Ravaged is described by the developers as, "...a first-person shooter online multiplayer game like no other," and it mostly delivers on that promise by offering gamers an unique setting and world but fails to truly expand beyond the genre norms. While multiplayer shooters have featured backdrops of post-apocalyptic worlds, none have quite captured the genuine spirit of the much-loved setting more than the experience presented in Ravaged.
Each multiplayer match supports up to 32 players separated into the sides of Resistance and Scavengers. Both groups wage war against one another to capture various bases and more importantly, the much sought-after resource of fuel. The fast-paced matches in Ravaged have players raging war on foot and in various types of ground and air vehicles. Ravaged is quite simply the video game equivalent of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, combined with more explosive mayhem and death.
Driving license not required
The most prominent and noteworthy feature of Ravaged is the selection of vehicles available both on the ground and in the skies. Ranging from dune buggies and armored Strykers to ATVs and helicopters, each of the vehicles are an absolute thrill to drive around maps without any regard to the safety of others. The majority of the vehicles also support room for additional players to catch a ride or control one of the many turret types. Players are nearly always ensured to gain access to a vehicle with their abundant quantity, quick spawn time, and ability to transport to ones driven by other players. Countdowns are even displayed over vehicle base locations to indicate their next spawn time.
Most of the ground vehicles handle well with precise turning and ability to enable a boost, yet suffer on a few occasions with traversing rough map surfaces. There were a few scenarios in which the vehicle would completely get stuck or flip as a result of accidentally hitting a rock. In comparison with the game's two helicopters, ground vehicles perform exceptionally well in all of the maps. In stark contrast, helicopters require a great deal of patience and precision to properly master the way in which they handle during flight. When mastered, helicopters are some of the most powerful vehicles in matches with their ability to reign death upon ground players and vehicles.
Loadouts of mayhem
In addition to the wide selection of vehicles, players can select from five character classes in both the Resistance and Scavengers sides. Characters include the normal set of classes from soldiers and snipers to distinct classes like assassins and weapon specialists. The Resistance side has a wider variety of newer and more advanced weaponry while the Scavengers rely on rusty sawed off shotguns and AK-47s. Each character class has the ability to customize their loadout with a selection of primary and secondary weapons, melee weapon, and grenade type.
The ability to instantly switch between character classes and loadouts ensure that players can quickly find a gameplay style that is most successive for them in combat. Ravaged focuses on the ease of character customization over the often overly challenging and dull process of acquiring additional weapons and equipment that is featured frequently in modern multiplayer shooters. No experience grinding is required to gain access to any of the weapons available in the loadout selection.
The vehicles and weapons available to players are both extensions of the game's highly-detailed and engrossing post-apocalyptic world that alternates from barren desert landscapes to frozen tundra. The game launches with eight maps that share the relatively similar gameplay experience except for the iconic elements that makes each its own distinct identity. In particular, the map Liberty includes the split remains of Lady Liberty's body and head buried in the sand. The Rooftop map features the most distinct visual style from the rest with a landscape covered in snow and ice and most striking, the frozen Eiffel Tower that continually looms in the background.
Maps range in a variety of styles with some that lack any vehicles and instead focus more on close-quarters combat, while others span expansive areas of desert valleys that cater to ground and air vehicle assaults. One of the maps that I continually went back to was Bridge in which the ruins of the Golden Gate Bridge divide the area down the middle with surrounding ravines that provide a great area for vehicular and air combat. On one particular occasion, I was in an armored car with three other players frantically fighting for our lives against two pursing enemy vehicles. Ravaged truly shines best when the post-apocalyptic setting is combined with intense vehicular combat.
Built on the Unreal Engine 3, the world of Ravaged successfully captures the bleak and brutal atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic setting while also maintaining the essence of a 80s action film. Some issues with the game's presentation do affect the overall atmosphere and setting on a few occasions with overly bright sun ray effects and odd glitches with camera angles that seemed to constantly shift from closer and further away. None of the presentation issues ever hindered the actual gameplay, but instead resulted in an uneven visual experience. In regards to the game's sound, Ravaged delivers an explosive and loud experience that fits perfectly with the post-apocalyptic setting. The armored cars, dune buggies, and helicopters especially pack a punch with their engine and weapon sounds that clearly signal that death is approaching to players in the distance.
If you've guessed by now, I had an absolute thrill with both the gameplay and atmosphere of Ravaged. However, the major issue that sets back the game from true greatness is the fact that it simply doesn't move the genre forward or include any gameplay element that hasn't been featured before. The included game types range from simple capture the fuel resource, or better known as a flag in other multiplayer shooters, to gaining control of bases. With the engrossing and unique setting of a post-apocalyptic world, it was disappointing that not any original or more varied game types were included with the distinct maps. At the moment, Ravaged contains a solid foundation with addictive gameplay and atmospheric setting that have me excited to see where the developers will take Ravaged in future updates and add-ons.
The success of Ravaged will rely heavily on if it can maintain a solid online community in the future, which involve factors relating to if players stick around and on how the manner in which additional contact is released to owners. I for one am eagerly hoping that Ravaged is able to build a solid community of gamers as a result of the tremendously entertaining vehicular and air combat. The freedom of customization with character class and weapon loadouts is an important element to the game's principle of providing players with the utmost freedom in their gameplay style. As well, players are constantly thrust straight into combat while ignoring the common error of other multiplayer shooters with long travel distances and wait times for vehicle spawns.
The overall experience is slightly hindered from the flaws present with the game's handling of helicopters, occasional presentation glitches, and lack of any unique game types. However, Ravaged continually provides an adrenaline shot of explosive online warfare that is difficult to ignore in a genre that's host to the same repeat of dull and unoriginal game releases each year. More importantly, Ravaged is a callback to classic multiplayer shooters that placed more emphasis on the actual gameplay experience over gimmicky experience grinding. Post-apocalyptic enthusiasts and fans of multiplayer vehicular carnage shouldn't hesitate in planning an extended vacation to the explosive and addictive world of Ravaged.
Ravaged is available now for Windows PC.
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