Video Game Review: Ravaged
If there’s one type of game we have no shortage of right now, on consoles or PC, it’s the first-person shooter. It seems we’ve been treated to every possible flavor of this delicious genre over the past decade or so, and to no one’s surprise, chocolate and vanilla are still the two biggest sellers. So, if a small company like 2 Dawn Games tries to break into that market, they need something to really make them stand out. With their new title, Ravaged, released a few weeks ago on Steam, they are trying to do just that. This post-apocalyptic, class-based shooter takes the large map size and objective-based combat of Battlefield and sets it in front of a Fallout-esque backdrop. Unfortunately, I don’t think the fresh look is enough to make it stand out among the big guns coming out this fall, let alone the shooters from years past that many gamers are still sinking hours into each week.
There is nothing bad about how Ravaged does its thing. The different classes are all fairly unique, most guns feel quite different from one another, and the maps look great and feel well-suited to the large scale battles the high player count allows. However, there isn’t really anything to inspire gamers to leave their favorite shooters. The five classes on each team are your basic archetypes and are customizable with different weapons for most slots in each loadout, but the real focus of Ravaged is vehicle combat. Most maps and gametypes make this pretty obvious from the get-go. I think if the vehicles were more fleshed-out and unique, this game would be more of a diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, the ATVs, makeshift helicopters, and cars with guns bolted to them all feel a bit odd to control and aren’t a whole lot of fun to shoot from either.
There are some very small, very smart things at which Ravaged succeeds. For instance, there are small countdown timers above the vehicle, and ammo spawns around the map, that show how long it will be until the equipment shows up there again, letting you know if waiting for your favorite ride to show up is worth it or if you should move on to save that base under threat of takeover. They add a nice little wrinkle to the “capture the resource” gametype by adding in smaller bases around the map you can take over and use to spawn closer to the enemy’s main base. And the large areas of open terrain on each map make teaming up, especially in vehicles, almost necessary. There are some rough edges as well: vehicles can be damaged when you are in them but are indestructible any other time, the weapon recoil feels very odd, and airborne vehicles are extremely difficult to control. None of its small innovations or its technical setbacks are big enough to make Ravaged succeed or fail. The main issue is getting a game going at all.
The reason my review has been delayed nearly a month after the game’s release is an unfortunate one. While the game is clearly suited for large, crazy battles, I was never able to be part of one. No matter when I would hop on to play, I never found a fully stocked server, and only a couple of times got into any with more than a handful of players. By what I’ve seen so far, I think it would be worth this shooter’s lower cost of admission ($25 USD on Steam) to jump into the destroyed wastelands with a supercharged four wheeler and an AK-47 and take on sixteen other players with my equally large team, but that just isn’t a reality for this game right now. Fortunately, there is a demo on Steam for anyone wishing to check out Ravaged and, if more people do, maybe the servers will grow and fulfill what potential the game does have.