October 22nd, 2012 | By Tom Christiansen
Back in May, 2 Dawn Games launched a Kickstarter campaign for Ravaged. 2 Dawn Games simply stated that they wanted to make “a fun game without publisher restrictions”. The campaign was a success, raising over double the amount set as a goal. Five months later, Ravaged is released, and still calling it a “fun game” is a severe understatement.
Ravaged is a post-apocalyptic online first-person shooter that borrows from the Battlefield franchise in gameplay, but it adds its own, spit-my-gum-in-your-hair, style. The Battlefield similarities are not surprising, since the developers at 2 Dawn Games were some of the people who worked on the incredibly popular Desert Combat mod, for Battlefield 1942.
Ravaged breaks players into two teams: the Scavengers and the Resistance. Each team has five character classes that sport minor variations from their counterparts on the opposing team. For example, the anti-vehicle class on the Resistance is called the “Weapons Specialist” and the only difference between him and his Scavenger “Body Guard” counterpart is that the Weapons Specialist carries a Walther P99 pistol, and the Body Guard carries a .357 Magnum. The different weapons help characterize each side more than they unbalance the game.
Speaking of character, Ravaged has it. And it’s rough. Everything in Ravaged is grimy, gritty, and rusty, but that is why I loved it. The gyrocopter, for example, feels like it could fall apart at any second as you fly the flimsy thing across the map, hoping some thug with a Stinger doesn’t look up. Kill another player and hit the ‘taunt’ key to flick-off their corpse and your character will profanely remind them of their inadequate skill level. Can’t pull off headshots? Aim for the family-jewels, as “nut-shots” in Ravaged are one-hit kills.
Because most of the eight maps in Ravaged are rather large, vehicles play an important part in the multiplayer matches. Keeping with the post-apocalyptic theme, Ravaged offers players a handful of vehicles that look to have been hastily assembled and cannibalized from whatever was available. There are pickup trucks with rocket launchers mounted in the bed of the truck. There are four wheelers with mounted machine-guns smelted onto the side of the roll cage. And then of course, there is that gyrocopter that I am almost positive is held together with nothing but rubber bands and electrical tape.
The vehicles all handle differently, allowing players to become talented flyers, drivers, riders, and gunners on their own. The vehicles are not difficult to control (though some people never touch the helicopters after their first try, for good reason) but the difference between a skilled quad-rider and a novice is that the novice will probably end up dead underneath their own quad after they misjudged a landing. Just trust me on that one.
Visually, you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between Ravaged and its Triple-A contemporaries. The game looks great. Ravaged also loads surprisingly fast, mere seconds after clicking the “join” button in the server browser, I’m loaded into the game and ready to play.
As good as the game looks, Ravaged sounds even better. Hearing the engines of an approaching vehicle echo through a canyon, getting louder and louder as you race to find cover and reload your rocket launcher, never gets old. Explosions reverberate in the distance and stray bullets clink-and-clang off the hull of your rusty car as you zoom through an enemy base. The gyrocopter, of course, putters its way around in the sky, seemingly choking on the fumes you hope it can still run on.
Sadly, Ravaged’s player base mirrors the game’s desolate landscapes. Loading up the server browser at 8:30 pm on a Friday night, there were 120 servers up, but only 134 people online. Half of the of active servers were located in a different continent, and the majority of the US servers were Demo-only servers, which I could play in but would be limited to playing just the Canyon level. The low player count is certainly not reflective of the quality of the game, though.
In fact, my only real complaint about Ravaged is that the gun-play does not feel as nailed down as it should. Using the iron sights does help out, but considering that there are other weapons that are one-shot-kills like the crossbow and harpoon gun (yes, there is a harpoon gun), I feel like the assault rifles and sub-machine guns should handle a bit more fluidly than they do.
There are few things short of a fighter-jet dogfight that really get me excited while playing a game. In Ravaged, nearly every round I experience an adrenaline-rush of some sort. Whether it is netting some great crossbow kills, or driving in a vehicle convoy roaring through a canyon towards the enemy base, there was always something happening each round that had me muttering, “hell yea”.
For less than half the price of a blockbuster title, players can get an equally as exciting, and entertaining, experience out of Ravaged.
Ravaged is now available, through Steam.