Ravaged: A middling apocalypse
Post-apocalyptic games have been seemingly trickling down the pipe since, well, video games arrived on the scene. You’ve had a wide spectrum of scenarios and, realistically, there are innumerable ways for the world as we know it to end. So, while you may half-hearted have middling expectations for the new title from 2 Dawn, in the wake of a successful Kickstarter, Ravaged, it definitely warrants a second look and a reservation of initial judgment.
A rather strange oddity that is best summed up as Mad Max and Borderlands having a drunken one night stand with maybe a little bit of meth thrown in for good measure and the screaming, off-kilter result is Ravaged. A first-person online multiplayer shooter touted to be like, “no other,” there is a distinct uniqueness to the game that sets it apart from the crowd.
Namely the diverse vehicle-oriented levels and play modes offer some delineation on the traditional formulas that have been so prevalent throughout gaming. First off, Ravaged isn’t the prettiest girl at the ball. If you’re expecting the next Skyrim or Crysis, pack it in now because you’re reading about the wrong title. However, it does look well-designed and the atmospheric tonality set by the levels offers unique set pieces into a universe where the world is destroy by massive global climate shift. It isn’t a glimmering example of originality, but nonetheless showcases a particular strand of ambient beauty that those who fell in love with Borderlands contrasting earth tones will enjoy.
As far as the play modes, there is the industry standards of capture the flag and base control, but there is a uniqueness to it. I suppose it boils down to the ability to individually run-and-gun or form up into squads in order to best nab fuel for your respective side – be it The Resistance or Scavengers. Regardless of what side you pick however, there is little distinction between the two.
The character classes appear to try very hard to separate themselves and apparently bring something, albeit slightly, individualistic to the table, but it ends up being a relative wash. The classes basically boil down to what weapon you want to wield when entering into the game being the Ravaged equivalent of an armory, which is sad because it fails to denote value to any other class over another. More often than not, matches were just full of people starting off with rocket launchers anyway.
Speaking of matches, if they could be boiled down to one solid observation at this point, it’d be chaos. To the word. Games are either chocked to the brim with players who blaze across the maps in one of the vehicles amidst running firefights that would make Bruce Willis blush or a handful of players who aren’t concerned with much more that quitting to find one of the previously described maps. Sure enough, exploring a lonely map has its perks as you can garner and appreciation of the map design, mentally fingering the vast nooks and crannies of each. But, this being a multiplayer game, it’d be nice to play with others.
That, of course, is where Ravaged hits its biggest bump. For all the moderate polish the game has and potential there is for a genuine following to develop, right now Ravaged is as dusty and deserted as many of its maps. After spending roughly 7 hours with the game, much of that time was spent finding properly populated maps. And I have no shame in admitting that when I did find a match, more often than not, I kind of sucked. Despite the few target rich environments I encountered, I think most of the kills I got was on a full map over the course of an evening when commandeering a SWAT tank I somehow stumbled upon hidden in one of a maps many crevices.
My horrendous skills aside, if Ravaged can overcome the initial obstacle of getting success via Kickstarter, then it should be able to subsist long enough to endure the developmental growing pains and gain a faithful fan base of some sort. However, my concern about the particular genre being a multiplayer FPS is, there is already a vicious crowd vying for attention. And while Ravaged offers a particularly unique brand of vehicular combat, it needs to continue updating and polishing if it hopes to have any chance against standing out further.
Sincerely said, Ravaged has some pretty standard tropes tossed into the underlying packaged, but there are some great ideas crammed in there between the cracks. If the great level design and vehicle battles can be fleshed out in addition to attracting an ever expanding fan base than eventually Ravaged has the potential to be something special. In the meantime, it’s worth checking out if you’ve grown tired of other online shooters such as Counter-Strike and are looking to mix it up. However, if you’re more set on a single player experience akin to Borderlands 2, odds are you’ll be happy sticking with what you know. Nevertheless, your miles may vary and believe me, you’ll be putting on an awful lot of miles.
Full Disclosure: Ravaged was played over the course of roughly seven hours on a PC through Steam via a provided review copy. The game was played using a mouse, keyboard, and ample lighting. Ravaged is currently available for PCs everywhere.