Developer: 2Dawn Games / Publisher: 2Dawn Games / Played On: PC / Price: $24.99 / ESRB: Mature [Blood, Strong Language, Violence]
2012 was the year of the Kickstarter game. With studios like Double Fine realizing early on the true potential of crowd-funding video game projects, waves of studios large and small followed. Enter 2Dawn Games and their first Kickstarter-funded project Ravaged, a vehicle-focused, multiplayer-only first person shooter with an inclination for sand and sun.
Many thought it to be the multiplayer suite that Rage could have had. But though the titles of the two games are just a few letters apart, their gameplay and overall level of polish is separated by a sizeable gap. With that in mind, we’re here to answer the big question at hand: is Ravaged fun, and is it worth your time and money?
Ravaged is strictly multiplayer, but with a tiny thread of background narrative tying all of the death and violence together. And by tiny, I mean the game’s website tells you that one team is named The Scavengers (who want every resource and bit of land they can attain) and one team is named The Resistance (also known as the guys who disagree with The Scavengers and not-so-politely decline every offer at a peaceful resolution over a cup of tea).
The gist of the game is considerably large-scale multiplayer, with up to 32 people duking it out in a very small variety of environments. While a few ventured to different locales like a snowy military base, many of the maps stayed in the sprawling, sun-beaten sands.
Ravaged is a shooter, and like shooters tend to have, this game sports a medium-sized assortment of weapons and vehicles to choose from. There are a total of five classes, each of which sporting their own set of weaponry: The Bandit, Warrior, Bodyguard, Assassin and Grunt. The Bandit and Warrior enjoy MP5’s, shotguns, meat cleavers, and baseball bats with nails in them. The bodyguard gets an RPG, the Assassin sports a sniper rifle, and the Grunt gets a giant, tattered machine gun. Each of them has their respective usefulness in certain situations, but I found myself gravitating to the Warrior simply because his AK47 offered sufficient range, bullet damage, and stability among the alternatives.
You’ll play across a handful of modes like Resource Control, which has you collecting the other team’s fuel cans, Team Deathmatch which pits two teams against each other in a vehicle-infused firefight, and others. They all play similarly, the only differing gameplay mechanic being the objective at hand. There’s nothing exceptionally new or inventive here, it’s just a few modes you’re likely familiar with.
Vehicles are a big selling point on both the game’s Steam page and website, and fortunately see a lot of use in big matches. Unfortunately, I found them really only particularly useful for getting to and from each map objective. ATVs are zippy and quick enough to get you to an objective fast, but you won’t last long due to their low-strength compared to the jeeps, tanks, and helicopters you’ll face. Helicopters were fun for a few seconds, but a real challenge to fly (which explains why they were only fun for a few seconds, because I was crashing and burning shortly thereafter). I suppose it’s a lot like Battlefield 3 in that regard, if it’s too easy to fly you’ll be racking up kills like nobody’s business, but I kept smashing into mountains and dirt within seconds of taking off each time. I’m sure others will have it nailed down eventually, but I wasn’t having enough fun in them to justify getting my boots of the ground.
Ravaged overall feels basic. There’s no sense of progression for your character or class, there’s no upgrades or customizations that make it feel like your own, and the main thrust of the gameplay is shoot, sometimes drive, stand by a flag, shoot some more. I’m not saying other games aren’t plagued by this, as that’s what shooters essentially are: shooting dudes and standing by flags, but there’s nothing about Ravaged that really makes me want to come back and play more.
Visuals & Sound
Games with detailed environments, incredibly well-animated characters, and realistic ambience are surprisingly not hard to come by these days. With the way technology has improved over the past few years (or even months), even two games that use the same engine can look drastically different with a few month’s development time. Ravaged is a pretty game, no doubt about it. The weapons and environments are well-colored and have a consistent style, almost all of which are dry and dusty due to the apocalyptic wasteland theme that seems to have leaked into every FPS that’s not a modern military shooter or Halo. Weapon firing and the minimal but effective voice acting (of the multiplayer announcer) is gritty and punchy. It’s not as punchy, though, as something like Battlefield 3, but it’s still a bit more grounded than other lighter shooters out there.
You can crank up the game’s visuals to whatever settings you feel confident your rig can handle, including the full range of screen resolutions, anti-aliasing, edge smoothing, anisotropic filtering, dynamic shadows, vsync, framerate lock, ambient occlusion and many more. If you find the game fun, having this level of customization makes for a great PC title, and jacking up the variables to maximum to see how it all looks in-game still fills me with childish glee, no matter the game.
The game also has full key binding support, which is wonderful and highly-praised in the PC gaming crowd.
Ravaged is… alright. It’s nothing that I want to particularly spend much time with, since it’s just generally lackluster in modes and variety. It’s a pretty game, that’s for sure, but there was nothing in Ravaged that really drew me in, nothing that made me want to turn it later once I’d shut it down.
There’s a free demo available on Steam if you’re so inclined, so give it a shot if you’re curious and have the hard drive space. Unfortunately, you might not have the easiest time getting into a game, because there’s usually anywhere between 3 and 40 players online at once.