough class/objective options to represent what we'd find in a Battlefield-esque game.
When you take into consideration the experience behind the developers, it suddenly makes sense why Ravaged plays so well: Some of the same talent that was behind the 1942 Desert Combat mod, Battlefield 2, and Frontlines have contributed to Ravaged's upbringing.
It was a fun evening that did well to fulfill my virtual, explodey tendencies. I've got high hopes for Ravaged as it stands now, and at $25-a-pop, it's really not that bad of a price, either. Time will tell if the game has been polished enough to offer the longevity required from a shooter, but for now, it's definitely fun in short bursts, if nothing else. The devs have noted that they're trying to work with MLG and other e-sports tournament officials, and to facilitate commentating, they've modeled the spectating mode and demo tools after what we've come to expect in competitive games. With luck, that'll pan out and give us a lively Ravaged scene to look forward to.
The game is slated for release on October 17th - so only a few days - and we'll be putting some more content (in the style of our Blackspace interview) online in the coming week or so. You can gain access to beta by preordering the game now.
- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.