titleWhen 2 Dawn Games contacted us about doing a review on their first title, Ravaged, I was both excited and nervous.  Excited because I really enjoy indie games and playing stuff developed by small game companies. Indie companies are not restrained by being too large. They are able to listen to their fan base and give players what they want (to an extent) and it often leads to some really cool and enjoyable features in game. I was also nervous however because Ravaged because my experience with class based shooters has been very polarized, they are ether amazing or a total flop. Let’s hope that being an Indy game will help Ravaged be one of the great games. With that being said, I head into the post-apocalyptic storm ravaged world that is Ravaged.

Game: Ravaged

Published By:  Reverb Publishing

Review Sample Provided By: 2 Dawn Games

Developed By: 2 Dawn Games

Platforms: PC

Genre: Class Based, First-person Shooter, Online Only

Release Date: October 17, 2012

MSRP:  $24.99 or four copies for $59.99

Written By: Brennon

Screenshots By: Brennon

Story

With Ravaged being an online only game, I didn’t expect there to be much of a story to the game, the developers however, managed to give enough information about the world and characters so that it doesn’t just feel like you are fighting as a faceless mercenary. Ravaged takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. It pits the two factions of the Scavengers and the Resistance up against each other in constant battle for resources, territory and survival. The Scavengers are a ruthless band of criminals who are bent on taking every last can of gas and inch of land for themselves, and their only opposition as well as the only hope for humanity is the Resistance. The Resistance is a small group of freedom fighters who were able to seek shelter underground before the world went to hell. Each faction has a group of five different players who fight for them. These characters may look different on opposite teams, but it is essentially this games class system. The Grunt for the Scavengers is essentially the same as The Support for the Resistance and so forth.

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Gameplay

As I said before Ravaged is a classed based first person shooter. This means that you choose your character or class and fight on the battlefield accordingly. Each team has a heavy weapons specialist, explosives expert, sniper, light machine gunner, and a soldier. The weapon loadouts are somewhat customizable but the roles typically remain the same, you cannot gear your sniper as such that he becomes a run and gun type of soldier.

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The other half of Ravaged is the vehicular combat. In my opinion, the vehicular combat is very fun and overall done very well. There is a wide range of vehicles and they all server different functions. There are pure transport vehicles such as the ATV and the trike that are designed to get you from point A to point B in the least amount of time possible.  These vehicles, while swift, provide no armor to shield you in the heat of battle. There are also a few vehicles that are designed as team transport vehicles. Each has 3 seats, one for the driver, one for the passenger, and a final for the gunner of the mounted gun. The passenger can also shoot, but only the weapon that they would normally carry on the battlefield. These vehicles have a little less speed, but more protection in both the mounted gun, and overall armor.

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 The final of the ground vehicles is this game’s tank equivalent; a very well armored, incredibly slow and hard to maneuver fist full of boomstick. It is the sole purpose of this vehicle to remove all other vehicles from the field of combat. The final vehicle is one that doesn’t spend much time in the field of battle, but one that is well accustomed to the air above it. I am talking about the helicopter. The helicopters in this game are single man vehicles and can maneuver quiet well (with the right pilot, I.E. not myself) and rain down a hail of explosive fire onto the field below. The helicopter can be flown in both first and third person which I find very helpful because I have always had a hard time manuveuring vehicles in first person mode.

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There are three different game modes from what I have seen, and they all seem to be your typical run of the mill first person shooter modes. You have a king of the hill, where the team who holds the point for the most time wins. There is a capture the flag mode, which seems to have a few variations, and lastly there is your standard team deathmatch. All of the modes incorporate the vehicles, which is a bit annoying because the vehicles in Ravaged do seem to be a bit overpowered when compared to their infantry counterpart. It’s not so much of an issue, because there always seems to be a vehicle in spawn to put you back on even footing with everyone who may already have one. The only problem is that the constant need for a vehicle seems to put a “saddle up or die” mentality in the game and completely removes the want or need to participate in infantry battles. This is balanced somewhat with the idea that vehicles cannot capture points, to do so you must be on foot.

The very first thing I check when I play an online only game is the status of the servers, how many are online, what type of game modes and maps are they running, and where are they based. This is one area where Ravaged is severely lacking, at first look, not much more than a week after launch it appears that there are only a few servers running, none of which are even full. The servers that are up and populated all seem to be running the capture the flag mode, and on the same two maps. Even more bothersome than that is the fact that two of the three best servers are actually demo servers.

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These servers are hosted by 2 Dawn for users who have only downloaded the demo client. Because of the status of these servers as demo servers, the maps and game types are severely restricted. None of this is good news for an online only game. Without a solid player base, or even enough interested in dedicated servers, the game will not survive. If it does survive it is only going to survive until 2 Dawn decides to shut down their servers which seem to dominate most of the server browser.


Controls

The controls in the game were not all that surprising. Going into it with even a brief history in first person shooters or even a shooting game in general, a player could easily pick up the controls and hit the ground running. It certainly handles like much more of an arcade shooter than one aiming at realism. The game supports keyboard and mouse obviously, but also other plug and play controllers. I was able to plug in my Xbox controller and use it in game. It’s important to make sure to set up the buttons on your controller as the game will not do it for you, but you can set it as a secondary set of buttons and be able to swap from controller to keyboard and mouse at your leisure. There is also an option in the settings to disable a gamepad so that if you leave one plugged in, you don't accidentally hit buttons on it when using your keyboard and mouse.

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The controls on foot handle well enough, though animations can look kind of weird especially when watching someone else run. On top of the first person options in game, you can also set your camera to third person. This doesn’t help me too much personally, especially since I have a difficulty lining up shots while in third person, I still think it’s cool that the option is there for anyone who might want to play in third person.

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Running around in first person and firing from the hip is easy enough, but doesn’t always give the best accuracy. The problem with this is that when aiming down the iron sights on any gun without a specialized scope, the gun seems to take up half the screen. It becomes incredibly difficult to see anything else important going on in the field of battle.

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I also find myself constantly getting hung up on the environment or having a hard time jumping over or going around obstacles on the map. This happens from time to time in almost every game, but it happened to me enough in Ravaged that I felt the need to mention it.

The vehicle combat is how I spent most of my time playing. Ferrying flag carriers back and forth, raining down explosives onto the battlefield with helicopters, and racing around the on the quad or trike to get a solo flag capture are the things that make Ravaged exciting. All of the vehicles are steered with the WASD keys by default, but can be adjusted to whatever you wish to use. The ground vehicles feel a bit heavy when you first start playing, but once you are used to the way the vehicles handle they become as easy as any other vehicle to drive. One final point I want to make about the controls is that 2 Dawn added an extra little touch to driving trikes and ATVs. When driving them, you can steer as normal with the WASD keys, or whatever you rebound them too, but you can also lean using the mouse. This allows for tighter turning, or even to lean out of the way of bullets or oncoming RPGs!

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Graphics and Audio

The game itself is rather good looking. The graphics are nice and they tone down pretty well so that the game looks decent even when on minimum settings. There are plenty of settings to customize the game how you see fit for your PC and setup. My favorite is a setting that 2 Dawn implemented because the fans asked for it (Yay Indie Developers!). There is a field of view slider in the settings that allows you to adjust your field of view to whatever is most comfortable for you.

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The maps all are rather unique and visually appealing which important when you are going to be seeing the same scenery over and over again as you will in an online only game. Most maps however had tons of lens flare from the sun and at times it seemed excessive and difficult to see what was going on. One map in particular grabbed my attention as it was a beach with a smashed statue of liberty scattered throughout the map. It really gave me the post-apocalyptic vibe that the game was going for and was probably the most enjoyable for me, although not the most popular for the servers.

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The audio I would have to say was decent at best. There wasn’t really too much about it that I felt was special. The sound effects all seemed to be a bit dull, and I often found myself in a situation where I would have rather listened to music than the in game sound. This is somewhat unsatisfying because when I play something, I want to be totally immersed in the world. Also, there was a repeating beeping sound that would go off any time before you were about to respawn, or before the match started and right before it ended. I found the beeping to be quite annoying after a while and couldn’t find a way to turn it off in the settings.


Overall and Final Verdict

Overall I would like to say that Ravaged is a work in progress. There are many things that are done correctly, and even some things that I think they have done very well, but for each of those there is at least one that I have a problem with. I felt the back story was exceptional for an online only game, most companies would just give us our guns and let us go, but 2 Dawn has made us feel like a pivotal part of efforts of the Scavengers and Resistance. The vehicles are all very fun, but feel a bit unbalanced in the overall scheme of the game. The map and game types are all what we are used to with slight twists to fit the world that they take place in, however because of the severe lack of players it will be difficult to experience all that the game has to offer in terms of environments. Lastly, I feel like the graphics and audio are just mediocre at best, and both have some minor issues like dinging and lens flares that can be annoying after a prolonged amount of play. With that being said, I still think 2 Dawn is an awesome company, any developer who is willing to give a big middle finger to standard operating procedure and listen to what the fans want will always be great in my book.

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fv2 ravaged

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